Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Good Bye, Dr. MRI

I found out today that Dr. Paul Lauterbur died this past week. Dr. Lauterbur was a professor in the UI College of Medicine since 1985 and won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2003. His claim to fame? Figuring out how to vibrate all the hydrogen atoms in your body in unison so they can be used to make images. The end result? The Magnetic Resonance Image, formerly known as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, since it's the nucleus of the atoms which does the work. However, given the panic that the word "nuclear" (or "nucular" if you're President Bush) causes among the general public, the technology was renamed.

Shortly after Dr. Lauterbur won the Nobel Prize, he gave a talk at the Krannert Center on campus. He was successfully able to explain highly technical things to a rather non-technical audience. By all accounts he was a charming and gracious person and always encouraging of his students and those he mentored.

Crabbiness Erupts!
Well, there was a bit of unhappiness in the midst of the three days of training I'm attending. One of the organizing staff got crabby when nobody responded to a request for questionnaires. Mind you, the request was given in the context of "send something if you want the group to look at it", not in the context of it being required. End result? Only one person sent anything. If I had a questionnaire other than what is in the actual foodborne outbreak manual we *all* have, I would have sent something, but I don't. Later I spoke with my boss who agreed that we probably don't have anything and wasn't at all upset we had sent nothing in.

When I asked grumpy staff person for some missing, yet vital, information with which to do my job, I was told that the information had been sent out multiple times before and would not be sent again. I asked if it had been sent since I started my job in August or since the other two new staff started in July. The reply was that it was "out there" and I'd have to find it. Apparently I am responsible for information sent to my predecessor before I was ever hired. I'm not sure when my predecessor left the state, but I've gone through his files and haven't found the aforementioned missing information.

I don't mind people being grumpy. I can deal with that. I don't mind being told that I'm doing things wrong. I greatly dislike being told I'm doing things wrong but NOT being allowed to know how to do them right. I also dislike being grumped at about not doing what I'm supposed to do when people refuse to tell me what they want from me. I am more than happy to give you 110% and provide you with whatever deliverable you want, but you need to tell me what it is that you want. If you do not provide me with some guidance, particularly when asked for said guidance, you'll have to accept what you get and quit bitching about not getting what you wanted. I am not a mind reader. My psychic module does not work. That skill was absolutely not a part of this job requirement, nor is it currently part of my job description. I really hope this individual is just having a horrible week and their evil twin will be kidnapped soon.

*STABBITY!*STABBITY!*
Actually I was very good. I said "Thank you for your assistance. I will try to find some other source for the information." and left it at that. I also managed to NOT stomp my feet, grind my teeth or yell. I think I have even managed to get my blood pressure down to a reasonable level. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Random Thoughts


I listen to NPR in the morning as I get ready for work. There is a regular feature on that show called "This I Believe" in which listeners get to read essays they have written about something they believe in. I have debated writing one, but I have had some difficulty in limiting myself to a single essay. There are too many things in which I believe strongly. In the past few weeks, the idea has been percolating in my head and I have found a good candidate.

It is actually three closely related concepts:
Doing what you believe in, choose the difficult right over the easy wrong and always do your best.

Former pro football player Pat Tillman is in the news again these days. After the 2001-2002 football season, Mr. Tillman turned down a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the US Army. The 9/11 attacks had a powerful impact on him and he felt compelled to join the military to fight for our country and against terrorism. Mr. Tillman and his brother Kevin (a pro baseball player) became members of the Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion. He participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was re-deployed to Afghanistan in 2004, where he was killed by friendly fire during an ambush after his battalion was split into two units.

Not long after Mr. Tillman joined the Army, people commented that he was crazy for giving up all that money to make very little money in the military. Except that it's not about the money. It's about what he believed in. Mr. Tillman decided that he wanted to do something more meaningful with his life than to play football on Sundays. So he put his football career on hold while he became a Ranger. Unfortunately, he didn't survive his second tour to the Middle East.
People talk about what they believe in, but they rarely give up much of anything to do anything in support of it, much less give up several million dollars. Heck, Americans can't manage to give up overeating in order to become healthier and reduce their risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke. It's one thing to talk the talk, it's another to walk the walk.

