Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is It Really That Difficult to Understand?

For the third Tuesday in a row, I have attempted to participate in a web-based course from the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Today I even posted a sign at the entrance to my cube that I was in the class from noon to 2pm in hopes that I wouldn't get interrupted. So at 1:10pm a co-worker sneaks into my cube and starts rifling through the papers on my desk. I asked if I could help her with something. She said she was looking for the papers she had asked me to find for her when I was on my lunch break. I told her that I would be happy to find the information for her when I was through with the class at 2pm. The reply was that she wanted to work on it before the day was over (at 4:30pm) and if she just dug through things now I wouldn't have to do anything with it.

That's great logic except for one thing: The piles of stuff she was sorting through and then wanted to stack up and move to her cube were actually in some semblance of order. Some of the data had been entered in the computer and only needed to be filed. Some of it had problems. Some of it hadn't been entered. You get the picture. I ended up hanging up from the class to prevent things from getting completely mixed up and even then she took a 2 inch stack of paperwork and mixed it in with her paperwork. In any event, I told her we didn't have the paperwork she wanted. Guess what? We still don't have it, plus I missed ten minutes of the class and I have to re-arrange things on my desk again so stuff doesn't get mis-filed.

Why am I so tweaked about the paperwork getting re-arranged? Because I'm dealing with a huge amount of paperwork. I am tracking about 4000 contacts to some TB cases, each with multiple test results. I am not kidding when I say the stack of data I have to enter into the database is 14 inches tall. The stack of data already entered is probably in the area of 34 inches tall. I've suggested that assistance in handling filing would be good, but that doesn't seem to be remembered. So, I spend my days doing data entry and filing paperwork. I have gotten rather attached to my data and I work hard to keep it in order so that it remains useful. Let's face it, 12,000 unsorted pieces of paper aren't particularly useful.

Feasting on Asphalt
One of my favorite TV shows is coming back in a week. What made me think of it today was seeing four well-decked out touring bikes (non-Harleys) heading east on I-40 as I went west. Very similar set of bikes to those ridden by Alton Brown and gang in the show. I imagine it wasn't them, but I'll just pretend anyway.

Blog Buttons
I have added my fiber blog to a couple of fiber blog webrings. These webrings have buttons to add to the side of my blog. I have the button image downloaded. I have added the webring code to the blog. I cannot yet figure out how to add the silly buttons. I know how to upload pictures to the body of my blog, but not to the sidebars. I haven't actually read the directions on how to get this done, mind you. I may yet have to resort to looking it up. *sigh*

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Mangling of the English/American Language

I just watched a commercial for a gold salvage company asking people to send in their "joolery/jewlery". It leads me to believe that this company isn't particularly reputable.

Other words that get mangled: nuclear (nucular), realtor (realitor), suite (suit) and, most recently, phlegm (phleem). I am incapable of intentionally mispronouncing words on a consistent basis, except as part of a joke, as with the word "knight" (pronounced ka-nig-it, per Monty Python). On these routine "problem words", I make a habit of saying them clearly and correctly (per the pronunciation in the dictionary). I get looked at like I'm an alien. I suppose I am, being "not from around here". The next time I'm asked if I think they talk stupid, I will have to reply that I don't think they talk stupid, but that the way they talk certainly contributes to the stereotype that they aren't well educated.

Commonality
I have come to the realization that I have very little in common people in this area or at work. I think this will be the reason why I don't stay here for long. There are tremendous differences in work ethic and values between myself and my co-workers. I don't expect to have things in common with co-workers outside of work, but it would be nice to have things in common with folks in the general public. That just isn't happening here. I wish to improve myself and learn things, both at work and in life. I am accustomed to living in an academic community associated with a university. Yes, there are three colleges in this area, but none are large and none appear to have little impact on the community. There aren't cultural or academic events that I can find or even persons interested in such things. Perhaps if I were in a larger city with more things to do besides shop (and I am not a shopper in either personality or budget), but I am not. The small-mindedness of persons at work and the lack of any actual use of my academic training is still the driving factor to get out of here.

Interesting....
I have a phone line in my house. I don't actually use it. It's for emergency purposes only, though I'm likely to cut it off in the next couple of months. I'll just hope for the best should I need to call 911 with my cell phone. Anyway, there is an answering machine attached to the line. I got a message from an unknown male caller who called me by name and then enquired if he could come over and pee in my bed. He said that was all he wanted, just to pee in my bed. Too bad I haven't got caller ID so I could trace his phone number via the Internet. Well, it took about a year for phone harassment to find me. Some things never change. Yippee.

Pool Update
I now have waaaaay too much chlorine in there, but the total alkalinity is at least increasing even if the total pH is not. In a couple of days the chlorine will get back to a reasonable level. On the other hand a bunch of stuff settled out of the pool today and got vacuumed up. I'll probably vacuum again tomorrow as well as add pH increaser and some bicarb. I don't know if I'm objectively correct, but I feel like I'm making progress toward having the silly thing sorted out. I'll be closing the pool just after Labor Day so I've got just over a month to play.

Web Dev Weekend
I had good intentions about getting some knitting done over the weekend. That just didn't happen, though I did get a serious bit of cleaning done. Yesterday I got sidetracked building a couple of websites. They aren't completely finished yet, but I've got Three Fates Fibers and Desserted Islands launched. Now comes the interminable "tweaking" of the sites. I've got a couple additional sites to build too, including one for my free-lance website development business, Medusa's Workshop.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Observations from Today

The ice cream truck comes to my neighborhood!! COOL! It makes such a happy little noise, even if I didn't buy anything. Of course, I was also way at the back of the backyard, so I wasn't likely to catch the happy ice cream truck anyway. I might have to buy some raspberry sorbet the next time I go grocery shopping.

I found a monarch butterfly caterpillar in my garden today. It must be ready to pupate as it's on my dill plants. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed leaves, so it's not going to be eating my dill plants or anything else in my garden. Usually they stay on the milkweed plant until it's time to find a nice quiet place to pupate. Once the caterpillar has molted into the pupa, it's 9-12 days until the butterfly emerges.

My pool is a very popular spot for some wasp-like insects. They land on it and take drinks. They will also land on you if you're floating in the pool and have water drops on you. This tickles.

It's actually pretty fun swimming back and forth across my pool. I'm not very good at swimming (out of practice), so it's even a bit tiring. I need to talk to Mitch and get him to tell me again about the exercises his physical therapy guy had him doing in the pool. He told me once, but I have completely forgotten.

It's difficult to make cookies when the parts to the mixer are in the dishwasher (which is running). So the cookie baking plans are now delayed, probably until tomorrow since it's already 7:30pm. I guess I'll do some laundry and clean the house instead. Sigh.

