Sunday, May 28, 2006

Weekend Over!

Ahhh....another weekend done. Not a bad couple of days at work. Worked with a not-so-favorite person for two days. The first day was a bit tense early on, then loosened up. The second day went pretty well except for a bit in the middle in which it seemed like he wanted to talk on the phone, but I was present which was a problem. We talked about that and he said if he didn't want me there, he'd have left. Well, then perhaps he shouldn't have kept saying "I can't talk now" every time I was there. He's still a Pooh Head.

Today I worked with Doug. We get along great. Sneaky bastige checked the truck while I accidentally napped. Grrrrrr. Had a yummy lunch at Subway. Watched most of the Sox game. Ran two calls. Nothing particularly exciting or critical. Played vocabulary tag with Mitch for a while. We got into a run of words starting with P, then started in on E when the first cry of "NOT A WORD" rang out. But, enneagram is, in fact, a word. S'ok. I was really close to running out of P words. If we'd gone another round or two of words starting with P I'd have had to change letters.

Chillin'!
Got my A/C installed this evening. My apt is now cooling off nicely. The past few nights have been difficult sleeping due to the humidity. Even with the fan blowing on me it was sticky. I'll have to put the regular, non-flannel sheets on tomorrow when I wash the linens. Woo woo!

Watching Tomb Raider 2 now and chilling. Just had a lovely turkey and cheese samich. I think I'm going to have a piece of cake with the last of the strawberries. Tomorrow it's time to do some errands, start cleaning my apartment out and see Over the Hedge "with" Mitch in the afternoon. Oh, and I need to mow the lawns again. Beyond that, I should probably review my lecture for the Fire College class I'm teaching on Thursday and Friday.

Off to the kitchen now, I hear some cake calling my name!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Making it official!

I did it. I called my soon to be boss and left voicemail telling her I'd take the job. W00t! I then turned right around and called the HR lady and told her. I've got the appointment paperwork all finished and will mail it off today. I was going to overnight it, but the silly thing wouldn't get there until Monday at this point, so I might as well just use snail mail. My new boss called me right back and said that the whole deal will become official when the head office approves the appointment. She indicated that was pretty much a done deal, but just in case, to not go ahead and quit my current job just yet. :o)

The HR lady mentioned last week at my interview that she and her husband had recently been looking to buy a house and told me she'd put me in touch with her realtor. I took her up on that offer today and she kindly gave me his name and number. He has found a furnished house I can rent for $1800/month until I find a house to buy. I realize I'm getting a raise with the new job, but that's still a ways out of my price range. He did mention an apt complex that has short-term leases and furnished apts, so I looked them up. Looks like about $580 a month, plus utils. That's a whole lot more reasonable.

Next on the agenda:
Getting my present living arrangement organized and starting the packing/storage. I have decided that the time to clear out the detritus is now, rather than after I move. I would rather leave things here than take cruft with me to my new home. I will, conveniently, have a good bit of time to accomplish that between the time I leave my current job and start my new job. Nonetheless, I am going to get started this week with clearing out the evil, blackhole corner of my dining room.

I had already planned to do some packing on my own prior to the mover's arrival, so as to 1) perhaps save some money and 2) get things more organized for myself. I realize that my packing things means that the moving company isn't liable if whatever i pack breaks. I'm cool with that. I was mostly going to pack up the non-breakable stuff, like books and clothes and stuff like that. The fragile things, like the carnival glass I got from my grandmother, will be packed by the pros.

Things to get rid of: books and tapes and CDs I am no longer interested in having. I think a trip to the used book store is in order. I've had several books listed on Amazon.com, but I think I've sold about all I'm going to get sold there. I may also cut out a bunch of kitchen stuff. Or at least better organize the storage of the kitchen stuff I'm not using. I know that some food will end up at the food bank.

On the housing front:
Need to make my list of things I *must* have in a house and then the list of things I'd like but would compromise upon. Perhaps tomorrow at work I can think about that.

I am definitely excited about having my own house. I look forward to starting over with a fresh place to live. Re-organizing things. Perhaps having a bit more space. Struggling to avoid buying new stuff to fill any extra space that does arise.... I have decided that I will NOT be buying any throw rugs for the new house. I have a loom and I know how to use it. I can just as easily weave myself things like that. Yes, it will take longer and I may never get the rugs, but then again, I probably don't really need them anyway.

Dinner tonight:
Grilled cheese samiches and tomato soup. It's not particularly cold out, which would seem to make it an unseasonable menu for the day, but it's what my tummy wants, so *there*. Besides, I have a headache today and so should be entitled to having whatever i want without having to argue about it. :o)

What I really want to eat is another turkey club sandwich from Jason's Deli. *Dang!* that was good.

Entertainment for the evening:
I need to head over to the library. I work this weekend, so won't be able to get there while they're open until Monday, except that they're closed on Monday too for Memorial Day. So today's the last day to get videos and DVDs for the whole weekend. I've already got one DVD and one video checked out (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Tomb Raider 2). Haven't decided what else to get for the weekend. Maybe Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Or The Polar Express.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Today's Entertainment

At the police department:
I misread a citizen's middle name. I could have sworn someone named their child Sashimi. On closer examination, it was actually Shashmi or Sashmi (I forget which). Kate commented that at least they didn't pick Unagi. *eeeeew!* Tiggers do NOT like unagi.

The police were called to an address for either a domestic disturbance or a loud party. A resident at the address allowed the police to enter for a welfare check. The police then found a subject hiding in the bathtub. Said subject had a valid warrant and was arrested.

Two people were reportedly having sex in a car parked in a driveway. Upon the arrival of the police, both parties denied the allegation. Oopsie. At least they weren't having an "amorous discussion" in the police department parking lot, as has been done in the past. :o)

The spider mites are back. Half the things I picked up off my desk had a mite on it. I escorted each of them to the plant on the filing cabinet. They're cute little buggers, but they only come out for a week or two each spring, then vanish. I wonder where they go in between times.

Elsewhere in life:
I was very nearly a dork again. I came very close not to washing a ball point pen with my uniform, but washing my ENTIRE WALLET! Fortunately, I chose to fill my pockets this morning before starting my laundry. Usually, I do the opposite. YIKES!

I watered the new grass this afternoon. I looked out the kitchen window 30 minutes later to see a squirrel sitting under the bird feeder eating spilled seed. A rather wet squirrel. Apparently he didn't think the water part was enough of a bother to get in the way of lunch. After I turned off the sprinkler, I re-filled the bird feeder and left some seeds for him. Since I watered the grass, it rained heavily this evening.

Can't think of any other goofy things that happened today. At least the rain may have washed off some of the dust on my car. Tomorrow I'll try to get some photos of places in town I want to remember and start getting packed and get planning done for moving. It's all becoming *real*....

Oh Great Holy Hells

Well, it's not really a bad thing. It's just things. Lots of things. Lots of big things, actually. To start with....

Influenza News!
There is an interesting cluster of human avian influenza cases in Indonesia. An entire family managed to contract the disease. Only the initial case seemed to have contact with potentially sick birds. The remaining cases cared for or had contact with the initial case. It is unclear just how the rest of the lot contracted the disease. Scientists say it's not a function of human to human transmission, but the WHO is watching closely. Hmmm.... Yet another good time to be an infectious disease person. Which brings me to...

Job stuff
I've officially been offered a job. Quite a nice job, actually. At a good salary. I think the job would be a challenge and quite interesting. The people who I'd be working with seem to be nice, helpful and capable (or at least they seemed so at the interview). I'd be working in public health *and* using my degree and gaining experience so that I can get an even cooler job in the future. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that.

I'm all kinds of freaking out about accepting the job. I haven't actually said I would. There is another job/fellowship thing I'm interested in that would involve moving to Germany (Landstuhl) and working on an avian influenza surveillance program for the US Army. That would be way cool. But I don't think the hiring/interview process will happen fast enough for me to consider it (should an offer even be made), without losing the job offer I already have.

This will be my first professional job in public health. I think I will be able to do the job competently. They did assure me that I wouldn't have to do everything on my own and that I would have help/guidance/assistance. I know they've had trouble keeping the position filled. One person left because the city was too small and the other person left because he was unable/unwilling (their words) to do the job that needed to be done. I don't want to let them down, but most of all, I want to do a kick-ass job. I have incredibly high standards for my own performance and I don't want to fail. Doesn't mean I can't screw up and make errors, but I can't fail. (Not all errors are failures, you know.)

Moving:
Of course, now I have to move. I've not moved to a different state since I was in high school. All those other times, there was a grown-up in charge of things and all I had to do was go along with the ride. Now I'm in charge. I need to find a place to live. I would like to find a house to buy, but I don't think I can find a house to buy before I start my job. I could probably do it, but I don't want to rush in to buying a house and end up buying something I don't like in a neighborhood that's not livable. So today I came up with the brilliant idea (if I say so myself) of renting a furnished apartment for up to 3 months and then use that time to find a house to buy. The only downside to this plan is having to pay rent on two places. I also wouldn't be able to move everything I own until I get the house. I'll have to move the stuff that fits in my car and not much else. Just the essentials and most of that will be kitchen stuff and clothes. I could come back on weekends and move stuff slowly.

