Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back Home

The drive back home was less exciting than the drive away. The return trip was rather rainy in some places and very windy the whole way, but it was much less stressful than the outgoing trip. I got to spend the night in my own bed and spent most of today relaxing and putting things back together here at home. In a little while I'll head in to town to catch Marley and Me and to pick up the week's groceries. All in all, it was a fun, relaxing trip.

Now I just need to get back into my regular routine and get back to cleaning the junk out of my house. With the upcoming trip to Florida, that might not happen for a couple more weeks, but I'll do the best that I can. In any event, I'll be headed to the gym first thing in the morning and make a pot of soup tonight.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ah....Winter Driving

I don't mind winter driving, within reason. Reason ends when the highway becomes covered in ice. At one point yesterday, I was progressing at the blazing speed of 15 miles per hour on an interstate highway. So was all the traffic around me, including the big trucks. Saw at least one accident which had to have involved fatalities. I did wave at the cars off in the ditch who had blasted past me and apparently thought I was silly to be driving slowly. It took me ten hours to drive what would ordinarily take less than six.

Today I finish the trip. It is presently 38 degrees though the 1/2-1 inch of ice on the roads is still here. It is also foggy, a bit windy and very rainy. There is little in the world that is slicker than wet ice. The rain is expected to stop around noon, at which time the temperature is expected to drop into the 20s. I have watched a beer truck spin its wheels in the parking lot and a full-size pick up truck slide out and around as it departed. The driver did, at least, manage his slide well and was able to direct his truck where he wanted it to go. He just did it with locked up wheels.

I expect the rain to end as I drive further north. I just hope it ends before the roads freeze. I think it would have been wiser to stay home this year. I'm tired from driving and from being sick. I don't have my shopping or knitting finished, thanks to the bad weather and driving delays. ugh.

Stay Safe!!
To all the EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement folks out there (and all of you who worked last night)--be extra careful. I heard sirens running all night last night and several times already this morning. It was always kinda fun working on holidays, but bad weather just makes it dangerous for everybody. Civilians don't have to be out in the crummy weather. The folks with the badges and emergency vehicles don't have a choice.

Had I been quicker on the draw yesterday, I'd have dumped a big bag of homemade chocolate-peanut butter chip cookies on a bunch of IL state troopers. They were all stacked up at a closed weigh station, probably planning how to handle the heavy holiday traffic and the crappy road conditions. It would have been funny to see the looks on their faces.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice!

Good-bye longer nights. Welcome longer days! I have let go of various things I have been carrying around with me this past year, by writing them down on pieces of paper which I burn. I look forward to the changes that may arrive in 2009. I wish you all peace, warmth and happiness!

New Toenail
So, back in July, I smashed my 2nd largest toe on my left foot badly enough that blood filled the nail. I was pretty certain that the toenail would fall off and now it finally has. Or at least it did some time in the past week. I completely missed it. I knew that one edge was coming loose and I meant to have a look at it within the next day or two, in case it needed trimming or other assistance. Apparently, it didn't need any help at all. Well, at least it didn't hurt when it came off.

Holiday Busyness
I have neither baked nor knitted as much as I had intended. I actually baked more this year than I have in past years. I decided to use up the stockpile of frozen bananas to make banana bread for my co-workers. There are a dozen mini loaves and two full-size loaves to go with me tomorrow. I found a recipe for chocolate crinkles that sounded really good too, but the cookies didn't quite turn out as good as they sounded. They didn't look as nice and they aren't as sweet as I'd like, though I bet they would be good dunked in coffee or hot chocolate. I also made candied walnuts which turned out pretty well. I need to make some Russian teacakes, but that will probably wait until tomorrow night when I'm trying to get packed.

Having a bad cold this week wasn't exactly in my plan. I'd really like to mostly sleep but that probably won't happen (that's a distinct disadvantage to sleeping on the couch on family visits). I will try to avoid the extraneous socializing that seems to happen during family visits. When I'm sick, I just don't have much patience for being around people I don't know well or much tolerance for screaming kids. I'm curious to see what the weather will be like. I probably ought to start thinking about what to pack. Maybe I'll just clean my house tonight and skip knitting. The untidiness is making me tired.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Old Year Resolution

As you know, I am, at the present time, both sick and very tired.  In my person, this tends to make me crabby.  I can do a pretty darned good impersonation of Lucy from Peanuts when I get crabby, which brings me to my Old Year's Resolution.  I hereby resolve follow this simple rule:  If I can't say something nice, I'm not going to say anything at all.  