This Should Not Be Surprising

Bottled water is, in many cases, nothing more than filtered tap water from the area in which the bottling plant is located. This information has actually been available previously. Anything labeled as "purified drinking water" is quite likely to be nothing more than municipal water, which may or may not have additional filtration. Now, that's not to say that this water may not be more palatable than your local drinking water supply. Extra filtration may remove additional minerals and other contaminants that cause the water to have an unpleasant odor or taste. There are certainly unpleasant tasting local water supplies. Just don't think you're necessarily getting something better than tap water when you buy bottled water. Most of the time when I buy it, it's because I need a portable beverage that isn't full of sugar or caffeine and I don't have to worry about hanging onto the bottle when I'm finished with it. Most of the time I'm drinking from a refilled commercial water bottle or my handy Nalgene bottle.

Are Women Not Interested in "Nice Guys"?
It has been debated in many places that women don't like "nice guys" and only ever date jerks. The nice guys instead get treated like crap (and get dumped). The advice then is that guys should be jerks to women because that's what women want.

Something to think about: There are many women (and men too) who do not have a good idea of what a healthy relationship is. They may have experience with abusive relationships (their own as well as seeing those of their friends and family). Couple this with low-self esteem (which many women also have), and they may believe that they do not "deserve" a Nice Guy. They certainly don't have experience with Nice Guys. They may also not have a selection of Nice Guys in their life to choose from. Furthermore, the Bad Guys tend to be quite charismatic and controlling. Bad Guys are good at convincing women that they'll never find anybody else that will put up with them. They also convince women that whatever is going badly in the relationship is the woman's fault.

Question: If you consider yourself a Nice Guy, but insist on treating women poorly because women only like jerks, are you really a Nice Guy? If you complain about women only hanging around with jerks, how do you expect women to learn that Nice Guys might be a better choice if you teach them that they should be treated badly? All you're doing is shooting yourself in the foot and proving that guys are all jerks. If guys are all jerks, why would we think that Nice Guys even exist?

A common complaint is simply that women say "You're a nice guy, but..." and break up with someone. That's true. They do. The guy may not get whatever substantive explanation he wants. That's life. That doesn't automatically make the woman a jerk. She at least told you she wanted to end things instead of just vanishing or starting to sleep with someone else instead. It's also possible that she really believes that he's a Nice Guy and very likable but that there is something else that makes him incompatible. Nice Guys might, for example, chew with his mouth open, not pick up his laundry, be unable to make a decision or refuse to do anything socially with the woman's friends. The list of ways someone can be Nice and still be incompatible is endless.

Oddly enough Nice Guy and Jerk are never actually defined. Could it be that there is something about the Nice Guy that makes him unattractive?
Nice Guys rarely speak up when something bothers them, and rarely state clearly what it is they want, need and expect. They fear that any kind of conflict might spell the end of the relationship. Instead of comprimising and negotiating, they repeatedly "give in". When she doesn't appreciate their sacrifice, they will complain that, "Everything I did, I did for her.", as if this somehow elevates them to the status of martyrs. A woman doesn't want a martyr. She wants an equal, caring, adult partner. --From Heartless Bitches International
What I find interesting is that the breakups that involve the self-proclaimed Nice Guys are never the guy's fault. It's always the fault of the bitch that he was dating. As in the paragraph above, she is labeled as ungrateful and unappreciative of his Niceness. Could it be that your "nice" behavior isn't perceived as being nice? Could it be that you're insecure and smothering? Could it be that you believe that she's your entire life and you need to know where she is for fear that she might be finding someone "nicer" or more interesting than you? Needy guys might be nice, but there's a lot of stress and pressure put on someone when they're told "you are my life". Great. Now I not only have to manage my life, I have to manage *his* happiness too. So now if he's not happy it's my fault. And he's not happy if I'm not happy, so being unhappy about having to be responsible for his happiness is a bad thing. This, my friends, is a sure-fire guarantee of a soon-to-be failed relationship.

Here's a thought: if all of your relationships end the same way, it might not actually be the fault of the other half. It might be YOU. Frankly, sometimes it's nobody's "fault". Sometimes a person just realizes that he or she cannot be in a long-term committed relationship with the other person. Being in a relationship is a process and you learn about the other person as you go through this process. Sometimes in that process you find that the person you've chosen to be involved with just isn't going to fit in your life. It may be that you can't articulate *why* it's not working, just that it's not working. In the end, does it matter *why* the other person doesn't want to be involved with you? Would you really want to force staying in a relationship with someone that doesn't want you? How happy would that be? It certainly wouldn't be healthy and it speaks volumes about how you aren't really concerned for the other person's happiness if you want to force them to remain where they aren't happy.


Friday, July 27, 2007

HP7 Finished!

Just finished it. I tried really hard to finish it last night, but with 100 pages left, I was so sleepy that I could hardly keep my eyes open. Today I ended up backing up 5 pages because I couldn't remember what was happening before I put it down last night. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good book. It was not the least engaging of the series, but I don't know that it's my favorite either. I'll have to re-read it again in a few months and see what I think after I've mulled it over a bit.

But for now, I'm going to watch The Dirty Dozen and knit on my Mystery Stole. The moon is full, I've had caffeine and there is an entire weekend stretching out before me. It doesn't get much better than that!

Pool Update!

The pool is becoming less green. Earlier in the week, we had changed from a deep emerald green to a paler green more reminiscent of the Chicago River when it's NOT dyed green for St. Patrick's day. Today I vacuumed up the last of the algae off the bottom and threw in another 3 pounds of pH increaser. I need to also add about 10 pounds of baking soda to increase total alkalinity. I am not, however, going to pay $4 a pound for it at the pool store. Not when I can buy it in 1 pound boxes for less than a dollar a box at the grocery store. Heck, I could probably recycle the baking soda from the fridge and freezer into the pool. It doesn't matter if the baking soda in the pool is stinky. I'll check the chemistry in the morning and continue playing mad scientist.

A Plethora of Tomatoes!

I picked eight more tomatoes today. Not quite enough total tomatoes to bother with canning or freezing any, but there are plenty for me to eat two or three tomatoes a day for the next three or four days. I *like* that. I do believe I'll make some freezer pickles (my grandmother's recipe box has several pickle recipes) this weekend and some sauteed zucchini to go with my tomatoes. Yummy! :o)

Coming soon!
Several hundred words about dating, relationships and sex. I got into a discussion in another internet group wherein it was stated that women don't like "nice guys" and that's why nice guys get told "You're really nice, but...." I suggested that women might date "jerks" because they don't think they deserve anything better and/or they don't have any experience with nice guys/good relationships. I was informed that women are jerks and that my opinion is misguided. Mind you, the individual who called me misguided has decided that since his girlfriend has recently begun to behave strangely that she must be about to break up with him. So he's going to break up with her first. Mind you, a few months ago, this woman was the love of his life and he was just elated that they were back together after two years apart. I'm not sure who would be labelled the jerk in the current breakup scenario, but I'm pretty sure he's going to decide it's her and she will have "made" him breakup with her.