I have not made anywhere near the financial sacrifice that Mr. Tillman has made and I certainly haven't died for my job and am unlikely to do so. However, I decided years ago that I wanted to work in public health and be a public servant. I could, with my degree, make six figures working for a pharmaceutical or insurance company, in a job that would be little more than data analysis day in and day out. It would be highly unlikely that my job would result in any sort of impact on the lives of anybody in any noticeable way. Instead, I work for a state health department and hope to work for the Centers for Disease Control eventually, if not elsewhere in the federal government. I investigate disease outbreaks, make recommendations for curtailing them, and participate in regional and statewide disaster training. I still do quite a bit of data analysis, but I actually am able to see the impact that my job has on other people. It's not quite as direct an impact as when I worked as an EMT, but it's still there.

I believe in public service, not as some great and noble task, but because it's something I can do to make a difference and something that I'm capable of doing. I may not be able to do everything, but as long as I can do *something*, I feel compelled to do that little bit. Right now my life feels a bit incomplete as I don't have a volunteer gig. I got used to working with the Champaign PD one day a week. Ideally a new volunteer job would occur after work or on weekends, but that would be ok. I certainly wouldn't be interested in giving up every Saturday, but a few hours a couple of times a month would be doable.

Always do your best. Whatever you do, if it's worth doing at all, it's worth doing to the best of your ability. Why just do a half-assed job? Why not do a job you're proud of, even if it's just folding your clothes, waxing your car or stapling together documents? Why save your best effort only for the "big" things? Why not practice doing things well all the time? Raise the bar on what is considered "normal" performance. This doesn't seem to be rocket science, but I have discovered that I am unusual in this respect. I am absolutely unable to do less than 100% at anything I do. I have tried to do a rush job on various work-related tasks, but I always end up re-doing it before I turn it in because it's sub-standard. I have had co-workers who believe that "good enough" is sufficient and "mediocre" is absolutely ok. I can't understand that. Yes, it takes more effort to do something well, but if doing it well once means not doing it over a second time, isn't that worth the effort? Certainly a higher quality job might actually end up being reflected on a performance review at work. More importantly, it might result in greater personal satisfaction with a job well done. Perhaps I'm a bit odd, but I feel a whole lot better about doing a good job than about doing a mediocre job.

The third part is to choose the difficult right over the easy wrong. Figure out what you believe in, then make choices that reflect those beliefs. It is easy to go along with a group and do something you aren't comfortable with. It is difficult in the face of peer pressure or group dynamics to do what you think is right. However, I believe that it is important to not compromise your personal beliefs or ethics to follow the group or to belong or to avoid making the effort of upholding those beliefs. Yes, this can annoy people around you and may lead to some conflict. I look at it as an opportunity to educate them about beliefs, concepts or ideas they may not have thought about or even realized existed. And if the conflict persists and the people around you can't respect that you have beliefs different from theirs, perhaps it's time to find new people to hang around with.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Spring!

Well, technically, the start of Spring was yesterday, but today was indeed the first full day of spring. I celebrated by having getting the preliminary lab results back on one of our new TB suspects. He's really really really infectious. Oopsies.

I'm a Sourdough!
Well, not quite yet. I got a packet of dried sourdough starter in the mail yesterday. It's descended from a starter that moved to Oregon in the 1800s via covered wagon. Carl Griffith decided to share the starter that had been handed down for generations in his family. Now that Carl has passed on, his friends are keeping up the good work. I am the proud keeper of a few ounces of Carl's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter. Carl's brochure includes recipes and directions on how to feed/store the starter. I figure I'll reconstitute the starter in the next week or two and see what I can do with it. I've been wanting a pet and this one ought to be fairly well behaved with regular feeding and exercise.

How do you get the starter? Send the group a self-addressed stamped envelope. That's it. In about six to eight weeks you get the envelope back with a small ziptop bag inside that holds the dried starter. That's it. And if I happen to kill my starter before I get some dried as a backup, I can always send away for more.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pretty Pictures!

I haven't got much to say today. I'm trying to watch I, Robot and I want to knit instead of be on the computer all evening. So, below please find some photos of the Bradford Pear tree blooming, a closeup of a blooming sprig of said Pear and a closeup of peach blossoms (which are pink in color). But, first, a picture of how trashed my living room was before I cleaned it up this weekend. Can you see why it was driving me nuts?!?!? :o)




Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Changing of the Seasons

It must be getting closer to spring....
I mowed the lawn today. The grass isn't growing yet, but the weeds were getting a bit tall. I took a "before" picture so you could see the lovely purple blooms in the "grass", but I hadn't put the SD card back in my camera, so I didn't save it. I do have a nice "after" picture though. I also pulled out part of the fence that the previous owners put up by the garden plot and also pulled up the ground cover fabric (which frankly wasn't doing a very good job of suppressing weeds). The back section of wire fence will have to remain for a while. Right now there is a blackberry bramble growing through it. When the previous owners planted it, they wove it through the mesh. I don't know why. It doesn't make much sense to me, but that's what they did. I haven't decided if I'll transplant it to a more convenient location or just get rid of it completely. I'm not the biggest fan of blackberries. I'd rather have black raspberries. Yum!