For the first time in my adult life, I won't be able to move myself on my own. I have too much stuff and I don't have any friends *there* who can help me move the things I can't carry on my own. I may have to hire a moving company to do the work for me. This is going to be expensive. As a result I can only afford to move once--into wherever it is that I will live for the duration of my tenure at this new job.

Moving things that worry me: mostly the goofy things I own which are difficult to move, like the tiller, motorcycle, loom. And then there's the stuff I've got in storage that will need to be brought over here for the packing/moving. That'll take some time to get done.

Of course, this just brings home the fact that I needed to have weeded out my belongings years ago and gotten rid of the clutter and cruft. Been saying that a lot in the past six months, but haven't done anything about it. Perhaps now I'll get at that a little bit each night. Putting things in boxes to move or to donate or trash. There really are only three choices for disposition now.

Buying a house:
This is probably the part that terrifies me the most. I'm nervous about the job, but think I'll be fine. The house part is the scary part. I want to buy a house that isn't falling down. I don't know how much house I can afford to buy. I don't have much money for a down payment. I'm worried about the associated expenses that go along with buying a house, like mortgage insurance, closing costs, utility set up costs, homeowner's insurance, etc.

I called the credit union mortgage person today and left voicemail saying I had questions about becoming a first-time homeowner. She won't be able to originate a loan for me for a purchase in another state, but she should be able to answer my questions and help me figure out how much house I can afford and if no downpayment is at all doable. I do have questions about FHA loan programs. I may qualify for extra assistance as a first-time buyer.

Next I'll have to decide what it is that I want in a house and on what features I will compromise. I definitely need at least 2 bedrooms (one for me and one for an office/spare). I also require a garage so I have some place to keep my motorcycle and tiller, along with my car. Central air would be nice. Appliances that stay with the house would also be good. I'd rather have a gas range, but would settle for electric for now. A safe neighborhood is quite necessary. I would like to be able to go for walks on occasion and not be afraid to leave my home or be home alone.


I found quite a nice older house in my price range and about 30 minutes from work. It's huge, but looks lovely and it would seem to be reasonably affordable. If anything, it's too big. And it's probably 80 years old. Nice porch and huge windows (which probably leak cold air like a sieve). Bet it's got nice high ceilings and hardwood floors. Probably not entirely sound anymore and unlikely to have much insulation or central heat/air. And I don't think it has a garage. Ok, so probably not the best thing to buy, but it does look good in the picture, don't you think? :o)


Advice from Mom:
Talked to my mom tonight and told her that I have accepted the job. She suggested looking at houses that are 5-10 years old. That would get me a relatively new house which would thus have a good shot at having good wiring, plumbing, roof and HVAC. What completely floored me is that she offered to help me out on the down payment. I didn't expect that in the least. That takes a bit of worry off my mind about getting the whole house thing to work out. She also agreed that getting a short-term apartment first, then looking for a house while I'm living/working in Jackson would be a most excellent plan. She also suggested that I might box up a good portion of my belongings so as to save on the moving expenses. I'll get started on that next week. That will also help me to weed things out.

Making the announcement:
I'll contact my new boss tomorrow and give her the news that I accept the position. I will then turn around and talk to the HR person and figure out a start date. Right now I'm leaning toward July 3rd for a start date

Then I need to call my present boss and let him know. I've decided on the 15th of June as my last day. I'll have to ask if I can use my vacation time after that or if I'll have to cash it out. I would rather take the vacation time all at once and not take the hit on taxes. And the extra money will be nice since I'll go a month at the new job before I get a paycheck. I'll make the official announcement to my co-workers at the shift meeting on Sunday.

As far as telling everybody else I know, my mom/Becky and my sister know. I'll call Dad/Diane tomorrow (it was too late tonight). Then I'll start sending out e-mails.

In other news:
I got a haircut. For the first time in a year. Yes, my ends were a bit frazzled and worn. I will be changing my hairstyle, I think. Get a bit of shape to the cut, perhaps some face framing layers. I really like Heather Locklear's hair when she was in Spin City. Perhaps something like that. But for the moment, at least the ends of my hair aren't like straw any more and everything looks a lot smoother.

Shopping:
I have several gift cards I'll need to use up before I leave town. Like for a massage at BodyWork associates. And Art Mart, the Walnut Street Tea Shoppe, Panera and Pages. At least the Borders gift card can be used online.

I discovered that the new library has a knitting group that appears to meet the 2nd Monday of the month at 6pm. W00t! That'll be a good place to make friends and certainly makes up for there not being a knitting/yarn shop in the area (at least not in the phone book). I'll definitely have to attend the July meeting.

I suspect I may do some serious career wardrobe shopping via the internet. I'll be up at Mom's house for Ryan's birthday in mid-June. I'll try to get some shopping in then. If nothing else, I'll hit the Ikea store and grab some new kitchen stuff, like a small saucepan and maybe some baking sheets. I'm rather looking forward to having a new place to decorate. I think I'll actually decorate too. And with something besides stacks of books, bicycles and balls of yarn.

Other personal growth:
Decided to change some behaviors today. I tend to automatically say no to anything Mitch suggests and often come up with extensive reasons why the answer is no. Then I think about whatever it is and at least some of the time agree that he had a good idea, if not the best idea. He suggested that after I move into the new apt, that I might come back on the occasional weekend and take down more carloads of stuff. I commented that that was completely unreasonable given the distance. Except that, now that I think about it, it's not that far out of the question. So I called to apologize. I did NOT belabor the point and I did not beat myself up about the whole situation. He said thank you and we all moved on.

I think I'm starting to turn into a grown-up. YIKES! On the other hand, the level of panic has decline considerably. That started pretty much as soon as I decided in my head that I was going to take the job. If I hadn't accidentally had caffeinated coffee this morning at the police department, I might be able to sleep tonight.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Ahhhh....the end of the weekend

And it wasn't a half-bad weekend at that. The productivity continued on into today to some extent. This morning was a bit mopey. I got my car squared away, got my resume revised and got the ORISE application sent off.

Entertainment:
I'm hanging out on the sofa, blogging and watching Spartacus. Kirk Douglas just bit a Roman guard on the ankle. Now *that* is a creative way to express one's displeasure. I don't think it would work well in this day and age. The gesture was greatly aided by attire of the era. It would be much harder to bite someone's ankle if they wore pants, socks and shoes rather than sandals and a toga.

I had forgotten that the film Gladiator was mostly just a modified version of Spartacus. I think I like Kirk Douglas and Lawrence Olivier better. Tony Curtis is pretty good too, though in a toga, I'm reminded of his outfits in Some Like It Hot. :o)

I also have Yojimbo, Into the West, Enchanted April and Seven Year in Tibet. Plenty to keep me entertained for several evenings.

Dinner:

Had homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. Next time I'll use medium or mild cheddar instead of sharp. It tasted pretty good, but it would be better with a milder cheese. I'm going to have cake again for dessert. I've got about a quart of sliced strawberries left. Then I'll have to start in on the rhubarb.

Ice Age 2:
Went to the movies today for the first time in well over a month. The theater has figured out that not many people will pay a $6.50 matinee price and offer a $4.50 ticket between 4 and 5:30pm. The movie was pretty good. A pair of 7 or 8 year old boys sat a few rows up ahead. They cheered whenever the squirrel got his acorn, however briefly. They also giggled themselves silly when Crash the Opossum went crashing into the tree after Manny shot him out of a tree. It was cute. Overall, I thought the movie was pretty good. The modeling of the flood was pretty good, as was the animation of the fur on the critters. The jokes were good. The plot was pretty good. I was reminded of the documentary I watched on PBS last week about glacial ice dams bursting. Technically I suppose there should have been mud after the flood receded, but that's ok. If i'm going to be that picky, I'd also have to point out that animals don't actually talk and sloths aren't likely to have discovered fire. BTW, the Sid the Fire King bit was pretty funny. Waka waka waka!

Update on my car:
So, I re-washed my car today. And since CarTalk was on WILL, I also waxed it while listening to other people's vehicular woes. It is now carefully parked in the garage so it won't get wet or pooped on. Of course, after the movie, I drove down a gravel road to look at the new foals at the horse farm. The car itself doesn't look too bad, but the rear window is all kinds of dusty. Perhaps tomorrow I'll wipe it down and remove the last of the swirl marks from the wax. I noticed a few marks on it when it was parked in the sun.


My other car:
On the way to Pages for All Ages today, I saw my "other" car. Of course, I didn't have my camera with me and by the time I got it and returned for a photo, the car was gone. Aside from being right-hand drive, this one is pretty much identical to the one I saw. I wish I knew where I'd left the keys.... :o) Driving a car that sweet sure would make up for the crummy mileage it's got to get and probably for the speeding tickets too.

Swearing:

"Great merciful, bloodstained Gods...." Now, *that's* swearing. Sounded pretty good coming out of Lawrence Olivier's mouth. I'm not sure it would work coming out of my mouth when having to put up with idiot drivers in traffic. I may have to give it a try and see what sorts of looks I get from other people.