This same individual is of the opinion that a woman should not be able to decline having sex with her significant other unless she discusses it with him first and he's ok with that change. Interesting. Last time I checked, a woman was not obligated to have sex with her significant other, even if she was married to him, and it's not subject to debate.

Needless to say, I'm not a particular fan of this individual any longer even though we had been friends previously. Other individuals in this group threw out that relationships are mostly about sex anyway, so you can't just not have sex with your significant other (if you're a female). I have decided that these men are all about 18 years old mentally/emotionally and I'm not particularly surprised that none of them are able to stay in a relationship more than a few months. On the other hand, it has got me working on a lovely essay....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Well, isn't that "nice"....

I had a conference call today. Technically it's a web-based class offered by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) on managing community stress in disaster situations. There is a web component and an audio component. The audio component is reached by dialing into a bridge line and then listening. The class happens to be from noon to 2pm every Tuesday and today was the 2nd of 5 meetings. I am choosing to take this course of my own volition because I think it will help me perform my job should there actually be a natural or technological disaster in the area. One of the things I will have to do in that situation is to write a daily action plan for the region. It would be good if I understood all aspects of managing a disaster so that I can write a reasonable and useful plan. According to the regional health officer, I am also expected to take the lead on environmental contamination issues. I believe that having some understanding of community stress and psychosocial reactions to disasters might help me do a better job.

Today also happened to be the day that all my co-workers decided to turn into juvenile idiots outside my cube at 12:45 or so after the boss left the building. This began with a general gathering, escalated into talking loud enough that I had to cover my open ear with my hand (and during which I heard one person observe that I was on the phone though this had no discernable effect on their loudness) and culminated with someone throwing a ball of paper at me because I apparently wasn't paying them enough attention. And these people wonder why I don't "socialize" at work with them. You've just gotta love professional behavior.

I have noticed a very strong correlation between stupid behavior like this and the boss being out of the office (either for lunch or an extended period of time). I guess my co-workers are not mature enough to actually have a work ethic and cannot be expected to do their jobs unless someone is likely to catch them not working. I had hoped that adults would be able to have some self-discipline and do the job that needs to be done without having to have someone stand over them, but I see this is not the case, at least not in my office. Today caused me to decide to actively seek a job somewhere else ASAP. I see no particular purpose for this sort of behavior and I find it completely inappropriate in a work environment.

To finish off a "lovely" day, it happened to rain just before work ended. I had left my windows and sunroof open a bit (more on that later). I went outside to close them and came back indoors to finish whatever I had been working on. I happened to get rained on. When I came back inside I was, in fact, laughed at and told that I looked terrible by co-worker and boss. Gee thanks. Apparently they had something to tell me, but my horrible appearance caused them to completely forget it. I am indeed surrounded by rude people who are, of course, themselves completely perfect and certainly superior to fat, unfashionable idiots like myself.

Which merely makes me even more resolved to get out. When I took this job I had no idea that the environment was at the grade school to high school level of maturity. I can see why they can't keep someone in my position. Perhaps the next person they hire will be sufficiently immature to fit in with them. I'm certainly not and I'm not going to start now.

Next week I will post a sign at the door to my cube indicating that I am, in fact, on a conference call for a class I'm taking which is relevant to my job. It will state that if someone wants my attention, that I would appreciate it if they could wait until 2pm when the class is over. I will try to not add that I would appreciate it if people didn't throw things at me for their amusement. I only wish I could make it a "screamer" like in the Harry Potter books. It's probably better that I can't.

That Settles It!
I have no idea what happened, but all the green crud settled to the bottom of the pool today. I vacuumed a bunch of it up, which also stirred some of it up and made the pool murky again. Do you like the bright blue clean swath I made across the top? I threw in more shock and I'll let the filter run until bedtime. Perhaps it'll settle again by the end of tomorrow and I can finish vacuuming things up.

I can tell you that there are no fish, mermaids or other creatures lurking in the pool. Last week I wasn't so certain.

Here's a Half-Win...
I have had the air conditioning at home shut off since last Friday. The humidity has been low and the high temps have only been in the 80s. At night it's actually been a bit chilly. So this morning, the local weather guy on the radio says that there's a 20% chance of rain in the afternoon. I make a point of shutting the windows in the house and turning on the A/C. I get to work, park my car and leave the windows and sunroof cracked for ventilation. At 4:25, WITH THE SUN SHINING, it starts to rain. Sigh.

It wasn't as bad as it could have been. My only concern is where water that got in the sunroof could have gone. I don't want extra moisture inside the roof of my car. That just strikes me as a bad thing. The back seat wasn't very wet at all. I figure it'll be dry by tomorrow morning. And it didn't rain into the house, so that's all kinds of good.

Speaking of water in the car....
Remember that leaky trunk issue? The one where the dealer said that they couldn't get it to leak for them, but the trunk was wet when I picked up the car? And I said that the water was coming in from around the shock mount? I caulked the top of the shock mount. Guess what? The trunk doesn't leak now. HAH! Ideally, I should take off the wheel and caulk around the shock mount on the wheelwell side too, but I haven't got the equipment get under there and since the leak is now under control I can't really justify buying a floor jack anyway. :o)

Harry Potter Book Progress
Here's what's happening at the moment: Harry, Hermione and Ron are doing stuff and that one bad guy whose name you can't say is doing bad stuff and trying to find them. I think I'm a third of the way through the book now and starting to get into it. I had a hard time putting it down at the end of lunch.

"Rants" coming soon....
I have been percolating several essays in my pointy little brain. I need to get to bed now, but I'll start sharing them later this week.

Monday, July 23, 2007

GRRRRRRR!

Well, this morning I got to hear a reviewer on NPR going through the plot of the new Harry Potter book step by step. No warning that they were going to start giving things away. Grrrrrrrr. Fortunately I had read enough of it to not have anything spoiled before I turned off the radio, but it was close. I know I'd have been ticked off if I hadn't read it and heard what was going to be happening. I suspect there will be more than a few irritated listeners who will write them about it.

Today's Garden Loot

For dinner I ate most of the cherry tomatoes, plus an ear of sweet corn and a peanut butter samich. I'll have the rest of the tomatoes for lunch this week (minus one or two for Marsha at work). I'll probably make stuffed peppers this weekend.

Tomato Guy
I couldn't help myself. I had to do it.



Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Wind Up

I've been quite the little water chemist today. I've tested the pool water no less than three times. I'm having issues with pH. I can't get it above 6.8, despite the addition of close to ten pounds of soda ash this weekend. Because the pH is too low, the effectiveness of the chlorine treatments and other attempts to kill the algal bloom is dramatically reduced. I'll keep working on getting the pH up to the 7.2-7.8 range this week, then work on the chlorine levels and algal killing. Supposedly the algacide I bought will work just as well when the pH is out of balance, but that doesn't appear to be quite true. Or else the algae I have are just far too studly to be killed by some measly half gallon of algacide. I suppose I should be happy I'm not having my own Red Tide. Oddly enough, I'm starting to like the green color....