"Green" Food
I can tell when it is spring time when I start moving away from eating soup and start eating lots of rice and other grains. Tonight I ate Southwestern Risotto. Later this week I'll make some rice salad. Of course the changing of the season doesn't really impact my eating bean burritos at home 2-4 times a week, though I do tend to add more veggies and rice to the mix. Soon there will be lettuce at the farmer's market. And soon there will be fresh veggies from my garden. By June I won't eat much besides seasonally available fresh fruits and veggies. I can't wait for the Strawberry Festival in May. That will be really yummy. I might have to try making strawberry jam. I don't think I've ever made jam before.

Friday, March 16, 2007

My Microwave is Broken!

My oatmeal was cold today. Of course, it's been sitting on the counter all day while I was at work. Do you think that had something to do with it?

Friday Fax/Phone Curse Strikes Again!
It's been a couple of weeks since it happened, but at 3:50 this afternoon, the phone rang and we were notified of a new case of active TB. TB Doc told me that I had to go home before we found another case of TB. I told him I was unplugging the phone and fax next Friday at 3pm so this wouldn't happen again. He thought that would be a marvelous idea.

Freezing Friday
Well, not quite freezing, but it didn't get terribly warm today and there's a brisk, COLD wind. It feels like it's in the 40s.

Battle of Shiloh
The reenactment of The Battle of Shiloh is this weekend. I haven't decided if I'll go or not. Part of the decision will depend upon the weather. I think it would be a lot of fun to see, but I don't know that I want to freeze either. It's not a terribly long drive, but I probably should check the schedule of events so I don't miss something I really want to see. If nothing else, there is always next year.

The Perils of Monoculture
Now that the Bradford Pear trees are in bloom, it is easy to see just how many of them there are around town. Believe me, there are LOTS of them, including in my subdivision. They're all about the same age too. So in another 5 years or so they'll start to develop structural issues and start to fail. So far I've not observed anybody planting the next generation of trees in anticipation of that eventuality. My property has a single Bradford Pear which is located at the side of my driveway. When it dies, I might replace it with a nice smaller flowering tree, like a crabapple or a dogwood. Then again I might plant something larger like a maple. I don't want to plant anything too big so as to avoid having the roots tear up the driveway.

Speaking of trees....
The peach tree is blooming and the pear tree has just started to bloom. I pruned all three of the fruit trees a bit this evening. Removed small crossed branches, etc. The previous owners didn't know much about pruning. I found lots of inch-long branch stubs from where they had trimmed things. I will need to get the ladder out to finish the pruning process on the pear tree. If the tree had been pruned properly from an early age, it wouldn't need so much work now. I am having to remind myself that I can't fix it all in one year. I did prune it some over the summer so that I could avoid braining myself while mowing around the tree and also removed some weak and damaged branches. I'll do more this weekend, then finish the pruning in the fall.

I'd like to plant a second peach and apple tree, plus a pecan tree or two. I would like to get better yield out of the peach and apple trees. I also need to look up what sort of spraying the fruit trees will need this year.

Not Everything You Read is True....
Last week on the FatFree Vegan Yahoogroup, someone mentioned that microwave ovens are unhealthy and do bad things to the food which is cooked in them. The reason cited was that the microwave oven causes the molecules of food to heat up by causing them to rub together. This, of course, causes changes in the food. Apart from the fact that there is no such thing as a "food molecule", this is, factually, true. However, ANY sort of heating causes the molecules of a substance to rub together. Heating/cooking *does* indeed cause changes. That is why carrots go from being hard and crunchy to softer critters.

The person who posted about the evils of microwaves also posted URLs to three websites (two of which had identical information on them) detailing the evils of microwave ovens. I read the information. In the first three paragraphs, I was hard pressed to find a single sentence which was actually factually correct with regards to the science involved. The most absurd thing I read was that the Sun emits microwaves safely because it's direct current while microwaves use alternating current. I'd like to see the battery pack that runs the sun off D/C..... The whole idiotic website has annoyed me so much that I am going to take apart the article sentence by sentence, point out the errors in it and post it to one of my websites. I *hate* the fomenting of panic and stupidity through the dissemination of completely incorrect scientific information.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Curses! Foiled Again!