Watching Mr. Olivier reminds me that I should watch Wuthering Heights and Hamlet again. His brooding as Heathcliff reminds me a bit of Viggo Mortensen's brooding as the troubled Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. Wonder how *he'd* do as Heathcliff. Hmmmmm.

Barbaro update:

Turns out he's got three fractures, not just two. The vet who did the surgery said he'd never seen a break this bad before, primarily because horses with breaks this bad are put down on the track and not attempted to be fixed. He's going to try to fuse the joint. With any luck, Barbaro will come out of the anesthesia relatively sanely. It'd be nice if he survived the surgery *and* the recovery.

It was hard watching him fight getting pulled up. You could see him running on three legs and trying to keep going. Later, when he was standing on the track and they were waiting for the horse ambulance, he was standing on three legs and kicking t
he injured leg. You could see his hoof flopping in an unnatural way. Fortunately it wasn't an open fracture. That would have been certain infection and death. Keeping my fingers crossed....

Excitement for the coming week:
Nothing that I can think of in particular. I need to get my EMS Management course put together for Fire College the first week of June. Need to trade so I can get the 1st of June off so I can teach.


Haven't knit anything in a while. I haven't even taken my sock to work in the past week. I've just not really felt like it and I've been doing more reading at work. I really want to work on my alpaca lace scarf, but it's too tricky to manage at work. Much better to take something simple and less fragile, like a sock.

Well, that's it for the day. I suppose I need to come up with an agenda for the week. Perhaps compile a list of jobs for which to apply, since I overhauled my resume today. Just need to revise the basic cover letter so I don't have to start from scr
atch each time. W00t!

And now, just to remind you how much you hate me, here's a photo to end today's entry:

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Yep, I did it...

The predicted Supremely Productive Saturday is in progress. I've managed to get to the farmer's market (9 pounds of rhubarb!!), finish cleaning up Mitch's lawn, start laundry and get job stuff done. All by 11am. Spent the last hour looking up neato podcasts, so that wasn't quite so productive, but hey, I was busy this morning.

Next: take a shower, vacuum the car and knit an angel for a firefighter I know whose son was killed last week. Actually, I think I have an angel already knit, just need to put it together and starch it, assuming I can find the various angel parts.

A few observations about my car:
First, there is the thing with the moths. Over a month ago, I made the mistake of leaving the windows cracked when I parked in my garage. Not a big deal, right? Wrong. There are moths in my garage. Little moths. The next day I found several of them flying around inside my car. I shooed them out the windows and doors. I figured that was the end of it. Not so. For the next two weeks, more moths are seen flitting around the passenger compartment. I finally quit being nice and started squishing them. I know the darned things aren't breeding inside my car, but surely they'd have hit the end of their lifespan by now, right? Apparently not. I thought I saw another one flying around in there a day or two ago. I did at least vacuum the detritus from squished moths off the headliner earlier today.

Second, a comment about washing my car. As you know, earlier this week I drove about 800 miles in two days. This led to a lovely collection of splattered bugs on the front of my car. The rainy weather contributed to the general poor appearance of my car. I finally washed it yesterday. Left it sitting outside last night so it could finish drying. And the neighborhood birds apparently got up at the crack of dawn to poop on the roof and rear window. Well, at least no bugs threw themselves on the front end. I'll just wash it again real quick and PUT IT IN THE GARAGE. I need to wax it, but I don't know that I have the patience for that today.

On a more positive note...my car is freshly vacuumed and looks pretty darned good inside.

Continuing productivity...
I've now been to the library to get new DVDs for tonight, plus a few books. Finished up some laundry which I'll fold tonight while watching said DVDs. Now I'm watching the Preakness Stakes broadcast and need to figure out what to have for dinner. Probably going to have some sort of stir-fry thing to use up some frozen veggies.

Finishing up...
I have an issue with finishing things. I always have. The only things I reliably finish are books and movies, and even then I didn't finish books I was assigned to read for a class. This quirk is part of the reason it took me so long to finish my PhD. I am not entirely certain why I'm like this. It could be due to undiagnosed ADD or ADHD. It could just be that I'm process-oriented instead of project-oriented. As soon as I have the workings of a project or concept figured out, I lose interest. If something can't be finished in one go, I tend to lose interest or lose momentum. I'm unlikely to get up and gather up the necessary parts to the project and go back to finish it. I'll make a beautiful list of what's needed to finish the task, but not necessarily get back to finishing the list. I need to work on that. I think if I get past it at least a few times, I'll be able to develop a new habit.

One of the side effects of losing interest in projects is the collection of detritus that develops. Bits and pieces to projects started but never finished. I've got half a closet full of crafts or sewing projects I'm unlikely to ever re-start or finish. Slowly my life is becoming congested with the things I think I should work on, but have actually lost interest in. I've been unloading some books on the interet, which has helped at least a little physically and more psychologically. Now, to unload the other stuff and to organize what I"m going to keep. I suppose part of the organization problem is that I have stuff stored in various places instead of all in one place. Perhaps once I move I can get a handle on that. But at least I'm making progress in the direction I want go.

Friday, May 19, 2006

You *hate* me. :o)

It's true. You do. You just don't know it yet.

Here is reason #1:
I have fresh strawberries. But not just any fresh strawberries. Perfectly ripe fresh strawberries. Strawberries so ripe that their fragrance fills my kitchen and refrigerator with sweetness. Strawberries that burst with juiciness when you bite into them. To make you hate me even more, I'm baking an angel food cake so I can have strawberries and cake. I also have Haagen Daaz anilla ice cream. Is your mouth watering yet?

Here is reason #2:
I have the entire weekend off and it's going to be all about ME. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME! Well, mostly about me. I do have a few things I need to get accomplished. Already got Mitch's lawn mowed. Could have probably baled it, as long as it was. Scared the daylights out of two bunnies hiding in the grass. Will have to go back later today to weed the flower beds. other things to do include washing my car (800 miles of bugs splattered on the front of it), the requisite laundry and dish washing, job applications and going to the farmer's market on Saturday. Then it's a weekend of reading, watching DVDs, riding my motorcycle and knitting or spinning or whatever else comes to mind. Oh....and eating cake and strawberries. :o)

What are you doing in your life that would make someone else green with envy? I bet you can find something if you look hard enough.

Now it's time to get on with the day....

Back again...
Reason #3 why you hate me:
I now have freshly baked angel food cake. I have just consumed a rather large piece of said cake absolutely smothered in lightly sugared sliced strawberries. I am seriously considering having a second piece. It was that good.

Freakishly productive Friday:
I have managed to accomplish all of the following today: deposit checks at the bank (after forgetting to do that for almost a month), return iPod case, buy more strawberries, request on-call days for June and July, pick up Wal-Mart gift card I won at work, weed Mitch's flowerbeds, wash my car, pick up more videos and music CDs from the library and bake the aforementioned cake. What I have not yet managed to do is to e-mail the recommendation form for the fellowship I'm applying for to Mitch and my research advisor.

Now I'm sitting on the sofa, blogging, having my cake and eating it too, entering recipes into my recipe database and watching chick flicks. Shortly I'll go crawl into my pre-warmed bed (gotta *love* having an electric blanket) and read myself to sleep.

Supremely productive Saturday:
In the interest of keeping on the ball, I'd like to accomplish the following tomorrow: walk to the farmer's market and stock up on whatever scrumptious fruits and veggies strike my fancy, vacuum, and possibly wax, my car, complete half a dozen or more job applications or resume/cover letter combinations, go for a walk (just realized I managed to lose my pedometer at some point today), and clean the dog poo out of my front yard (I don't have a dog, but someone's dog seems to like my yard). Then I think I'll weed my flower beds, finish up Mitch's yard and either take my motorcycle out for a spin or go hang out at Pages and read a book or surf the internet or knit. I think they have live music tomorrow. Tomorrow evening, I'm going to watch the remaining videos I've checked out and read, though I may make blueberry muffins.

Semi-productive Sunday:
Off to the Courier for breakfast (they have very good buckwheat pancakes and EXCELLENT coffee), then walk home via the library book drop. Then knit while listening to a book on CD. I've got a couple of ideas for books/papers that I think I'll start working on. And some ideas for rants for my blog too. Then in the afternoon, I'm headed to a movie although I don't know what it's going to be yet.

Now the question is....how much of my evil plan will actually come to fruition. :o)

But first, I'm going to have another piece of cake with strawberries. Don't you just *hate* me?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Rather Wet Wednesday

Well, most of today was actually quite nice. Sunny and warm, even. A bit windy perhaps, but otherwise quite nice once it warmed up. Until about half an hour before I got off of work when the storms developed. The tornado warnings are for south and west of here tonight and moving to the southeast, which is unusual. Ordinarily the storms here move northeast. Not that I'm complaining....

I did get to watch a nice lightning show on the drive home, which was nice. No rainbow today, like there was on Monday evening.