HP7 Progress
NOT! I just can't get into it at the moment. I think the piling up of everything else on my plate lately has just not left any energy or motivation for reading. The last time a Harry Potter book came out I read the whole thing in two days because I couldn't put it down. Now I can't really be bothered to pick it up. That's a sure sign that things are out of balance, methinks. Time to follow my own advice about spending time just for me every day and regain my balance. Too many things are pulling me in too many directions right now.

I did NOT put my toes in the dryer....

I was having a phone conversation with Mitch today and I attempted to tell him that I have observed quite a few toads out in the yard lately. He thought I said "I have toes." Needless to say he was a bit confused as to why I a) hadn't found my toes until now and b) felt the need to tell him that I had some. I tried to explain that toads are like frogs but drier. The confusion continued as he thought I had put the toads in the dryer and proceeded to ask why on earth I would do that. Then my toes were in the dryer, which was really confusing since the dryer won't run if the door is ajar. And my toes were amphibious at one point. By the time we got it all figured out, we were laughing hysterically. I don't even want to know if my toes were going to need ironing.

I suspect that "I've got to go take the toads/toes out of the dryer" will become something of a catch-phrase. Just as "but I could fall out" (said in your best 3 year old voice of authority) has become. I'll explain that one later.

The Toad
This, by the way. is the toad to which I was referring, along with two others that look an awful lot like it. This one lives under the deck. I've been filling the pot saucer with water for him/her. Today it hung out in the "pool" and even sat on the edge for a while. I saw no evidence of umbrella drinks or cabana boys, but there's no telling what sort of mischief s/he will get up to while I'm at work tomorrow.

The other two toads live in the front flower bed and down by the people swimming pool with other larger toads.

And Now To Bed
with some Tylenol, a Diet Pepsi and the Harry Potter book. I can only hope that my headache dissipates and that I don't burp through my nose in my sleep.

Random Ramblings

I'm sure this could be adapted somehow to be applied to the workplace or the school environment. It seems that queen bees emit a pheromone that inhibits aversive learning in their offspring, the workers. The result is that the workers tend to stay in the hive and not use their stingers even if something unpleasant occurs. So there aren't any worker bee riots and strikes when their hours are extended and their pay is cut (or held steady despite increases in the cost of living). I have not yet seen any reports of lawyers or the ACLU filing suit on behalf of the workers, but it may just be a matter of time. It could certainly be used to dupe people into signing petitions in support of worker rights and putting the Queens on trial, just as there have been petitions to ban dihidrogen monoxide, commonly known as water. I'm sure I've seen this sort of pheromone thing used in science fiction plots though I can't remember any specific titles.

Peter Sellers

I happened across Only Two Can Play this morning while having breakfast. It also stars Richard Attenborough, whom I did not recognize. Mr. Sellers is still one of my favorite actors. In this particular film he plays a married Welsh librarian who takes a fancy to a beautiful married woman and bumbles through trying to consummate the relationship. His wife is possibly attempting an affair with Mr. Attenborough, who plays a writer. As happens in many of Mr. Sellers' movies, various random little things go just wrong enough that he can't quite accomplish his goal. Oddly enough he still keeps his cheerful demeanor. It's been quite an enjoyable diversion this morning. He's my favorite hopeless bumbler character. He never seems to actually notice or at least to never mind that he almost always fails. When he does succeed he seems to be generally surprised/confused by his success.

The Fattening of America
A study from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health indicates that by 2015 74% of Americans will be overweight. 40% of American will be in the obese category. There seems to be all sorts of confusion about why this is happening. Could it be related to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle we lead? There are hundreds of TV channels and televisions in every room at most households. We have sedentary jobs and rarely get out of our chairs, unless it's to go sit in a different chair. At home we sit at the TV or the computer most of the evening. Rewards for accomplishments are often food-based. "Oh, it's a special occasion, let's have an appetizer *and* dessert." This might be ok if you make allowances for that caloric splurge in the rest of your week, but most people don't do that. Where people get into trouble is thinking "since I was 'bad' yesterday, it's too late to fix it so I'll eat whatever I want the rest of the week and be 'good' next week." And when that happens week after week, the waistline grows. What if you rewarded yourself by going out to a movie instead (minus the buttered popcorn) or bought yourself something as a reward. Take that dinner money and buy yourself some clothes, shoes, flowers, a massage, a pedicure/manicure, books, or lessons in something you want to do. Or save the money for a big(ger) vacation or bigger purchase.

Schools are eliminating physical education programs and nobody can figure out why our children are inactive. Don't you think that even 30 minutes a day or physical activity might make a difference? The school lunch program isn't helping either. With a completely sedentary day, does it make sense to feed kids cheeseburgers/fries, pizza, fried chicken and other high fat/high calorie foods? I realize that the school lunch programs are facing budgetary restrictions, but is it worth trading your kids' health for a few bucks? Atherosclerotic plaque deposits have been shown in grade school-aged kids. If you already have a family history of heart disease, why compound the problem with a high fat, high salt diet and no exercise? No wonder we're all getting fatter and sicker.

Some schools are starting to measure and record the BMIs (body mass index measurements) of their students and sending that information home with the student. I have seen reports where the parents get all up in arms because the BMI indicates the child is overweight. This apparently is expected to make the child feel bad, so should be banned. I've been an overweight child. Let me tell you, kids who are fat already know it. THeir peers are more than willing to point out the obvious. What the kids need is assistance in changing their lifestyle so that they can avoid becoming fatter. Most kids don't have the knowledge and skills to do that on their own and the media images they see (commercials, movies, TV shows) don't show them healthy options.

People complain about being too tired to exercise. You're too tired to want to go to work too, but you do that don't you? The funny thing is that after about a month of regular exercise most persons say that exercise actually boosts energy levels. It certainly boosts endorphin levels and metabolic rates. Reducing weight also can help with energy levels by reducing the cardiac load and by reducing the load that you haul around. Think about how heavy a 30 pound toddler is. Now think about that thirty pounds on your body. Think how good it would feel to "drop the toddler" from your body.

Here's an idea. Set aside 30 minutes a day just for YOU. Don't you deserve thirty minutes out of 24 hours? Go for a walk. Do some yoga. Stretch your muscles. Ride your bike. Lift weights. Get off the couch, out of the chair, out of bed and MOVE. If you haven't exercised in a long time (or ever), start slow. Walk around the block and call it done. You don't have to exercise until you're completely exhausted and/or soaked with sweat to gain benefits. The weight didn't go on in a few weeks and it won't come off in a few weeks. The fitness benefits won't happen overnight either. Give it a month. Thirty days. Keep track of what you do, how you feel and what you eat. See how it goes. Then compare what you wrote on day 1 with what you feel like on day 30. I bet you feel better.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

HP7 Day has Arrived!