As a result, I will not participate in ranting. I may listen to your ranting and may agree that the situation is unfortunate, but I will not support or encourage your ranting.  Nor will I commend you for ranting about something that happened to/around/at you. I will not support your portrayal of yourself as a helpless victim to which horrible things keep happening.  Foaming at the mouth will not be rewarded by me.  If that makes me unsupportive and uncaring, I'm sorry you feel that way, but it makes me feel ill to foment additional nastiness particularly when that energy might be better used to solve whatever problem is causing the ranting in the first place.  (I guess I'm weird in that I'd rather jump in and solve the problem than to create drama about it, but then it's just in my nature to solve problems and get them running on track again.)

(Note: Yes, this also applies to my own ranting. I won't be tolerating it any longer either.  I've done far too much of it lately due to frustration.  I will no longer let the angry, mean people get me down.  I'm in charge of how I feel and you can't make me feel bad. This has now become a game and I'm not going to let them win. *throws gauntlet on the ground*)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm Sick

There's no denying it today. I definitely have a cold. My head is stuffy, the sinuses on the right side of my head are clogged, my eyes are itchy and my nose is runny. How my nose could be simultaneously stopped up and runny escapes me, but it does it anyway. I've had several conversations about it, sometimes while tapping on the right side of my face under my eye. Oddly enough this seems to help for a little while.

Attitudes and Good Fits
I have realized again that I am not a good fit at my place of employment. When something goes wrong at work, it seems to me that the first priority is to demonstrate that someone else screwed up. Lots of energy goes into railing about errors made by other people/offices and how it's a hardship to have to work with/under these (presumed incompetent) people. I'm not against venting, but I do try to limit it and I don't get myself all worked up again every time I talk about it. I'd rather jump right in and get to work fixing the problem while thinking in the back of my head about what could be done differently to perhaps prevent the problem in the future. Sometimes the problems can't be avoided. Sometimes the implementation of new processes don't go smoothly and sometimes mistakes just happen.

It frustrates and stresses me to listen to people repeatedly re-hash situations like that. All it seems to do is get them worked up and upset again, plus it fosters bad feelings against the person(s)/groups who are at fault. Often the ranting is accompanied with a laundry list of all the previous failings of said person/group. I just don't see the purpose of bashing people. I guess it makes some folks feel superior to point of the flaws of those around them. For me, it causes me to distrust the persons doing the pointing. I end up suspecting that I'll be the next subject for dissing whenever I'm not in the room and a new subject is needed.

Although I am going to sit down with my supervisor next week and come up with some projects for me to work on, so that I might actually do more for the company, I am being reminded again that this particular work environment is not a good fit for me. It's important to me to make a solid contribution to my employer. In the past six months, I don't think I've done that at all. What bothers me the most is the stuff that I do all the time is the stuff that gets talked about as being the lowest priority work to be done during "down time". All I have is down time. I've tried to ask if I can help co-workers, but get shrugged off only to hear them complain about being swamped. Pointing out that there might be communication problems and that we might do things in a different way only seems to make the situation worse. Perhaps my next employer will be a better fit. Hopefully my supervisor will follow through on the recommendation information this time. If my boss is unhappy wtih my performance and would rather I didn't work there, failing to send in recommendation information is not really going to help me leave. I'm not sure what happened, but prospective employer never received the information that current employer said was sent. I'll chalk one incident of that up to fax or e-mail hiccups. Multiple incidents will aggravate me and need to be addressed.