The stupid NCAA basketball tournament on CBS has pre-empted my watching CSI this evening. I'm watching The Battle of Britain on TCM instead. It's almost as good, features Lawrence Olivier and also lots of dogfights (the kind involving planes, not canines).

Productivity Enhancers

I have found two new ways to waste, er, spend time on the computer. The first is the Spamalot game. You get to throw cows at knights (pronounced k-nig-its) and at rabbits. The second is the other Spamalot game. You get to toss cows, chickens and donkeys at the enemy with a trebuchet and you even get to play as the French or the English.

Time to Unwind
I am about to turn off the computer. I had lots of stuff to blog, but now I can't remember any of it. I think my brain is full. I think I might just knit a bit and or read. It's a cold, dreary, wet day out today and I don't feel like doing much at all. Then again, that might also be because I'm exhausted. :o)

Shtinky Spare Bedroom
The yarn/fiber room smells funny again today. Sort of like cat pee mixed with farm animals. I am hoping it's becuase of the multitude of sheep's fleeces in there. I will assume that the recent warm temperatures lately are contributing to this. It certainly isn't due to any cat and I can't smell anything funky in the carpet (what little bit of isn't already covered in boxes/bins). Perhaps I'll have to use part of my tax return to ship the fleeces off to get processed. That would eliminate the stinky fleece issue and generate me a bunch more stuff to spin up. I was seriously considering just buying a drum carder and prepping it all myself, but then I'd need the time to wash and then card the fiber. It might actually be worth it to just ship it all off. Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Yummy!

Since the weather was so nice today, I fired up the grill for dinner. I had picked up some veggie burgers at the store yesterday thinking that I'd grill out last night. I didn't quite get around to that last night as I was a bit tired. Anyway, I cooked the burgers tonight. I even remembered to oil the grill rack so the burgers didn't stick so badly. On a whim, I also cut a grapefruit in half and grilled it, cut side down. I've seen recipes for broiled grapefruit, but have never eaten it. I figured grilling is a lot like broiling and grapefruit are pretty inexpensive, so why not try it? Oh my goodness. It was DELICIOUS. I will definitely be doing that again. The grapefruit was, objectively speaking, a bit past its prime for eating plain, but grilled, it was very juicy, flavorful and sweet tasting. I would never have guessed that grilling/broiling a grapefruit would make it taste sweeter.

Yard Work
I pulled out all the dead leaves and stuff from the front flower bed, dug up the soil, amended it with composted cow manure and humus, then raked it smooth. I think I managed to destroy my achillea, though it may not have survived the transplanting from Illinois. I don't remember seeing anything achillea-like when I was pulling up the weeds. I'll just have to buy a new one or two later this spring. I also managed to hack a large bulb in half with my trowel. I don't know what it was, but I'm pretty sure it won't be able to survive my mangling.

Speaking of buying plants, I have found a small local nursery which is highly recommended. The wife of a co-worker works there part-time too. I have heard that they have some more unusual species/varieties in addition to the stuff you can find at any big box garden center. I'll head out there next weekend and see what they have in stock.

I found this plant on the internet today. I think it looks pretty cool. The plant is named Ophiopogon nigrescens. It's not really a grass, but behaves like a grassy groundcover. I may have to plant a couple of them in the shady corner of the back yard.


Well, I have to get some laundry and housekeeping done. Have a good evening!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Glorious Weather

I had a tough decision this morning. It was bright and sunny this morning with an expected high of 75 degrees. If it weren't for the fact that it was 38 degrees when I left the house, I'd have ridden my motorcycle to work this morning. On the way to work, I had a brilliant idea. Why not go home at lunch and get the bike so I can ride home after work and even get in a bit of a ride during lunch? Am I a genius or what?!?!?

So that's what I did. I went to lunch about 12:20, headed back to the house to grab a bite to eat and the bike. Did a fairly quick turnaround (not as quick as I had intended, but more on that later), then headed back to work. I saw a couple of bikes out at lunchtime (all of whom waved back). My energy level was soaring by the time I got back to work.

During the afternoon, the sky clouded up a bit and the temperature dropped about ten degrees. It wasn't nearly as warm at the end of the day as it was at lunchtime. I did take a longer way home, but did not go 20 miles out of my way like I had intended. I did pass a small group of sport bike riders. Only the last one waved at me. Oh well. I also discovered that my left wrist got really tired with all the shifting I had to do in town, to the extent that shifting was actually difficult by the time I got home. I'll definitely have to work on building up some strength there as I build up my endurance for motorcycle season.