I debated staying up to midnight last night to get the book, but decided about 4pm that would be silly. Picked it up this morning during my Saturday errand trip. I even sat down with it for about 30 minutes (as a break before getting back to the household chores), but only got about 15 minutes worth of reading in. Spent the rest of the afternoon working on the house and yard. I had meant to get back to the book, but got sidetracked. On the other hand, I did get the kitchen completely cleaned up (including cleaning off the kitchen table) and I found the slicing/grating disk for the food processor. Now i just need to start shredding zucchini and slicing cukes. W00t!

Why I always have too much going on at once:
I dislike giving up on things and on shutting the door on opportunities and possibilities. This is a problem. Instead of focusing on a few things and doing them well, I feel the need to do everything. You see, I might pick to focus on the wrong thing while other people get to do the "fun" stuff. I'm like one of the hyperactive dogs on The Dog Whisperer. I need rules, boundaries and limitations. The trick is to pick the right ones. I *hate* being the Alpha. Well, actually, no I don't. I hate not knowing if my Alpha decisions are right or not, but as Rush says ever so eloquently, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." Given that trying to do everything at least a little bit is presently not working for me, methinks it's time to start narrowing things down and thinking critically about what I do with my time and energies and why I do it. The Buddhist in me is clamoring to quit with the clinging and get on with the letting go.

Why is it....
that I am never as exhausted and ready for bed as on the nights that I have washed the sheets and NOT re-made the bed? And why do I never remember to make the bed right away when the sheets come out of the dryer, but let it go and then forget all about it until I do want to go to bed? You'd think a smart person like me would learn from this, given that I do it almost weekly. :o)

Oh, did I mention...
that a co-worker I rarely work with called me highly intelligent at work yesterday when he introduced me to someone? And he specifically said he meant that as a compliment. Tommy's a good guy. He's got one of my favorite personalities--highly competent, sneakily obnoxious and absolutely dependable to those he chooses. I'd trust him to watch my back and I can count on him to be absolutely honest about critiquing things and to be devious in attempting to test the system.

HP7 Update (and no, I am NOT reading Hewlett-Packard Manual)
It is now 9:30pm and I have NOT read more than 15 minutes of my book. Oddly enough, I'm ok with that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thoughts for Today.....

If you tell your 19 year old daughter that you don't care what she does since she's now 19 and out of school, does it seem a bit contradictory to then get upset because she's out until 4am even on a work night? Granted, the daughter still lives with her mother, but it struck me as odd that the mom stated in one sentence that she didn't care what her daughter did but that she was very upset that daughter was out all night. What makes this even more interesting is that the mom stayed out until midnight or later several nights running a couple weeks ago. If you model behavior that you don't think is appropriate and you tell a person they can do whatever they want, why would you expect them to follow some other set of behaviors?

On the Environment....
With the recent LiveEarth concerts, there has been much discussion of the concept of "carbon-neutral activities" and "carbon offsets". I'm not sure I'm a big fan of buying compensation for an environmental insult. For starters it doesn't actually reduce power demands at all, so there isn't really any behavior change being learned. Instead, the contribution to greenhouse gases or carbon production is supposed to be balanced by another activity. The trick is that the other activity isn't actually practiced by the person or organization directly. Typically what happens is that the person or organization PAYS someone/something to handle it. To my knowledge there isn't any oversight of these things. Just how much compensation is necessary to offset the LiveEarth concerts in their entirety? Just how much compensating was accomplished and how was it accomplished? If corporations will play fast and loose with their accounting practices in contravention of various laws, what will they do about carbon offset accounting when the offsets aren't monitored at all?

It reminds me a lot of the emissions trading that goes on. Powerplant A might not emit as much pollution as they are allowed to emit, so they sell the extra capacity to Powerplant B and then Powerplant B doesn't have to actually upgrade its equipment to reduce the overall pollution production because it's now in compliance with the total amount of pollution emissions that are allotted to it. End result? No actual improvement in Powerplant B and no incentive for B to actually change things.

I realize this makes me sound like an anti-environment curmudgeon, but I'm really not. I'm just skeptical of buying your way out of doing whatever you want to do instead of actually changing power consumption, especially since buying the compensation isn't necessarily increasing the total amount of carbon compensation.

On Not Being Green....
There does not appear to be any recycling available in my neck of the woods. There is no office paper recycling at work. There is no site to drop off metal, glass, paper or plastics for recycling that I can find. I guess I got spoiled by curbside recycling pickup. Heck, you can actually throw landscape waste in the trash here. I haven't seen that option available for at least ten years. I guess there is unlimited landfill space here. Certainly nobody seems to be terribly concerned about their actions with respect to the environment. In fact, people are largely confused when I ask about recycling, talk about organic gardening or express concern for the environment. I wonder if people are at all curious about the heavy metal emission levels from the local steel mill. I can tell you that it's one of the larger polluters in the region, but I bet nobody else knows that outside of the steel mill.

On Becoming UnGreen
The pool is still lime colored. I tested the water. There is no detectable chlorine in it, despite having been shocked repeatedly this week. The pH was also very low. I added pH increaser this evening and will run the filter overnight. Tomorrow I'll have to get more shock chemicals. Vacuuming the pool doesn't seem to actually be accomplishing anything except pumping water out of the pool, which must then be replaced. Sigh....

How Does Your Garden Grow?
Speaking of green/ungreen things, I still haven't quite figured out getting my compost pile to compost. It's still just a pile of leaves and grass and food scraps. I might tear up the whole thing and move it to a new location in case that's the problem. I'll also be tearing up part of the garden this weekend. The lettuce section has gone to seed and the Nasturtiums appear to be about finished too. I'm surprised about the Nasturtiums. I expected them to keep growing and blooming until the first frost, but the plants are actually pretty stunted and starting to shrivel. I don't know if they can't take the heat, don't like the soil, need more fertilizer or didn't get watered enough.

The zucchini are slowing down their production a bit. I need to pick some dill, cilantro and basil. Especially basil. The plants are going great guns. I will make and freeze some pesto and also freeze the leaves themselves. The processing of the cucumbers and zucchini will happen in the morning. I'm running out of counter space for cylindrical green things. I just wish I could find the slicing/shredding disk for my food processor. It's not a big food processor, but it's a whole lot better than having to slice/shred everything by hand....

Did I mention that I have tomatoes now? I do. I've eaten six of them this week, plus a dozen or two cherry tomatoes. Yummy!!! Just in case you're wondering, I have not yet begun to turn red or orange, but it's not for lack of trying. :o)

Harry Potter Weekend
As the entire world knows, the final Harry Potter book comes out at midnight. I briefly debated staying up until midnight to go buy it, but then I'd be forced to stay up the rest of the night reading. So I'll go get it in the morning. I expect to finish it by Tuesday. I could probably finish it earlier, but I have other things I have to do this weekend. Sometimes it sucks to be the grown-up. In the meantime, I have to try and avoid spoilers. I'd rather find out what happens in the book by reading it myself than by having someone else tell me.