Now I'm definitely considering what I need to do with my house and belongings in order to facilitate selling my house and moving. I'm going to adopt a mantra wherein I focus on obtaining an excellent job with no hiccups *and* sell my house. The Universe *will* present me with an excellent job opportunity which will coincide with someone wanting to buy my house for at least what I spent to buy it. Things will work out just as I want them to. There *will* be a happy ending.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


My body is tired. My brain is tired. My motivation ran out of energy a while ago and my attitude seems to be following it. Of course, I appear to be rather invisible at work these days, which isn't helping. I dearly wish that I were allowed to telecommute. I might feel better if I were working in my jammies. There's really no reason why I couldn't telecommute. I'm actually required to have a high-speed internet connection, so that's not a barrier. Frankly, I don't need the internet to alphabetize 6000 pieces of paper anyway, just a lack of strong breezes. I suspect the real issue is that upper management thinks employees wearing their PJs and bunny slippers wouldn't work as hard or as long as the same employees trapped in an office. They're probably right, given the work ethic that seems common these days. (I must be tired, I'm starting to sound like a crabby old lady complaining about these young whippersnappers and just what is the world coming to anyway?! *sigh*)

What I really need is for the sun to come out. Maybe I'll go eat an orange. That's sort of like the sun. It certainly smells like the sun might smell, if the sun wouldn't instantly incinerate your nose if you sniffed it. Going to the gym might help too. I made an excuse the past couple of days due to potentially icy roads. (I did, at least, do a pretty good weight circuit using free weights at home today.) Tomorrow I won't have that excuse. I've *got* to get back in that habit. Running/walking/waddling always helps me feel better about myself and less disillusioned with my job. The endorphins either cause me to care a lot less about not using my degree and training or else I'm just less depressed about it.

Things To Do
I should send holiday cards, given that we're in the middle of major winter holiday season. Of course, I don't usually send out cards prior to January 1, so why should I break with tradition now? I should also do some baking, since several family members have requested baked goods and/or homemade candy as gifts. Then there are the knitted gifts which I have not yet completed. Fortunately these are for children, so they are small. The laundry isn't terribly piled up at the moment, though the accumulation of washed, but unfolded clothes is slowly growing. I need to nip that in the bud before the mountain takes over my bedroom floor once again. Of course, there is also that daily workout thing. I haven't done it in a while. I miss it terribly. I've skipped it enough now that I've rather lost the habit of going. I don't like that. I definitely do not like that. Only one way to fix it, so I'll get to work on that in the morning. I'm sure there are other things I could also do, but I can't think of them at the moment. I think I'll put on my pajamas, toss a light-hearted DVD in the machine and go drool on myself for a little while before going to bed early. I am detecting that stuffy/scratchy at the back of the head feeling that often presages the development of a cold. Ugh. (Though that would explain both my tiredness and my general feeling of snoogliness.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bad Weather Update

Reminder: Bridges get icy before roads do. This means attempting to brake on the road will work fine, but braking hard on a bridge may result in unexpected behavior from your vehicle. There were several motorists who were reminded of this earlier today and ended up in the ditch along the highway.

The rain didn't start until just before 7am and didn't last very long. Just long enough to get the bridges (and my deck) nice and icy. As I left work tonight there was a light mist and fog was developing. That might result in a nice glaze on the roads again tomorrow.

Suggestion: Consider having a warm coat, hat and mittens/gloves in your vehicle. No, you won't have to wear it between your vehicle and your office, but if you do happen to run off the road you might be glad you have warm outerwear.

Dear Spammers:
While I appreciate that Brad Pitt is quite a handsome man, I would be inordinately surprised if your pills could cause me to look like him. It's an interesting concept to turn a thirtysomething woman into a fortysomething man, but I don't think that it can be accomplished with mere pharmaceuticals, much less untested pharmaceuticals. You might try targeting your spam at an audience on which your product MIGHT have a chance of working. Like fortysomething men. Thank you for your consideration.

Three Grateful Things
  1. A toasty, warm preheated bed courtesy of my new electric mattress pad. This is especially delicious on a cold, damp night.
  2. Being able to help a friend with a delayed flight by arranging for a hotel room while he's stuck on the tarmac.
  3. Getting past the halfway point in verifying data.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter May Have Arrived For the Moment

There's an ice storm warning for the area tonight. The freezing rain was supposed to have started this afternoon and then continued overnight with up to 1/2" ice accumulation. So far, there is no precipitation at all, though the temperature is dropping quite nicely. Of course, I needed to go to the grocery store tonight. I expected the store to be crazy busy, but it wasn't any worse than usual. There was plenty of bread and peanut butter left on the shelves. To top it all off, most of what I needed to buy had preferred customer discounts. I may go to a different branch of the same store chain tomorrow since my absolute favorite herb tea (Sleepytime Extra) is only $1 per box! I could buy all the tea they've got for that price!!!