Nonetheless, I had a nice ride home and finished off the day by sitting on the deck and finishing up the book I've been reading (Dragon's Teeth by James A. Hetley).

Silly People
I came home yesterday to find four large boxes from Herbalife stacked up in front of my garage door. This was "interesting" to me since I have never actually ordered anything from this company, nevermind four boxes worth. When I looked at the shipping labels, it turns out the boxes are actually for the people who owned the house before me. Now, if you remember the calendar of events for the past year, I purchased this house in July and the previous owners had moved out in January 2006. They haven't lived in this house in over a year, yet apparently had not yet gotten around to changing their shipping address. I have no idea where these folks live and while I once had their phone number, I have no idea where it might be now or if I even still have it.

So, since I have no desire to be responsible for someone else's property, I thought the best course of action was to contact Herbalife and tell them of the error in delivery destination. The customer service girl was more than a little confused when I told her that the previous residents hadn't lived at the address in at least six months, yet failed to change their address. She commented that the order was placed only three days ago with the incorrect address. Her solution was to have Fed Ex come out in three or four business days to pick up the boxes. That would be fine, except that they are big boxes and there are four of them, which doesn't really fit in my garage conveniently. Furthermore, I don't want someone else's property inside my house.

I suggested to the customer service girl that she try to contact the ordering party and tell them of their address error, then tell them to come pick up their stuff. She thought that was a good idea, put me on hold while she called them and later told me that they'd be by today to pick up the delivery. I had instructed her to tell them that the boxes would be sitting outside in front of the garage, which she says she did. They told her that they'd "be right over" to get the boxes. Well, I don't know how they define "be right over" because the boxes were still there tonight when I got home form work. I hope they come get them soon because it's supposed to rain tonight and I am *not* moving the boxes inside. Not my responsibility.

Work Productivity!
There were NO disasters today at work!! The fax machine did not spit out any announcements of reportable diseases (or anything else) needing investigation at 3pm as it likes to do on Friday afternoons. As a result, I managed to be quite productive today. I got new hard copy spreadsheets printed. I got the new data entered. I even went through one of the databases and verified it against the original data to make sure that no contacts were left off (there were two or three that had been omitted). In the afternoon, I revised the photokeratitis report which mostly involved additional statistical analyses. The last thing I did was send out the report to the involved persons. Of course, I had to send the message out twice. The first time I failed actually include the report attachment. *sigh* I have about a 50% failure rate at doing that.

I did NOT bring any work home with me. Yay!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I Am A Fire Junkie

I was unable to resist driving over to the large column of smoke emanating from a neighborhood south and east of my office. I found a fully involved house fire that was about to be struck. The FD had its ladder up and was pouring water on from above. I didn't see a handy place to park so I didn't stop to watch. The fire was, of course, in the middle of the block so I didn't actually see the house itself between the vehicles and the smoke. I also thought it was better to watch where I was driving than to gawk and run into something.

Car accidents too!
This morning there was a car crash at the intersection south of my office building. It took an inordinantly long time to get tow trucks on scene (like 20-25 minutes). The cross street is two lanes each way, but was reduced to one lane each way. It wasn't until the tow trucks arrived that someone decided to just drive the vehicle in the intersection over to the side of the road. I don't think anybody got transported. I was quite impressed to see a street vacuum stop by and clean up the debris off the roadway. I think that it came from the hospital though, rather than the city. Still, it was a very efficient and practical way to clean up the glass, plastic and other debris.

Speaking of EMS things, I finally have all the paperwork gathered to get my EMT license renewed. Since I can't transfer my license at the Basic level, I'll have to take an intermediate or paramedic course if I want to use my EMT license here. I'm debating looking into a volunteer or paid job at the local hospital for something to do.

Work News
I managed to get caught up at work today. Of course, the new data are expected to start arriving on Friday or Monday, so this is a temporary situation.

A Beautiful Evening

Two of the neighbors who own the farm/business behind my house were out riding horses tonight. Surprisingly, none of the boys were out on their dirt bikes. It may be too wet for that still or else they got stuck working on something else.

I am blogging from my deck. It's about 60 degrees and the sun has just set. I should have gone for a walk this evening, but I wanted to just sit and veg. I probably could have re-assembled the windmill this evening, but it'll still be there tomorrow.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Arsenic and Old Lace

Ahhh....can't beat watching a classic comedy while winding down after a weekend. Harvey was just on and now, in a Josephine Hull double feature, I'm watching Arsenic and Old Lace. Cary Grant is about to be driven slightly mad by his aunts, who have a habit of poisoning people and then burying them in the cellar. They just don't make movies like this any more. You never even see the bodies! I don't think you ever see the body in Hitchcock's Rope either, now that I think of it.