Making Progress...
I'm participating in the Mystery Stole 3 Knitalong. The pattern is being given out in pieces over several weeks. The fourth installment came out today. I'm still working on the first clue from a MONTH ago. Anyway, I have learned a lot from this project but none of it has to do with knitting. It has to do with taking large projects and breaking them down into manageable pieces so that progress can be observed. Observable progress seems to be linked to greater motivation to keep working and thus the project gets finished. It occurs to me that I need to break down the larger projects in my life into smaller pieces, write down intermediate goals and have measurable progress toward those goals and the end goal. Looks like I'll be making myself some progress charts this weekend and figuring out what I want to get accomplished first. The hard part might be restricting the number of "projects" to something realistic and reasonable.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hmmmmm.....

I had several great ideas for today's post while driving home from work. I do not write them down. I get home. I mow the lawn. I get back inside to blog. Do you think I can remember any of the things I was thinking about? Nope. Sigh.

On being an independent female
I'm an independent woman. I do not expect, nor require others to do things for me. I like not having to rely on others to live my life how I want to live it. That doesn't mean that I don't ask for assistance or hire assistance when I need it. I simply do not assume that I cannot do something, even if I've never done it before. I absolutely do not assume I cannot do something simply because I'm female. I also don't assume that someone else will do things for me just because I'm female. I may be female, but that doesn't make me a frail, fragile flower.

With that said, you can lead your life however you like (you don't have to be independent just because I am). Just don't look down on me for being independent. In addition, if you constantly tell me that you wish you could do the things that I can do and insist on putting yourself down as being stupid or something else negative, I have just one thing to say to you: if you don't like how you do things now, you *can* change them if you decide to do that. Use me as a role model if you like, but please stop bemoaning that you couldn't possibly do something like that. Because you *can*, if you would just do it.

The downside to being dependent
You must rely on others to take care of you. To "rely on the kindness of strangers", as it were. This is fine if you are only ever surrounded by people who will actually do that. Thinking about this a bit more, this very mentality may actually explain why nobody in this neck of the woods seems to ever live more than 5 miles from where they grew up (and if they did move more than 20 miles from their parent's house, it was only for educational purposes and they moved back as soon as they finished school). If you really do want to live in the same place all your live, GO FOR IT. If, however, you really want(ed) to live somewhere else, you should do that. Believe it or not, your relatives will not dry up and die if you move somewhere else. Perhaps it's a bizarre notion, but wouldn't your family want you to become the best person you can be and to be happy, even if that meant moving somewhere else? Would your family really actually want you to be miserable just so you could be nearby? Wouldn't that breed resentment instead of a positive relationship?

One of the things I do in my spare time is teach women's and kids' self-defense courses. I believe that women and kids shouldn't have to depend upon other people to take care of themselves. If you wish to depend upon your husband, boyfriend, brother, father, the police, etc to rescue you if something bad happens, you may do that. However, may I ask how often you are in a situation where these individuals aren't with you? Do you never go to the grocery store alone? Are you never at home alone? How about in the car? Certainly you could call the police or your spouse/father/brother, etc. but how long will it take for them to come to your aid? How long will it take the police or sheriff to arrive after you call 911? A lot can happen in just 1-3 minutes. Wouldn't you like to be able to defend yourself in that situation?

The answer in my current location seems to be "no". Either the women here think that criminal activity will never happen to them or that someone will save them. I have no idea just what sort of women they think become victims, but if I were to guess I'd say it's probably the minority, low-income group. Unfortunately the statistics just don't back that up.

A song I'll have to buy off iTunes....
Ticks by Brad Paisley

Every time you take a sip
In this smoky atmosphere
You press that bottle to your lips
And I wish I was your beer
In the small there of your back
Your jeans are playing peekaboo
I'd like to see the other half of your butterfly tattoo.

Hey that gives me an idea
Let's get out of this bar
Drive out into the country
And find a place to park.

'Cause I'd like to see you out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I'd like to check you for ticks.

I know the perfect little path
Out in these woods I used to hunt
Don't worry babe I've got your back
And I've also got your front
Now, I'd hate to waste a night like this
I'll keep you safe you wait and see
The only thing allowed to crawl all over you when we get there is me.

You know every guy in here tonight
Would like to take you home
But I've got way more class than them
Babe that ain't what I want.

'Cause I'd like to see you out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I'd like to check you for ticks.

You never know where one might be
There's lots of places that are hard to reach
I gotcha.

I'd like to see you out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you baby way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I'd like to check you for ticks.

I'd sure like to check you for ticks...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Philosophical Question.....

If you have to post the following disclaimer:
"The following CBN program does not reflect the views or opinions of the ABC Family Network", why put the stupid show on your network? Is ABC Family that hard up for programming and/or advertising money? If it were my company, I don't know that I'd use programming that necessitated a disclaimer. Particularly since said disclaimer is probably only issued at the beginning of the programming in question, leaving the people who tune in late to assume that ABC Family agrees with anything/everything said during The 700 Club since they don't hear/see anything to the contrary.

It makes no sense to me which is probably why I am not the president of ABC Family or any other company. Well, I'm not the president of any for-profit company. (I actually am the president of a non-profit organization.) And, now that I think about it, I'm trying to be the president of several small businesses. So, if you'd be so kind as to let me come in again..... I guess thinking like that is why I'm not the president of any major corporation. :o)

Creature from the Green Lagoon

Well, no creature, unless you count the miscellaneous dead bugs floating in the pool. But the Green Lagoon is definitely there. However, I've now dumped almost a quart of algacide into the Green Lagoon, so with any luck, it might actually be more like a swimming pool by tomorrow evening. I'll let the filter circulate the chemicals through the system tonight, then vacuum things tomorrow.

I'd love to just hang out in the pool tomorrow night, but I should mow the lawn again instead. Apparently there was sufficient rain last week to cause the grass to go into growth overdrive. I even need to get out the weed whacker again. While I'm at it, I ought to lube the mower parts. It's already had its 25 hour oil change, but it's due for a good grease job.

As for tonight, I have just paid my bills and I'm going to sit here and knit. I would like to finish the first clue of the Mystery Stole before the end of the week, when Clue #4 comes out. I've got just enough brain left this evening to be able to handle that. I need to get to bed early too. I've been really tired lately.