On the other hand, Mitch's lawn is going to need to be baled by Friday if the rain doesn't let up. My flowers are all getting HUGE though. Which reminds me, I'll have to decide what to move with me if I get a job somewheres else. I'll be bummed to lose the huge patch of Lily of the Valley and my black-eyed susans.

KABOOM!
The US Navy scuttled a decommissioned carrier today to make an artificial reef off the coast of Florida. The USS Oriskany was in service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and was decomissioned in 1976. Watch video footage of the event. She only took 30 minutes to slip beneath the waves. It had been expected to take up to five hours.

I'm a dork.
Here I am, poking fun at the BBC for interviewing the wrong person on live TV and what do I go and do that's even less intelligent? Yes, it's true. I have yet again managed to wash a ball point pen with my uniform. I did at least notice before I put the clothes into the dryer. And I got lucky in that none of the clothes appeared to get ink on them, that I could see. At least none of the clothes which were light enough in color to have shown black ink. I re-washed the whole load, just in case. I figure if I hadn't done that, I'd have ended up with an inky sock or something smearing ink over everything else. Well, at least it's been over a month since the last time I did that. I swear I checked my pocket, but apparently there was a fugitive pen somewhere on my person or in the laundry. Actually...thinking about it. I bet it was on my CPD polo shirt from yesterday and not in my uniform shirt at all. Oh well... I'm still a dork. :o)

Tonight's dinner:
One avocado and a boiled artichoke. I've been craving avocado lately, which is odd because I haven't been particularly fond of avocado or anything made of avocado in the past. Had a whole avocado, sliced and tossed with lemon last week. Tonight I just ate the whole thing with no lemon. Scooped it out of the shell and into my mouth. Tasted pretty darned good.

The artichoke was a bit more involved. :o) I like artichoke hearts. A lot. I have had tomato-artichoke soup at the Courier Cafe. I ate a whole batch of spinach-artichoke dip one year during the SuperBowl. I put artichokes on pizza and make a really good tortellini-artichoke casserole. I happened to watch the artichoke episode of Good Eats today on FoodTV. Having never prepared artichokes before, I was surprised to learn how simple it is to cook them. So, when I went to the store to get avocados, I also picked up a couple of artichokes. Despite what Alton Brown says, I found the stems to be particularly bitter and unappetizing, even after peeling them. It's a lot of work to eat the artichoke, but not so much work to prepare it. With that said, I don't know if I'll do that again. I may just keep going for the canned or frozen artichoke hearts. I am more likely to eat artichoke hearts *in* something than to eat artichoke leaves and hearts plain and it just doesn't seem worth the effort to get a bunch of artichokes just to scavenge the hearts for other purposes. Which reminds me, I have a recipe for oyster-artichoke soup that sounds delightful, but perhaps I'll save that for this fall since it's no longer oyster season.

In other news:
Spy Boy discovered a problem today. He discovered today that his cell phone is a security issue. Bad camera phone. Now he's got to nail down just what/where the problem is. It sounds like he'll be getting a new phone or just leaving his cell phone in his car while at work for the next little bit.

NO YELLING!
I was a good girl today. I did not yell at anybody. At all. I didn't even feel the need to yell at anybody. I didn't even get remotely cranky or frustrated or upset. And my role today was to do absolutely NOTHING, which is ordinarily a sure-fire way to get me all kinds of irritable. BIIIIIG pat on the back for me. I wonder how much of the lack of crabbiness was due to the donut I ate in the middle of the afternoon. :o)

The only thing which irkitated me today was discovering that the night crew hadn't bothered to sweep/mop up the mud in the back of the ambulance and left mud caked all over the wheels on one side of the cot. I keep getting told that R is a great asset in the company, but my experience is that she's highly unmotivated and doesn't bother doing even the minimum at keeping things cleaned up and stocked. It's not the first time she's left me a truck that's been at sub-optimal condition. So now she's on my list of people I don't trust to leave me a truck in ready condition. I hate to say that, but that's what my experience demonstrates.

Life, the Universe and Everything
Had a nice chat with Kelly tonight at shift change. She had a couple weeks off from work due to a mumps exposure at her other job. Fortunately, the other job paid for her time off and she didn't lose any money. She was able to relax, think about life and how she's living it and get some projects about the house started and mostly finished. When she came back to work last week, I commented on how relaxed and happy she looked. Tonight she said she'd pretty much evaluated how she was living her life and had been way too uptight about a lot of stuff. Now she's much more relaxed and is letting things roll along as they will, instead of stressing about getting everything to work out. Tom and I both commented that we'd noticed and were proud of her for making that change.

Several folks have been coming to similar conclusions lately. I know I have. I hadn't realized how fried I was until I noticed that for at least the first of my days off, I was just sitting around and not doing a damn thing because nothing looked interesting or fun. I just needed to veg out and not do ANYTHING. It occurred to me that that wasn't particularly healthy. It has helped to take the past couple of work Sundays off. That gave me an extra day to do nothing. Now I'm more interested in reading the excellent books from the library or watching my DVDs or knitting or going for a walk. That's a sign that I'm getting back to myself. I'm also less irritable and have a longer fuse than I have had in the past couple of months. Given a few more weeks, I ought to be back to my cheerful, perky self all the time.

Blonde moment...
I know there was something else I was going to blog today. There really was. And I can't think of what the heck it was now. No clue. I'm going to attribute that to having a headache. For some reason my head has hurt since about 11am today. Tylenol isn't touching it. I had the usual amount of caffeine today and don't have any sinus issues. I'm sure it's a tumor. I could die. :o)

laters....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sunny Tuesday....

After several rather cloudy, rainy days, the sun is nice. Of course, it's still too wet to actually mow the lawn(s), but it's a whole lot better than being gray and rainy. It's also not particularly windy, which is a nice change from recent conditions too. The bank sign I drove past said it was 61 degrees out, but it feels about 50-something to me. Definitely need a bit of a jacket.

Princess for a Year!
Gary, Carol, Cindy and Kate took me out to lunch today. We went to Le Peep. I am the volunteer of the year at the police department. Deputy Chief Troy stopped by my desk today to congratulate me. I don't know when the actual award ceremony will be, but I should probably go. :o) As we all parted company after lunch Gary congratulated me once again and said to make the most of my reign and to celebrate being princess for the year. I like that sentiment.

Slacking...
Hanging out at my fav bookstore today. I found a yummy scented candle which I may have to come back and purchase. I think it was mango, pineapple and grapefruit. Very fruity and just the thing to brighten up my apartment. Saw a notepad that asked the question "Where do you draw the line between possible and impossible?" Saw another one asking "What have you done today to make what you want to be tomorrow happen?"

Well, I'm not completely slacking. I bought a gift for a friend and I'm preparing job application stuff.

Overheard on the radio... "My life is a bad movie, but it's got a great soundtrack..." Isn't that about right. It reminded me of the card I gave to Mitch which said something to the effect of "My life has an interesting cast of characters, but I can't figure out the plot."

Project, Project, Still Seeking a Project....
I'm thinking I may choose two projects. One will definitely involve reading. Perhaps read all the NYT best sellers for a year. Or the top 100 fiction books, as I'd mentioned previously. Or I could find a list of classic literature typically read during high school or college and read that. Modern Lessons from Classic Literature, etc.... For the second project, something writing or cooking or fiber-related. I do have a good plot for a novel in my head, but haven't ever gotten around to actually writing down the whole thing, just the occasional chapter or scene. I think I need to pick something in the next week or so and get started. Otherwise the project selection phase will simply drag out interminably.

Mitch Update:
DSL has arrived. Until now, he'd been restricted in his internet access to using his PDA phone. While he has remained a loyal blog reader throughout, scrolling sideways on the phone has been rather inefficient. Commenting has been out of the question. Now he's got unlimited access and a full-sized keyboard and screen. I could almost hear him howl with glee out here. I figure the unpacking process will now slow down dramatically since there are additional distractions available and he's been having Internet Deprivation for the past month. He'll have to make up for lost time, you know. He has said that it won't be quite as bad as I predict. He does have to leave time to ride his motorcycle. (Yes, he made a point of telling me that it's in the 70s and sunny for the past several days. I'm keeping track of how many times I'm going to hit him for these annoyances the next time I see him.)

Now, back to the bitmines....

Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm baaaack!

Bet you didn't even know I'd been gone. :o) Don't you just love having wi-fi available in hotels when you travel? I blogged from seven hundred miles away last night. Now I'll have to find additional exotic locations from which to blog.

Trip went well. My car now has over 15,500 miles on it. Somewhere on the trip out, it turned over 15K. I missed it. I didn't notice until we were at 15,030 and I was fueling up. I gave Zippy a pat on the dash and that was that. w00t!

Loving the iPod...
When I was first given my iPod, I wasn't sure I'd use it. Afterall, I have several personal radio things in various sizes which I don't ever use. But I'm finding myself using the iPod when going for walks or mowing the lawn. Perhaps it's because it's smaller and I can listen to all my fav music and download radio shows. The personal stereo was always somewhat limited.