By tomorrow afternoon, the high temperature will be above freezing. Later in the week it'll be over 60 degrees F. I'm sure people will be talking about the weather fluctuations causing them to become ill. You'd think people in healthcare jobs wouldn't perpetuate an untrue assertion about the etiology of colds and flu. Alas, this is not necessarily the case. Then again, I suppose you'd expect trainers at the gym to not say "a pound of fat weighs more than a pound of muscle" too. (Muscle is, in fact, more dense than fat, so the volume of a pound of muscle is smaller than a pound of fat. With few exceptions, a pound of any substance weighs the same as a pound of any other substance. This is how I have managed to maintain the same weight, but get smaller in the past month.) Nonetheless, I will endeavor to bite my tongue and not roll my eyes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thought-Provoking Television

If you ever get a chance to watch the Inheritance episode of the PBS show POV, I encourage you to watch it. Monika Hertwig never knew her father. When she was eleven, she found out that he had not, in fact, been shot down and killed in WWII. She found out that he had, in fact, been hung to death. Executed. For Nazi war crimes. As an adult, she saw Schindler's List, knowing that her father was portrayed in it. Imagine watching Schindler's List and knowing the sadistic Nazi camp commandant, Amon Goeth, was your father. Because of the movie and subsequent related documentaries, Ms. Herwig was able to track down a woman, Helen Jonas, who had been enslaved by Goeth as a house servant.

They meet at the memorial site for the camp and visit the commandant's villa, which still stands. Very graciously, Helen does not hold Monika's father's actions against her and she is willing to talk to Monika about her father. Monika wants to know about her father and, at the same time, is horrified to be related to him. Her whole life, Monika has tried to separate herself from her father and his actions. Visiting the villa brings back vivid memories to Helen, which she recounts. Monika learns that her mother knew a lot more about the operation of the camp than she admitted. She also learns that the history she learned about the camp and about Jews was completely false. Monika has since seen the footage from Goeth's execution. She still cannot understand how an educated person such as her father would have or could have followed Nazi precepts.

I cannot imagine being either of these women and what they must have felt or thought about meeting and visiting the sites. It is an incredible story.

The complete episode will be streamed via the internet between December 11, 2008 and January 4, 2009. The link is available here.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Antiques Roadshow

I have a new favorite television show--The Antiques Roadshow on PBS. The appeal is due to the combination of education and people watching. The variety of objects brought in to the appraisers is amazing. Right now a woman is presenting the hand-sculpted maquettes for the heads of Edgar Bergen's dummies. Her grandfather carved them by hand. She had never had them appraised and was also curious how to care for and preserve them. The appraiser stated that it would be rather impossible to assign a value since they're one of a kind, but did have some advice on how to display them and was generally just delighted to see the maquettes in person.

Half the fun of watching the show is to see the appraisers light up when they see something interesting to them. The other half of the fun is watching the reactions of the owners when they find out what they own. Today a man brought in a rifle that his aunt and uncle had purchased some time ago for just $13. No attempt to clean the wood or polish the metal has been made, so the original patina remains. It's a beautiful rifle, dating back to around 1810, made of curly maple with delicate carving on the wood of the stock. Even the inset metal pieces, such as the patch box, have decorative elements. Surprisingly, it would have been a "subsistence rifle" and used to put food on the table. The estimated value? $20,000.

My all time favorite was a woman who brought in a very nice Durer woodcut print in one of the early seasons of the show. I can't remember what it was worth, but it was at least $40,000. I thought the poor woman was going to pass out. She got rather pale, grasped the edge of the table tightly with one hand, covered her mouth with the other and gasped "It's just been hanging in the hallway outside the bathroom!" The appraiser smiled at her and said she might consider having it insured. I can only hope they got the poor woman a chair before she fainted. It was a beautiful print, but then I've always been a sucker for Durer prints.