The Vegetarian Saga
I have still remained vegetarian, except for the fact that bacon bits were put on my salad on Friday. I picked them off as best I could. I have had exactly no craving for meat or cheese. I haven't even bought cheese in two weeks now. This week I ate the veggie-packed chili I made last weekend for lunch and dinner. I haven't finished off the soba noodles yet. I ought to have them with a bit of spaghetti sauce and some broccoli. Perhaps that will be dinner tomorrow evening.

The soup of the week is a variation on a soup recipe posted to the Fat-Free Vegan listserv. I just changed things up to reflect the vegetables I had available. I used cabbage sprouts instead of half a head of cabbage. The rest of the ingredients were one turnip, two potatoes, most of a bunch of celery, two cloves garlic, two handsful of baby carrots, one onion, 3/4 cup dried lentils, basil, oregano, black pepper, two bouillon cubes and about six cups of water. It's mostly veggies and not much broth. If I run out of broth, I may just put the veggies over some rice.

The Results of Eating Better
I have managed to lose about five pounds without really trying. I'm simply paying attention to what I eat and how much I eat. I don't let myself snack when I'm bored anymore. It's amazing how much less a person can eat if you only eat when you're hungry. I have significantly boosted my water intake and that helps a lot too. Speaking of fluid intake, I'm working on giving up the caffeine. I've been drinking coffee at work (not decaf) and the occasional soda. Since I don't have caffeinated stuff at home, I ended up with a caffeine withdrawal headache today. This has happened the past couple of weeks. I sometimes remember to buy a caffeinated soda during the Saturday grocery run and sometimes I don't. I think the easiest solution is to just quit drinking it altogether.

Plans for the rest of the week:
I finally got the laundry finished and even folded last week's laundry. Now I just need to fold this week's clean clothes.

I need to buy some Lok-Tite for the windmill. The windmill is bent on self-destruction. It looks like it just can't take the wind that we get here. Every 10-14 days I have to replace the nuts that vibrate off. Last time I had to re-assemble it, I put two nuts plus a lock washer on each of the four screws holding the top of the windmill onto the body. Yesterday three of the screws were missing their nuts and the fourth one was very loose. There are now missing nuts elsewhere in the windmill body. I hope the Lok-Tite solves the problem. At the present rate of self-destruction, I'll go through a package of machine screws about every two weeks. If only the nuts that fell off would sprout new ones in the garden.... One of these days too many screws will fall out or I won't get them replaced fast enough and the whole thing will just fall apart.

At least two evenings this week I have every intention of knitting or reading and NOT even thinking of doing any work at home. Fortunately I got the housework type stuff done this weekend for the most part. After tomorrow evening, I ought to be able to goof off most of the rest of the week. That will feel quite good.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Long Week

For all that I was only in the office for three days this week, it's been an incredibly long week. Monday I was off. Tuesday I was out of the office in meetings, followed by a two hour drive home. Now I am buried in data mangling. Because my co-workers are uncomfortable dealing with the data in electronic form, they insist on having paper copies of the data to make changes to. They also tend to not get rid of the old, obsolete and incorrect lists. If something isn't found on the "current" list, they bring out all the previous lists and then things get mixed up. This is going to lead to disaster. My being called on to produce various paper copies of data subsets on a daily basis means I am unable to analyze the data we have or to even get caught up on data entry/cleaning. I have been spending most evenings trying to get ahead of the data though lately the rest of my life isn't cooperating. I end up holding together the universe for everybody else instead. On top of that, I have an investigation report to write on a cluster of photokeratitis cases caused by a damaged sodium halide lamp. I have no idea when I'm going to get that written, but I'd like it to be done by the end of the week.

I haven't had an evening or an afternoon to do whatever I want in weeks. Not even when I had my day off on Monday. Ugh. It won't happen this weekend either. If I don't get this whole bunch of data entry done this weekend, I don't think I'll have a chance to get it done for another week. I have to get it off the plate. Particularly since the next 1500 pages of data will start arriving on Friday.

All I want is an uninterrupted evening to just do whatever I want, without having to do housework or regular work. To be able to take a long hot bath and read a book or watch a movie and knit for a whole evening. That would be nice. It's good to have a goal, right?