The iPod transmitter I bought for the trip worked like a charm. It's great to be able to listen to ALL my CDs without having to bring any of them with me. I've now listened to almost a dozen Naked Scientist podcasts. Fairly entertaining show, depending upon the topic and the questions that callers ask. They did some pretty cool live DNA extraction and DNA fingerprinting experiments that school kids participated in. You could tell the kids were actually learning the theory behind the procedures and they were all very excited to get their results back. BioRad, a biotech firm, sponsored the experiment and provided the equipment to the schools.

And I'd go do that...why?
Got e-mail from the U of I telling me that I can go to their new spiffy football website and watch the TV commercials and listen to the radio commercials about the upcoming football season. This spawns the inevitable question..... WHY?!?!? Why on earth would I want to intentionally go watch commercials for *anything*, nevermind watching the commercials for a football season which is likely to be a complete disaster, much as the past several seasons have also been. Of course, the ads are likely telling me all about the "Illini fan environment" at the game. Already radio spots are pushing the tailgating experience and making no mention at all of anybody coming to see the game itself or of watching exciting Big 10 football. I wonder if that's a sign of the faith that the dept of intercollegiate athletics has in the ability of the football team to bring fans to the stadium or if they're just being realistic about what people are actually going to the game to see/do.

Another example of "What were you thinking?!?"
Taco Bell has a new advertising campaign out, apparently. I noticed it when I stopped for lunch. The website is fourthmeal.com. It's all about the meal between dinner and breakfast. I haven't gone to the site yet, but I am wondering just what the American public needs with an additional meal each day when Americans are already the fattest people on the planet. Perhaps it's a conspiracy by the diet industry and medical community to bolster their revenues. Yeah, that's it.

Oopsie!
Heard a rather amusing story on NPR tonight. It rather made me feel better about the public boo-boos I've made in my life. It would seem that the BBC managed to interview the wrong person on live TV the other day. They had a guy named Guy on, but it wasn't the right Guy. The right Guy was waiting in a different reception area and the person sent to get him went to the wrong place and found someone else named Guy who was, in fact, waiting to have a job interview. Apparently Job-Seeking Guy got rather nervous and appeared surprised when he was introduced as having a different last name and was interviewed about the recent Apple Computer/iTunes court ruling. His responses were essentially some re-wording of the question, but weren't obviously being made up on the fly. I thought he did quite well, considering. Meanwhile, Expert Guy was quite surprised to see someone who wasn't himself being introduced and interviewed. Apparently he's posted about the experience on his blog. The interview with the wrong Guy can be viewed at the NPR website. Hey, if the BBC can goof something up like that, it seems perfectly reasonable for little old me to stick my foot in it occasionally. :o)

Tonight's spectacular plan....
May involve making blueberry pancakes for dinner. Or blueberry muffins for tomorrow's breakfast. I have some computer work to do, which I believe i will do from the sofa while watching one of the following videos: The Wrong Man, Nasty Girl or Dr. Bethune. I think they were fairly random picks from the library.

And then I need to plan to overthrow the world. I've been slacking. I didn't do a darn thing all day to further my domination of the planet. Well, except contribute to the financial wellbeing of oil companies by driving most of the day. I *did* get 36+ mpg for most of the trip though, which I was pleased to see. Gotta love a tail wind....

Still need to find a project too....

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Goin' South...

I'm in the mid-South tonight. I've got a meeting in the morning. It wasn't a bad drive. It only rained for a little while, off and on. Most of the trip was cloudy, but fairly bright. Then about the time I got to the TN border the sun came out. It was quite pretty.

The world is much greener down here than back home. The corn is about 4-6 inches tall. Winter wheat has heads on it. And the temp was about 15 degrees warmer than at home, which was nice. It was just about COLD this morning. The heat even kicked on.

An odd observation: The guardrails in Kentucky are modified so as to be "softer" in the event you slam into them with your vehicle. The first 6-8 support posts are made of wood, the first two of which are anchored with a metal support which may be a breakaway bracket. The remaining wooden posts are buried in the ground/cement. All the other supports are metal i-beam stuff like is normally used for guardrails and to hold up highway signs. I wonder if the guardrail modification has been shown to reduce injury/mortality in MVAs.

Drove past a carnival being set up. It was a reminder that summer is on the way. Soon all the festivals, fairs and carnivals will be starting. Maybe I'll have to catch some of the local stuff back home.

Getting organized for the trip didn't take me that long this morning, but it still took me four tries to get out of the house. I kept remembering little stuff that I'd forgotten, like to take out the trash. Finally I get on the way and remember that I forgot to brush my teeth. How on EARTH do you forget to brush your teeth?!?!? So I went back to do that after I dropped off my library books and videos. So far, the only thing I've completely forgotten is my hair dryer. Fortunately the hotel room has one built in. :o)

Had dinner at a place called Jason's Deli. I had a tasty smoked turkey panini while I read Arrows of the Queen. (Talia is getting used to life at the Herald's Collegium, by the way.) The young man who made my sandwich apologized for being temporarily out of napkins at the moment. I don't remember exactly how he phrased it, but it was exceedingly polite and regretful. The sandwich was really good, just exactly what I wanted/needed. I'd have told him how delicious I found it, but he wasn't behind the counter when I left. Oh well...

So now I'm back at the hotel, hanging out, surfing the internet and watching Love Affair on AMC. I'm hoping I get wound down soon. It's almost 11pm and I do need to be coherent by 10am. I wonder what sort of cereal and stuff they'll have for breakfast in the lobby.

Commencement Speech:
Today's commencement address at UI was given by Thomas Seibel. Dang, it was good. It'll be archived at WILL in a couple of days. I'll download a copy and listen to it when I need to find my motivation. He talked about what it takes to be successful and about seizing the opportunities you see while ignoring the experts who tell you to stop. It got me all kinds of fired up and ready to take on the world. Now I need to set some goals to go about taking over the world. I joke about being like Brain from Pinky and the Brain. When Pinky asks what they're going to do today, Brain always says "Same thing as every other day, Pinky. Try to take over the world." I like to say that when people ask what I'm going to do. The thing is, there's no reason I can't. I used to think I could make a difference in the world. Then I lost that belief. I think I can do it. And I've got some potential opportunities which would enable me to do that. Opportunities I need to seize and run with. Starting tomorrow.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ducking Responsibility

It started out as a good day yesterday. My partner, T, and I had an orientee to train. Things went pretty well for the most part. New guy is learning how to navigate for someone else. He tried several times to just give me the map book while I was driving, but that doesn't work particularly well as I can't read a map and watch what the heck I'm doing all at the same time. We ended up with a late call. That wouldn't have been so bad but the hospital can no longer give us patient information until the patient is seen by a physician. There's going to be a huge conflict here as some patients in the ER aren't seen for hours and we don't have the option of being out of service for hours waiting for paperwork. Nor do we have the option, legally, of doing paperwork the next day or several days later once the paperwork is filed by the hospital.

So, we get back to our assigned post after the end of the shift and find the replacement crew. One of the incoming crew is B, who called in sick earlier in the day, but apparently was well enough to come to work with R. Oddly enough he appears to have also been well enough to go tanning. T asks B to help the new guy with his reports on the computer because T has to leave (leaving two of his own reports unfinished) to go have dinner with his girlfriend and her pals from work. B apparently said sure, then looked at new guy's report for 5 minutes before leaving with R to go have dinner and did not return. New guy was back downstairs asking me for help before T ever got his clothes changed to go home. New guy hadn't even started second report. Apparently B doesn't give a rat's ass about doing his job, regardless of whether he says he'll do it. This is particularly frustrating given that he'll blast people for not doing things to his standard if it inconveniences him. It would also appear that T isn't particularly concerned about doing his job either if it gets in the way of his social life. So much for being a "PROFESSIONAL" company and doing the job the right way. New guy has, instead, learned that the proper way of doing things is to just bail if you have other things to do. Mind you, he gave up having dinner with his family to try to finish his paperwork.

And I'm completely DONE with having other people's jobs dumped on me. I am not an FTO. I never took the class, never wanted to do it, etc. But I keep getting stuck with training people and doing the job of the FTO so the FTO can go home early. What makes this worse is that I don't even get asked to do it. I get told "Hey, you'll stay and help Brian/Eric/Joan with this, cuz I've got this thing I have to do....". People have learned that I can't help but do the job the right way and do the job well. I am now officially a crutch. Well, this crutch is tired of being taken advantage of and it stops tomorrow with a little chat with the field coordinator for our shift.

I am increasingly looking forward to getting the hell out of this company. Everybody talks the talk about doing the job right until push comes to shove and then it all goes out the window. I cannot tolerate BS like that. You either do what you say or you don't. The standards aren't meant to be applied only when it is convenient for you. Do the job right or find a new job. How hard is that to do? That used to be the norm. Now it is truly the exception and that really makes me sad.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What?!? No distractions?!?!

Wow, that doesn't happen much. Just when I wasn't paying much attention at all, I didn't get distracted at all today. What makes this even wierder is that I didn't even have yesterday's to-do list with me to keep me on target. Very strange behavior for someone who can't focus on a single thing for more than about 4.8 seconds. But it does make for a rather productive day...

Starting with...