An Annoyance
I found out that someone else has an Etsy shop using a business name I came up with about five years ago. Fortunately I have had the domain registered for some time so I can at least sell things through the website once I'm ready to do that. On the other hand, this annoyance is driving me to get things put together and start doing business. We'll see how long that lasts. :o)

More Job Plans
It occurred to me today, as I listened to a CDC webcast presentation, that I should apply for the Epidemic Intelligence Service. I had been incorrectly advised years ago that EIS positions were only rarely given to people without clinical degrees. I have since been informed that this is indeed not the case and have been encouraged to apply. The deadline isn't until September of this year so I have plenty of time to get the paperwork assembled and get letters of reference sent in. Best case scenario, I could start a new job next summer. Many positions are in Atlanta, but EIS officers are also placed with state health departments around the country.

Getting Things Done
Still working on catching up on household chores. Today I cleaned up the kitchen a bit, did the dishes, paid the bills and will fold the laundry. I need to clean off my desks, clean off the kitchen table and shred some paperwork.

One of the things I discovered while I was gone was some goofy black balls of stuff by one of my house plants. At first I thought it was dirt or mold. Then I noticed the leaves were all chewed up. I put the plant outside and discovered a CATERPILLAR! Turns out the black balls of stuff are caterpillar poop. Who knew?!

Food Idea for the Weekend:
Frogmore Stew. It's actually a veggie boil with Old Bay Seasoning. All I need is to pick up some corn and Old Bay Seasoning and I'm good to go!

Quote of the Day:
"If it's not stuck and it should be, use duct tape. If it is stuck and it shouldn't be, use WD-40." That pretty much just sums it all up, doesn't it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm baaaack (Again)!

The trip was good. The conference was long and stressful as usual, but it wasn't as unpleasant socially as the previous ones have been. I also picked up another website and listserv admin gig. This one will actually get me my hotel bill paid at future conferences and next year is at DISNEY WORLD! W00t!



Of course, the best part of the whole week was that I got to hang out with my best friend Mitch! Outside of the conference, we had breakfast at Petunia's, had beignets at Cafe du Monde, spent a day at the National WWII Museum, stopped by the Magazine Street Fire Station, and drove around the Garden District and the upper 9th Ward. I wanted to get to the lower 9th Ward and Jefferson Parish to see how the recovery process is going there, but we ran out of time and daylight. The last time I was in New Orleans, I saw those areas from the back of a deuce and a half truck while working as an EMS volunteer.

While we drove around in the Garden District, we stopped by the Garden District Needlework Shop so I could go yarn shopping. Details can be found on my knitting blog.

It was weird to see both automobile and pedestrian traffic for the first few days. It was also a bit weird to have to follow the traffic signs. On the other hand, there was no longer a curfew after dark and I didn't worry once about being shot as a looter by the military or security contractors. Then again, there wasn't really an obvious military/security presence like there was in 2005.

We did see and do a lot of things, but we didn't get to everything on the "Things To Do" list. We didn't have a muffaletta at Central Grocery. We didn't hang out at Preservation Hall. We didn't ride the St. Charles St. streetcar. We didn't get over to Algiers to see where I spent my first week of rescue work after Katrina (the firefighter/EMS camp was at Our Lady of Holy Cross College). But overall, things went very well. I even managed to balance my food intake with my activity level, so I did NOT gain huge amounts of weight like I did in Sept 2005. Of course, I also wasn't being fed by a wildland firefighter catering company either, so breakfast wasn't 1200 calories. :o)

Here are some photos....

In 2005, the USS Iwo Jima and a Carnival cruise ship were moored behind the Convention Center. The Iwo Jima served as a hospital ship while the cruise ship was housing for city and rescue workers. It was strange to see nothing there this time.

We had breakfast one morning at this restaurant (whose name escapes me). We just wandered around the French Quarter until I found something promising and not crowded. At first we were going to have breakfast at Petunia's a second time, but the line was too long and we were too hungry (and crabby) to wait.


Now, after all those nice things, I do have a few rants.....

What is it with expensive hotels?!

Why is it that I can get a hotel room for $50/night and get a complimentary breakfast, free exercise facilities and a free internet connection, yet if I spend a *conference* rate of $120/night I have to pay for all meals and get charged $12/day for working out and $10/day for Internet access? You'd think that a "nicer" hotel would actually include a few of those things in the price. I guess they assume nobody will be staying there on their own dime, but will instead be charging everything to their travel expenses. I don't know who these travelers are, but the state hotel rate won't cover that stuff. Obviously I need to be working in the private sector or at least have a big federal job instead of a little state job.

*WHO* dyed my swimming pool the same color as the Chicago River?!?
I *swear* I didn't have green algae in the pool before I left. I even filled up the floating chlorine dispenser and properly shocked the pool before leaving too. I returned to a pool the color of lime jello or lime gatorade. Running the filter almost constantly and treating *twice* with shock has made no difference. So tomorrow I'll go pick up some algacide at the pool store. I am concluding that having a pool is about as labor- and money-intensive as having a child.

Ok, I'll stop the rants there....

More garden-y Goodness
I now have tomatoes!!! I have eaten tomatoes for lunch the past two days. YUMMY! I also took tomatoes in to Marsha at work. She had requested tomatoes from me two months ago when she found out that I was planting a garden and I was happy to oblige her. I figure I'll leave a couple of tomatoes a week on her desk until the plants give out.


I also came back to find more Zucchinis that Ate Detroit. I don't think I'd ever seen a 18" x 4" squash before.... I also picked another eight more normal-sized squash. I'll take some of them in to work tomorrow. I still have eight to ten of them from *before* I went on my trip. I have GOT to get some of these things grated and frozen. I also need to make some zucchini bread and some brownies. I haven't baked anything in a while.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Packed!

Finally, I got everything put in the suitcase. Well, except for the bathroom stuff. Which might be a bit of a squeeze to fit in there. But I have eight days worth of clothes, including workout gear. (The hotel apparently has a fabulous fitness center including volleyball, basketball and racquetball courts.) The laptop backpack will hold the laptop, naturally, plus the books, writing pad, knitting and electronic bits and pieces. If it weren't for the bag of snacks for the drive, I'd have just two bags for the week. I hate having more than two bags. Heck, I hate not being able to just use a duffel bag for my clothes.

Time for bed! I've got to get up early to have breakfast, do the dishes and get out the door before 7am.

I am a BUM!

I have yet to work on my presentation for the conference next week. I also haven't gotten around to finding out when the presentations are (there will be two of them) or even when the meeting for the presenters will be. Oopsie. Then again, I still need to finish packing.

On the other hand, I did caulk the leak in my car, vacuum said car, clean the pool and clean/dry/fold/put away the pool cover, clean the kitchen, vacuum the house and do some laundry. I'll pop out of my chair here in about 10 minutes and get to the packing. By about 9pm I should be done with the initial selection of everything. Then I'll put about half of it back in the closet/drawer/shelf and put what's left in the suitcase.

Ok, time's up. Gotta go pack!

Pack Rat!