Goal for today
I'm going to set myself some fifteen minute time periods for doing work today. I started out well by actually cooking breakfast (spelt flour pancakes, which were quite tasty) and by finally putting the grains I bought a week ago into the pantry. While I was at it, I re-arranged the pantry a bit so it makes more sense.

Today I will vacuum the house well, start and finish the laundry (including folding and ironing), weed out approximately half my t-shirts so that they all fit into the dresser and make a dent in the stack of magazines I've been meaning to read for several years. The last one will be the easiest to do. I'm going to take all the magazines which are over two years old and put them in the recycling bin without reading them. I will trust that any information contained in them which I must have to have a happy, fulfilling life will present itself in some other format. I've survived pretty well so far without having read the information. Any potential benefit from the information is being greatly outweighed by the stress caused by the ever-growing stack of magazines waiting for me.

I am seriously considering going through my bookshelves and removing all the non-reference books which I haven't opened since before I moved (almost 2 1/2 years ago). These books will go either to the library or a used bookstore. I hate giving up on books, but I have to be realistic. I think I'm being overwhelmed by the choices at home, which may explain why I mostly just read books from the library and avoid/ignore the books at home. I think I also purchase books because I don't want to completely forget that the book exists or somehow miss out on it. Of course, then I either don't read the book at all (meaning, of course, to read it "real soon now" only RSN never quite seems to get here) or I read the first chapter or two, then set it aside for the next "new shiny" book. I guess I worry so much about missing the one crucial piece of information that will solve all of the universe's problems that I skip actually reading the information I have. Not a terribly intelligent or rational approach to learning, is it?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Just 15 Minutes....

I'm sort of working on following the suggestions of FlyLady when it comes to cleaning up my house and accomplishing tasks I really don't want to do. She recommends starting small, rather than trying to get everything cleaned, organized and fixed in one massive attempt. The big attempts tend to end in failure, mostly because they're unrealistic. The messes didn't accumulate in a day or a weekend, so they aren't likely to be cleared away in a weekend. So, set a timer for fifteen minutes and start in. Work at whatever it is (she recommends picking a particular room or area) until the timer goes off and then do something else for the rest of the day. It's really a lot like starting up a new exercise program. Start small and easy, then build up as you go. If you go big too early, you burn out and quit.

With that said, I had a hard time today getting myself motivated to spend 15 minutes doing anything remotely cleaning-related. I removed the cover to the bathroom exhaust fan to clean it, then didn't want to bother with vacuuming the guts of the fan. Now the fan cover sits on the back of the toilet, waiting for me to finish the job. I also have a clean set of sheets to put on my bed, but I don't want to do that either.

Part of my cleaning up aversion is based on the volume of clutter I'm facing and the lengthy list of things to be done. I have come to the conclusion today that I need to just ditch the things I've been meaning to do (sort through magazines, etc) and just ruthlessly start over. Yes, in an ideal world, I would find happy homes or recycling places for everything, but I can't just hold the whole process up until I can do it perfectly. It just needs to be done, regardless of how imperfectly. *Some* progress must be made. It's not a good sign when you're thinking that your house burning down might be a good thing because you wouldn't have to decide what to keep or throw away. So I'll review the Fly Lady Baby Steps and re-read the book Clutter Control by Jeff Campbell. Then decide what room I'll start with (I'm leaning toward the kitchen, followed by the living room) and get started with the big purging, followed by 15 minute cleaning binges.

Books of the Week:
I have finished both The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry and The Smart One and The Pretty One by Claire LeZebnik. I was completely sucked in to The Lace Reader by the time I was half way into the book. The ending was one I absolutely did not expect, but was very good. Towner's quite an interesting character and the rest of her family is just as complex and complicated. I had great difficulty putting it down at the end of my lunch breaks when I was reading it at work. This one I will definitely read again and I may just have to buy it too. I'm also once again interested in the art of lace making. I've actually got a book about needle and shuttle lace. Bobbin lace looks far too complex at the moment, though bobbin lace is what is featured in the book.