EMT class
Today was the skill testing for the EMT class I've been assisting with. The class started out with John going over the problem questions from the two tests they've had as a review for tomorrow's final exam. What made this entertaining was that there were several questions that everybody in the class got wrong except for Mike. Mike readily admitted that he didn't understand some of the things in class and that he was NOT a classroom kind of guy. On each of the questions he got right and the rest of the class got wrong, he guessed the answer. He'd have it narrowed down to perhaps two choices, and then pick one. I thought Deron was going to smack him. (Deron would be the studious one in the class and a co-worker of Mike's.) I think they'll be in good shape for the exam tomorrow and I don't think they'll have too much trouble on the national exam whenever they take that.

Then, ERRANDS!
First, to the library to get myself an assortment of DVDs, videos and a couple of books on tape for my travels on Sun/Mon. I also snagged the next book in the Mercedes Lackey Herald Mage series, in case I finish the current one while on travel. I can't remember what movies I got. There were a couple of Hitchcock films, I think.

And then I ran off to get some groceries and misc stuff at the local megastore. I now have an FM transmitter for my iPod so I can listen to all my tunes while I drive, but won't have to take my entire CD collection with me. That'll be fun. I've got a dozen podcasts to catch up on too. I may go back and get an iPod holder for my car so I can just clip the silly thing to the air vent and notworry about having a place to put it when driving.

Need to get some job stuff hammered out today. Meant to do that yesterday and the day before, but didn't get to it then either. But I did get my hotel reservation made. I'm staying about a mile from where my meeting will be. Looks to be a 5 hour drive, according to the various maps/websites I've checked. I figure I'll leave here just after lunch on Sunday. That'll give me time for a leisurely drive, plus dinner and still be in by a reasonable time. I checked for yarn stores in Jackson and discovered that there aren't any. Oh well...I didn't need more yarn anyway. :o)

The downside of eating better...
Is that my stomach really dislikes fast food. I noticed that earlier this week after I ate a burger and fries. Last night it was a bit upset about the Happy Meal I had yesterday. Today it took exception to the chips and macaroni salad I had with my turkey samich. Now I'm having some peppermint tea to sooth things and maybe later I'll have a nice boring PB&J or some veggie soup. Unpleasant though it may be to have an upset stomach, this does make it a whole lot easier to just pass up junk food and greasy, icky food choices.

Time to go sit on the couch and drink some tea while knitting a sock for my iPod. W00t!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blueberries *ROCK*!

Ah....the joys of a day off. Well, at least of a highly productive one.

I seem to have experienced a breakthrough in dealing with certain individuals in my private life. I am no longer worried/upset/anxious about what a certain person thinks or whether or not they call me to do stuff. I don't even know that I'm particularly interested in being friends any more. Right now I don't particularly trust that person, which rather makes it difficult to be friends in my opinion. It may well be that nothing dishonest has occurred, but my gut tells me that things in reality don't exactly match what I'm being told is occurring. I specifically asked this person to just be straight with me and was told that they were being truthful. Time will tell. We used to be pretty good friends. Perhaps some day that will happen again. In any event, I'm not going to fret about it. What happens is what happens. And it'll happen whether I worry about it or not. So why worry, right?

Seminar
Gave a self-defense presentation at meeting of a women's group at a major area corporation. It was the third time I've talked at this particular company and was the largest group yet. There were probably 30 women there. I didn't have the SAFE video that I like to show, but was at least able to piece together the information into a presentation. Gave out a bunch of business cards and one woman asked about becoming a RAD instructor. I am hoping that an actual RAD class will be taught as a result of this seminar. We can't teach at the corporation, but several women had ideas on good locations for us to teach in. It'll just be a matter of getting enough women together for the whole course. I really want to see a class run. I really really do. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

Aliens
I have figured out an explanation for the recent turmoil in my life and the complete absence of contact from my family and friends. Are you ready for it? I have been abducted by aliens. Very clever aliens who have replicated my life almost completely, down to even the smallest detail. Except that my phone number is now different and nobody knows how to get in touch with me. Yep, that's my explanation.

And just in case you think I'm insane, I must tell you that I am wearing the bunny ears I got at the Easter petting zoo as I type this, so the radio signals from the aliens cannot reach my brain and cause me to type whatever they want. :o)

Care Package Received!
Mitch now has soap. I'm sure his co-workers are highly appreciative of this fact. Well, he had soap before, but was going to be running out after the bar currently in use. It's not like he's been shtinky for the past two weeks. The loaf of banana bread was well-received, though wasn't quite up to my usual standards. I actually like the newly modified recipe better than the old one, but Mitch isn't the biggest fan of whole wheat flour. And the loaf was a bit overly browned (I forgot to set the timer AGAIN). But still incredibly delicious and it was an absolute hit at his group meeting at work. Next on the baking agenda.....blueberry bread and chocolate chip cookies

Tonight's Entertainment
Right now, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the background noise while I work. I also have The Exorcism of Emily Rose on DVD and Welcome to Mooseport on VHS.

If it doesn't rain, I may walk down to the library and return some books. There has been thunder this afternoon, but so far no rain although rain has been predicted/expected for the past three days. At least it's not yet time to mow the lawn again. :o)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday Tiring Monday

Actually, it wasn't too bad. It ended well, at least, even if it did get all cloudy.

Started out in a foul mood, ready to pick a fight. Although the person I was supposed to have dinner with reportedly dropped his kid off before work today, the child seat is buried in the backseat of his truck and his overnight bag is in the front seat. Hmmmm.... Methinks he's not been completely truthful with me. But I did get my DVD back, though he once again forgot my carabiner. Later I did thank him for at least letting me know he was cancelling instead of just standing me up. I was a whole lot grumpy about it and said there probably wasn't much point in my continuing to ask about hanging out since he was probably going to always have a better offer. He grumbled about having a 3 year old to deal with. Whatever. I did ask AGAIN for my carabiner and he told me that he would be sure to bring it in tomorrow. I hope that inconveniences him. Mean of me, and not particularly graceful or classy, but there you go.

By the end of the day, my frame of mind was that I don't actually like the jerk anyway or want to be his friend, so who the heck cares what he does. Of course, by tomorrow I may be pissed off again that I got treated like dirt.

Pretty uneventful day. I pissed off the PD by opening the window of an apartment where someone had died two days earlier. The cop on the scene said it was ok and then the detective jumped my case. The FD guys asked if they should bring up a fan as usual and were told yes, so the FD guys told the PD guys (in a rather annoyed manner) that we'd be happy to stay out of the way if you'd tell us that, but don't get pissed off if you say something is ok and we do it.

Then we had a patient who appeared to mostly just be overly stressed and a bit lightheaded. Until he threw up and tried to go unresponsive. His BP spiked too. Not sure what the heck was going on there, but it wasn't good. He was a horrible historian, however. He kept wandering off topic. Our scene time was horrendous while he argued with himself about trying to refuse (before he went unresponsive).

Self-defense presentation
I'm supposed to talk at an insurance company about personal defense strategies and risk reduction concepts on Wednesday. Ordinarily I show a video and have handouts from the National Self-Defense Institute. I discovered today that I can't find the video or brochures. I suspect they're carefully packed away in Mitch's Sea of Boxes (tm). Looks like I'll be faking it. the video was just wonderful though because it hits all the highlights and it's a great springboard for discussion. Grrrrrr.....

Interviewing and other jobs
Got my Sunday shift covered so I can get to Jackson at a reasonable hour Sunday, instead of driving most of the night. My interview is 10am on Monday. The only hitch in my plan....I am supposed to work on Monday. I got signed up for a 11-7 shift. I'm hoping to find someone to cover it for me. I'd even work for them later or bribe them with cookies or something. Anything. I don't want to call in sick.

Need to get a couple of apps out this week. Deadlines are drawing nigh.... Perhaps on Wednesday after the presentation. Thursday I'm teaching the EMT class at FSI again. Which reminds me, I need to submit my time sheet from last week. It was due today at 0900. Oops.

Curtis totally rocks. He keeps sending me encouraging text messages. That's cool. He's gonna miss me, but then again, he also said he'd come visit on vacation or whenever he runs away from work/home/reality. I told him I could get a job in Germany and his reply was "Let's go!" :o)

Mitch's Sea of Boxes
Apparently the apartment is becoming more like someone lives there than an abstract sculpture of cardboard cubes. The bed has been moved repeatedly to find the "right" spot. So has the desk and computer table. And the kitchen table was next in line for tweaking. The TV/DVR remotes are AWOL, despite opening most of the front room boxes. This caused a minor rant/whine session. But the major stuff is all being found. It's just a matter of putting away what you need to put away to live in the place for up to 6 months and to leave as much packed as possible for moving out into a house in the next 6 months.

Today he found a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Not quite the same as Dos Reales or El Toro, but not half bad either, he said. It's a local place, not a chain. I'm sure he'll find a good coffee shop and a cool breakfast place too. It's just a matter of time.

Knitting/cooking/eating/working out/reading:
I finally took my lunch to work (for the first time in close to 2 weeks). It was pretty good, once I remembered to eat it. At almost 2pm. Oopsie. That would explain why I felt like crap for part of the day.