Packing at least. I'm headed out in the morning for a week in New Orleans. I took the day off since I figured I'd be just about useless at work given the news about DZD's death. I was right too. I'm way more distractable and unable to focus than usual. I had to sit down and write a list of things to do, then start checking them off to actually get anything accomplished. I spent the first part of the day skipping around between things but not finishing anything. My coffee is still sitting in the microwave after being reheated twice and forgotten both times. I am able to focus with the list as a reminder though so I should be able to get packed and not forget anything too important.

New Orleans

I'll be at the annual RAD conference for the first part of the week, then will have Friday and Saturday to do whatever we want with my best buddy Mitch. I'll be staying in the Central Business District, so the French Quarter will be within walking distance. Of course, I'll have to eat beignets at Cafe du Monde at least twice, perhaps during my morning constitutional! Right next door is a shop that sells pralines. Yum! And of course, one must have a muffuletta at The Central Grocery. Beyond that, I want to visit the two fire stations I was at during the week after Hurricane Katrina: Decatur Street (in the French Quarter) and Magazine Street (Garden District). I imagine things will look quite different now. Canal Street won't be full of news trucks. The vast majority of vehicles won't be military trucks and there won't be snipers hanging out at the fire station.

I listen to the Walks of a Lifetime podcast and have gotten some ideas from the episode on New Orleans. I must remember to take my camera and battery charger too.

Speaking of DZD

It looks like the visitation and funeral will be next weekend. Logistically, I don't see how I can get there. I think she'd understand.

The part about this whole deal that bothers me isn't so much that she's gone. I'm ok with that. These things happen. The part that bothers me is that I was just about to send her e-mail and see what she was up to. Even though I usually didn't get a response, I tried to send mail every month or two to say hi and sometimes give an update on what I had been doing. I know she read this blog occasionally too.

I have two small skeins of yarn that DZD bought me in Edinburgh, Scotland when she was at a conference one year. All shades of purple from palest lavender to grape were DZD's favorite color. She also wore a lot of shawls, stoles and wraps. For quite some time I have been intending to knit her a shawl in a pale shade of purple. In fact, that intention is why I started the Kiri Shawl so I could practice lace shawl knitting. I never did completely settle on a pattern or yarn, but had been compiling ideas. I may have to get a decision made and get started.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Today was definitely a Monday

Though it was technically Thursday, since yesterday was a holiday today felt just like a Monday. So, in keeping with the MOnday feeling, I managed to spill sauce out of the takeaway container from the Mexican restaurant. This wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't gotten all over my pants. Khaki pants. Later in the afternoon I dropped a gel pen in my lap and added a blue line to the quesadilla sauce stains. And the kicker for the day? I found out that one of my best friends died suddenly yesterday.

Blah.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'm logical, I can't help it!

However, it has a downside... life rarely is logical and humans even less so.

I have been told at work that the regular, everyday epidemiology work is beneath my skills and abilities. This is interesting, given that I thought I was hired to actually do epidemiology work. Apparently non-epi-trained staff are to do the infectious disease investigations.

This leaves me to do data entry. Data entry that a half-trained monkey could do successfully. How is this NOT a misuse of my skills and abilities? This is even less brain-involved than routine epi investigations. No offense to anybody who does data entry jobs, but I did not go to graduate school for eight years to get my PhD so that I could do nothing but data entry. I went to graduate school so that I could do epi investigations. Investigations which I am unlikely to ever be allowed to do at my current job the way things are currently structured.

I'm trying really hard to not have a bad attitude at work, but I know I don't win that battle some days. I'm trying to not resent my co-workers who do get to do epi work. I socialize less and less at work because I know my attitude is going south. Grrrrrr.

So, I'll kick my problem-solving skills into high gear and redouble my efforts at finding new employment. I hear Delaware is seeking a new state epidemiologist (though I'm not quite qualified for that one...yet).

Dinner tonight from my garden:
Mixed green salad with radishes and cucumbers and fried green tomatoes. I "cheated" and had watermelon from the grocery store. I've never been very lucky at growing melons.

Pickle! Pickle! Pickle!
I picked up a case of pint jars at a discount store today. I've decided to go ahead and try making pickles. For $6.50, even if I goof everything up, I'll still have entertained myself for an afternoon. And I might even get some nice pickles out of the deal.

Stupid Computer
Well, probably stupid user, but I'd rather blame the computer. :o) I tried to sort the bookmarks in the "knitting" folder by alphabetical order. Instead, I sorted all the bookmarks (folders and loose bookmarks) in alphabetical order. Bookmarks *within* folders are still unsorted. So now I get to re-organize things again. Sigh....

Monday, July 02, 2007

Veggie Pr0n!

I have zucchini. I *swear* that I picked zucchini on Saturday and the big ones weren't there. It rained all day on Sunday, so I didn't get to the garden. Today, I go out there and what do I find? Not one, but TWO zucchini large enough to eat Cleveland. In case you think that this isn't really very many zucchini, please keep in mind that I have this many of them already in the fridge.... Tomorrow I'll slice or grate and freeze a bunch of them. I also had a thought today that I could make zucchini-potato pancakes. I bet they'd taste pretty good.

Soon there will be Tomatoes!!
No doubt they will ripen completely while I'm out of town. There is just a blush of pink developing on some of them. The plants are very heavy with fruit. I can hardly wait until it's time for tomato sammiches. I fully intend to eat myself silly with tomatoes this summer. If I can't keep up with them, I may have to can some of them for this winter.

Pool Pool Pool!
Well, I've got the chlorine up to the right level. Still need to get the pH up a bit. I scooped up the leaves off the bottom of the pool today, then got the pool vacuum out. The water is kinda murky and has a greenish tinge to it. This isn't good. I added another package of shock and left the filter running. I'll add some pH increaser tomorrow and some clarifier too. I really want to get things in good shape this week since I'll be gone all next week and the pool will have to get by on its own. Then I'll spend the week after that trying to get things back to working conditions again. Ugh. I need a pool boy. He should build me a deck for the pool too.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Stickler for Error-Free Information

I saw this bit of spam on rec.food.preserving, of all things. It's about the Beatles causing "the disintegration of mankind". I don't know about you, but I haven't seen any disintegrating humans wandering around other than in horror flicks, perhaps they meant "human society". The 1960s were also apparently evil since they contained the number 6 and John Lennon is the anti-Christ. The latter bit is interesting since I'd always heard that the anti-Christ was supposed to be born in the US Midwest on Christmas 1966. I realize the Beatles were young when they made their introduction as a group, but I suspect Mr. Lennon was a bit older than that and I'm positive that Liverpool isn't in the US midwest. At least not that particular Liverpool.

On a related note, some time ago there was a large argument/discussion about the apparent evils of microwave ovens. Part of the argument referenced this article, which is chock-full of inaccuracies. I particularly like the assertion that the Sun operates on the principle of direct current. What I want to know is who gets to change the batteries in the sun. I wonder what these people would do if they really knew the sun operated on the principle of NUCLEAR FUSION, that it shoots out ionizing radiation irradiating constantly and actually causes cancer.