No knitting, though I think I did pull out the needles on the sock in my backpack. No working out or cooking either. Mitch got the banana bread today and called to tell me about it with his mouth full. Heh. Next care package probably going out in two weeks. For reading, I'm re-reading the Herald Mage books by Mercedes Lackey. I got bored/disinterested in The Black Company books. I think it took me too long to get through Dreams of Steel due to lack of time that I started to forget who the various chars were, which rather makes the story hard to follow. Oh well....plenty of other books in the world to (re)read. :o)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gotta love my weekends

NOT! It's been another one of those weekends that start out well and then crash and burn. Yippee. Just reminds me why I tend to work 6-7 days a week all the time.

Derby Day!
The 132nd running of the Kentucky Derby is today. Co-worker Tom, his girlfriend Leslie and their respective children, Jeremy and Lindsay are in Kentucky for the festivities and visiting Tom's family. This is Leslie’s first time meeting Tom’s whole family and also the first time they’ve taken both kids on a long trip together. Here’s hoping they made it to Kentucky before the two kids started aggravating each other and the grownups had to threaten death/mayhem/no Christmas present to restore the peace.

Care Package Away!
Mitch has discovered that his favorite soap, beige Safeguard, is not apparently available in his new locale. So I picked up a multi-bar pack for him at Wal-Mart and shipped it off. It would be bad to start a new job and then quit taking showers. Or at least quit using soap in said shower. Probably not the best way to make a good impression, particularly once the weather gets warm. Being the nice person that I am, I included a loaf of banana bread. Package ended up weighing 6 pounds, but that’s ok. I’m just doing my part to keep the USPS in business. :o)

Sockie Sockie!
I decided yesterday that I would stop by my favorite local yarn shop, Needleworks, for a single ball of sock yarn. I had purchased some Marks and Kattens Clown in a purple and gray colorway several months ago, but was unsure if I would need 2 or 3 balls for a pair of women’s socks, so I purchased 3 balls just to be safe. Turns out I only needed 2 balls so had a lonely orphan needing a mate. I finally decided to get a second ball so I could make a pair of socks for me with this yarn. When I got to Needleworks I found several other skeins of sock yarn in colors that just jumped out at me. I was good though. I only bought 3 extra skeins. At one point I had 5 skeins pulled out. I saw some Koigu in lovely bright colors, which I really like, but that is a bit beyond my budget at the moment. I also picked up some DPNs so I can finish the sleeve of a sweater I started 5 or 6 years ago. I ought to have it done just in time for summer. Of course, it’s a nice wool pullover. Now I just need to figure out what sock patterns to use for each of the yarns. *That* could take a long time. I suppose I ought to write up the sock patterns that I've got in my head. Heck, I might even be able to sell patterns, if I write them well enough.

Sundays last *forever*....
So, I got up this morning at a reasonable time. I'd decided that I was going to go have breakfast at the Courier Cafe. It's the first time I've been in there since Mitch left. Melinda came over to ask how Mitch was. Sequoia waved and said hi (at least she asked how I was doing). As usual, everybody wants to hear all about Mitch, but few people ask about me. I guess I am not sufficiently interesting on my own. That's a bit frustrating and depressing.

I was looking forward to having dinner with a friend tonight. I'd suggested it last week and he seemed quite excited about the idea. So I spent the past three days trying to find out what time he was dropping off his son since we were to have dinner after that. No response at all to pages or text messages. This afternoon I got a text message on my phone telling me that he has to cancel dinner, giving me a rather elaborate excuse that he now gets to keep his son tonight. I can't say I'm surprised. I'd actually expected to get stood up without any notice at all. Even so, I'm really disappointed. Well, at least he decided to be polite and respectful and let me know, instead of just standing me up as he has done in the past. Right now I'm mostly just angry at myself for thinking the evening might have included some social activity. And also angry because the whole situation upset me so much when, in the grand scheme of things, it's really quite insignificant.

It's been almost three weeks since I went out and did anything with anybody. I guess I should get used to that. It's amazing how people will tell me they'd love to do something with me and they'll call me (or I should call them). Yet, when that call is made, the excuses begin to flow about how that plan won't work now and they have to cancel. Occasionally, if I go out to lunch at the restaurant we were going to go to, I can often find the person who had to cancel lunch with me having lunch with someone else. Scratch that person off the list of nice people. Maybe that's why I have no friends. I happen to think I deserve to be treated politely and with courtesy. Nobody else seems to think so. Although, on days like today, I think maybe they're right.

So now it's another rather depressing evening. Alone. Tried to do more job application stuff. I really don't see that there's much point there. I should have taken the TX job that was offered to me a few weeks ago. It would have been really difficult to get everything done as fast as they needed it to happen, but obviously it was a mistake to not just run. Maybe the TN job will work out for me. Or the job in Pennsylvania. I'd really like the job in Germany, but somehow I don't think that one will quite come through. That would certainly get me the hell out of here geographically. And I'd like to see Europe. Maybe I'll finish those apps up tonight, just to get them out there. See, there it goes again. I'm being optimistic again, even though the past three years of under/unemployment would indicate that such optimism is misguided and unrealistic.

Loneliness or Solitude or Burnout?
I think my primary problem is that I spend far too much of my time completely alone. I go to work and chatter at my partner for the day. I come home and it's just me. I try to keep busy. I work extra shifts mostly because I don't want to be stuck at home alone though the extra money is nice. Of course, now the people on the other shifts think I'm nothing but a tool and make a point of saying I'm not a team player if I don't stay extra after my shift or pick up extra shifts so they can get time off. These very same people don't bother to pick up my shifts, but somehow that's different. One of the supervisors has made a point of sending me thank you notes for staying late and helping them out. It's silly that something simple like that really makes my day, but there you go. It's nice to know that at least one person appreciates me and what I do. Everybody else just bitches that I haven't done enough for them fast enough. I may not have much of a life outside of work (no family, school, extra jobs, etc), but I do have a yard to mow, errands to do, hobbies I don't have much time for and, occasionally, a darn good book to read in my comfy chair. Poopyheads. What I need is a break and time for me WITHOUT having to justify it to anybody and everybody. The next person who rags me for taking care of myself is risking life and limb. My temper is getting exceptionally short and I really don't care any more if I bitch someone out.

On solitude:
Many years ago I saw a presentation given by Terry Waite. Mr. Waite was held hostage in Iran for over a year. He was kept in solitary confinement for much of that time. He talked about practicing "creative solitude". I'll have to track down his book and see if I can find some suggestions on what to do with all the time I have alone. I know I need to keep busy and not think about it. It's hard to go out and spend time at Pages or go out to eat alone and watch everybody else in the place laughing and having fun with someone else. It really does seem like I'm the only solo person in the world sometimes. I've even got a list of things to do when I get "bored" or start to get depressed. The trick is that I usually don't want to do any of them because I'm getting depressed and none of them interest me. And sometimes things I could be doing cost money I don't really have. Movies used to be my escape, but any more I can't afford $6 for a matinee ticket and, frankly, the movies out lately aren't worth spending $6 on anyway. Good thing the library has free DVDs and videos or I'd truly go insane. I guess I ought to start in on the books on tape too.

Well, time to go find something else to do besides wallow in self-pity, because that, after all, is not exactly a successful way to get over my disgruntlement. Blah.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Crabby Thursday

I know Thursday is supposed to be Sandwich Day (see Lilo and Stitch for an explanation), but it turned out to be Crabby Thursday instead. Nothing major happened, just a bunch of little things....

Both of the calls my partner and I got sent to had screwed up dispatches. For the first one, we never were dispatched via radio, we got pages saying we had a call. The dispatcher upstairs didn't think we were supposed to go, but our primary dispatcher thought we were, so away we went. Good thing the patient wasn't critical because there was a delay of over 5 minutes. For the second call we were told the car crash had happened "some time ago" and that the fire dept was on scene. The accident hadn't apparently happened very long ago because the sheriff's deputy wasn't even there yet and the FD wasn't there, just one firefighter on his way home. Good thing the impact was behind the driver's door, not in the driver's door, because we'd have needed extra manpower AND extrication equipment. The fire department didn't know anything about the accident until someone noticed we were trying to call them and ask about the number of patients and vehicles involved. Then they self-dispatched.

I'm supposed to have dinner with a friend on Sunday but he won't answer his phone or pages and I haven't any idea when dinner is supposed to actually be. He supposedly shuts off his phone/pager now on weekends or at least won't answer it any time I call, so it's a safe bet that I won't be hearing from him at all. I really shouldn't be surprised, but it bugs me that he was all excited about the idea when I suggested it, yet lets it all drop. I know he's unreliable, but it still hurts that I don't even rate the courtesy of a phone call. Funny how he can manage to answer calls/pages when he's around me, but apparently can't answer calls/pages from me. I probably ought to just write him off completely as a friend, but I haven't got many friends at the moment.

Found out another friend of mine, who also no longer returns e-mail pings, spent a week in California at a conference. A co-worker said he'd met someone who knew me out there and that she was pretty neat. You'd think I'd have heard about it directly from the friend, but apparently not. We used to get together regularly or at least send e-mail back and forth, but she's not responded the past couple messages. I guess that's a sign too. I used to at least get a note saying she was busy and would write soon. Oh well...

So basically I'm on my own. I have a local support network of one--me. The only friend I can really claim right now is Mitch and he's on the other side of the country, busy with a new job and new apartment. The time zone difference isn't helping much either. About the time he's ready/able to chat on the phone I'm going to bed.

And to top it all off...tomorrow's the first day in a long time that I can ride my motorcycle and the predicted high is in the lower 60s. So it'll be cold in the morning. It's been in the 70s to lower 80s the past few days when I couldn't ride. Figures.

I was planning to see a movie this weekend for something to do, but of course there's nothing out that I want to see. Why is it that all the movies I do want to see come out simultaneously when I haven't the time to go to see them, but once I do have time there isn't anything I want to spend money on? Is that the movie corollary to Murphy's Law? I guess I'll have to satisfy myself with videos from the library instead. Thank goodness they've got an extensive selection.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nap Time!

Ok, so I didn't get my essay about summer written. Shoot me.

Today I did read half of Teacherman by Frank McCourt. Tonight I turned it back in to the library. I think it's a good book, but I'm not finding it to be particularly engaging. I don't know if it's my brain or his writing style, but it was hard for me to focus and follow along. I realize that memoirs don't necessarily have a point, but the story telling seemed a bit disjointed. I'll have to try reading Angela's Ashes and see if that's a better fit. Not a bad book, just not what I'm wanting to read right now.

So I read half a dozen chapters in Dreams of Steel by Glen Cook instead. The Lady is busy kicking butt while her sister is masquerading as her and wreaking her own havoc. Things are about to get good.

So, while I wasn't terribly productive with writing today I did get a good bit of reading done and I had a lovely nap or two. I've been really tired lately even though I've been getting to bed at a reasonable hour. At least work wasn't terribly busy. There's nothing worse than being tired and then running your behind off at work. I was tired enough that I didn't get fidgety or fussy by the end of the afternoon like I ususally do. Brandon was really tired too. I threw a pillow at him and he didn't even bother to return fire. *That* is unusual.

I suspect that my tiredness is related to my recent less-than-ideal eating pattern and a lack of exercise. Although I did mow two yards last night (total of 1/2-2/3 acre), so that could be contributing. I've had fast food for lunch three days this week. While I've been making better choices (salad or no fries), it's not the veggies and good stuff I'd been eating for a few weeks before. I haven't worked out since early April. I did a light workout tonight with weights. Will have to get back to the walking/running a couple days a week. The good news is that my more sensible eating habits have enabled me to maintain my weight at just below 160, even though I'm not working out. That is encouraging. The jeans I used to refer to as my "skinny jeans" are now loose on me. I'm almost ready to move to a smaller size again. Woot!

Project thoughts...
I'm thinking I may work on several things at once: writing periodic essays, spinning up the prepared fiber I have (so as to make more room for the fleeces I need to get ready) and finishing up the cookbook of my Grandma's recipes (been working on that since I got her recipe box after she died). That would give me a variety of things to work on so I don't get stuck on one thing and quit working at it.

Tonight's entertainment:
Watching A History of Violence on DVD. Last night I watched Finding Forrester.

Tomorrow:
Write up more lecture material for the EMT class and develop more practice scenarios. Friday is the last day I lecture. Next week I only help them prepare for their practical exam. I'll have to see if they have any questions on the material and come up with some review questions for them.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

in search of....

Something to focus the mind:
I have come to the conclusion that I need a project. Something to focus my brain. I have been toying with this idea since before reading The Julie/Julia Project. I have since decided that I need to do something like that. I have considered using my marathon training as my project, but have discarded that idea. My brain says it should be something else. Besides, I've already finished one marathon. I *know* I can do that, even with very little training. I've been thinking the project needs to be something with multiple stages/steps to it. So a single large or complex knitting project, like the Peacock Shawl wouldn't quite work. (Will have to come up with alternate motivation to get that project started.) I don't know if preparing a fleece, then spinning the yarn and finally knitting a sweater would work or not. That might take too long for me to ever finish. Whatever project I do choose, it has to be something I actually finish. I'm going to get over my hangup at ever starting or finishing something because it won't be perfect. Time to just get it done. As James Thurber once said, "Don't get it right, just get it written."

Perhaps something more cerebral. I've considered reading all the NY Times Best Seller books for a year. I've thought about reading the 100 best novels of the 20th Century as listed by Random House. I've even considered writing an essay a day for a year. Pick a list of concepts or ideas and have at it. It's funny that I used to hate writing, yet in the past ten years I've really gotten to like it. I think I've even managed to become reasonably good at it. I suppose that brings me to one of the "big" projects I want to get done before I die--write a novel and get it published. I probably ought to just start on that instead of waiting for whatever the "right" time will be. Like I need to just write up the knitting patterns I'm keeping in my head. Perhaps on my next slow day at work or on a nice weekend off.

In the meantime, I feel the urge to write an essay about summer and why I like this time of year so much. It's not quite summer but spring is definitely showing her age. The reason I like it so much? Potential. Tune in tomorrow (hopefully) for a more verbose explanation.

Today's Accomplishments:
Surprisingly productive. I got up early, finished writing/reviewing lecture material for the EMT class I taught today. Taught for seven hours. Wrote up EMT practice scenarios at work. Asked questions of people I didn't really know at work to get the equipment I needed. I was going to avoid doing that, but went ahead and did it anyway. I don't know why I'm intimidated there, but I am. Today I took baby steps toward getting past that. After teaching, I mowed Mitch's lawn and my own. I guess that qualifies as working out for today. Then I cooked dinner (Amy's cheese enchiladas), washed a sink full of dishes, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned off the dining room table of the boxes Mitch left and put away my laundry. I was going to spend the evening working on job applications, but decided that I would instead take the evening off for me and have been watching Finding Forrester and teasing apart one of the fleeces I bought last year. (I'm hoping to get this one combed and ready to spin this year. I think it wants to be a sweater.)

So, not a bad day. We'll see how work goes tomorrow. I probably should head to bed soon. I've been really tired the past couple of days, even though I've been getting more sleep than usual. Besides, the Lady is about to kick some more butt in The Black Company book I've been reading. I wouldn't want to miss any of that.

Update from the Pacific Time Zone:
The internet connection goes live today, so I'll be getting e-mail again. Well, technically I've been getting e-mail. I just haven't been getting it from Mitch. :o) He's got a lot of catching up to do. Being somewhat chatty and prone to boredom, I've been sending him lots of mail anyway. I figure it won't get moldy in his inbox and he'll need something to do while he avoids unpacking boxes anyway. It sounds like the first two days at the new job have gone swimmingly. He's got his magic decoder ring now and everything. We've been joking about how he'll shortly start working on projects he won't necessarily be able to tell me anything about. So the conversation will go something like "I did this really cool thing at work today and it wasn't going to work at first, but we got it figured out and now it's really spiffy." I told him he needs to create a blog about his job. "Today I started work on the ____________ Project with _____ and ____. Had lunch with _______ and we talked about the __________ Project that s/he is working on. They are having trouble getting the __________ to interface properly with the ______, but the technicians at _______ have been reconfiguring the __________ and that seems to have resolved the ________ issue." Wouldn't that be amusing? I'm sure someone would yell about it. Wait until I just mail him my grocery list and a Feynmann incident ensues.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Frustration and "friends"

It's a pity party sort of day today. Sitting around thinking too much. I have realized that I don't really have many friends. I know quite a few people who contact me when they want something from me, but few people who call to say hi or want to do something with me, like go to a movie or have lunch. These people tell me I can call them and we'll do something, but such phone calls generate myriad excuses about how that just won't be possible. I'm getting really crabby about being taken advantage of. I realize that a good person is supposed to be somewhat altruistic and that is in my nature, but there's got to be some GIVE and take, not just take and take. Lately it seems as though my purpose and value is what I do for others. I don't rate high enough to get help when I need it, but I do get bitched at when I don't help someone else, regardless of how inconvenient, painful or difficult it is for me. I am apparently not allowed to take care of me if anybody else wants anything at all.

My cynical conclusion for the day:
The only person on the planet who truly gives a damn about me is me. Everybody else just cares about what I do for them and when I'll do it. Isn't that a cheerful thought. Yes, I'm crabby. Bite me. Make a joke out of it right now and I'll slug you.

Family:
Tried calling various family members the week after Easter to see how their weekend went. As generally happens, I was not invited to spend the holiday with anybody and wasn't able to catch anybody on the phone the week earlier to ask about plans. Easter Day I spent by myself watching DVDs and I might have gone to a movie. So I called to see how their weekend went. That was several weeks ago. No response. It has occurred to me that I could die or go missing and none of my family would actually notice for weeks to months. I'm thinking the neighbors would notice the smell much sooner than that.

I think I need a vacation or something. I'm all kinds of irritable, surly and generally FOUL tempered.