I wasn't sure I'd like The Smart One and The Pretty One. I mostly picked it up because of the name. Growing up, I was the smart one and my sister was the pretty one. These labels drove me nuts and I'm sure my sister didn't like them much either. Anyway, I expected stereotypical, unidimensional characters. At first, that was what I found, but as the book progressed, the writing improved and the characters developed into distinct personalities. Even the male characters had substance to them (as opposed to just being a flat romantic interest). The amusing plot feature is that the "smart" sister had been jokingly "betrothed" to a neighbor kid by their parents when they were little kids. The "pretty" sister decides to reintroduce the two, just to see what happens. Since the book featured two sisters, the end of the book had a list of other interesting sisters, both fictional and real. The list included the March sisters, the Bennet Sisters, The Bouvier sisters (Marge, Selma and Patty), the Bronte sisters and the Gorgon sisters (Medusa, Stheno and Euryale). Now I feel the need to track down Ms. LaZebnik's other books--Knitting Under the Influence and Same as It Never Was.

I'm very pleased that I found two excellent books in one week, but now I feel a bit empty without a new book waiting to fill that spot. I'm pondering diving into One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I started to read it in college lit class, but, like most of my school fiction assignments, I didn't finish it. The other book idea I had is to re-read A Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin. This is one of my favorites, painting a magical picture of a time and place that probably never quite existed. Mr. Helprin's writing so vividly describes the people and places in his world that the book becomes utterly engrossing. One book I have been meaning to read for about 15 years is H0w to Read A B00k by M0rtimer Adl3r. (Pardon the alternative spelling, I'm trying to evade the irritating person who keeps spamming the comments trying to get me to buy their products related to this book and author.)  It was actually recommended by my college lit teaching assistant. It is, alas, one of the many books that I own which I have started reading, but never finished. (I have a terrible habit of buying books and then never reading them.)

Laugh Out Loud Dialogue for the Week:
(From The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik)

"Howler monkeys," Daniel said. "Turns out they really do howl." He noisily sucked up the dregs of his drink.

"Does that mean that screech owls screech?"

"Yes." He set the glass back down with an unnecessary thump that suggested his hand control had been somewhat compromised by the margaritas. "And fire ants build tiny little campfires."

"Oh my God," she said, opening her eyes wide. "You just made a cute joke. I didn't think you were capable of that."

"I'm not. I can't believe I said that either. I must not be myself tonight."

(and now I have a picture of fire ant colonies spreading their arson tendencies across the landscape, plus coffee in my sinuses)

Three Grateful Things
A programmable coffeemaker greeting me with steaming hot coffee when I wake up. (Yes, the smell of brewing coffee *can* wake you up.)

Lazy afternoon naps on the couch under a warm blankie

A scented candle gently spreading the delicious aroma of apple muffins through my house

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Disagreeing vs. Disliking

It occurred to me today that people often cannot separate disagreeing with someone from disliking someone. There are plenty of people with whom I disagree, but still find likeable. I imagine there are also plenty of people with whom I would agree about many subjects, but I would still find dislikable. Sure, it's easier to like someone that you never disagree with, but I think that's a bit unrealistic. I can't imagine there would be two people on this planet who would ever agree 100% about every possible thing. Of course, it might also be a bit boring to always agree with each other. Anyway, the point is that just because you disagree with someone doesn't mean you don't or can't like them. Heck, you could even get into an argument with someone and still like them. Having a disagreement with someone about something doesn't have to be a huge deal, though it seems to often become blown out of proportion.

Anyway, it seems as though most of the time, people decide they don't like someone if they don't agree on big things. Depending upon the issue, you may find it impossible to like or be around someone with whom you disagree, but that clearly isn't the case for everybody or every issue. Certainly Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger have opposing political viewpoints, but seem to be managing being married quite successfully. I don't feel the need to have a pet, but I don't automatically dislike pet people. Certainly I might have more in common with people with whom I share common beliefs (thus having a lower rate of disagreement about various issues), but that doesn't mean that I'll automatically like or dislike them. People I agree with can still be asshats and jerks. People I don't agree with can still be really nice and fun to be around. I can't think of a single person on this planet with whom I agree 100% of the time.

Toilet Paper
No, I have not run out. I just watched a factory tour show on National Geographic television and saw how it is made. It never occurred to me that the TP would be wound onto the cores and cut apart into individual rolls after winding. This particular company makes their TP and cores out of 100% post consumer paper. It was cool watching the bales of paper get turned into pulp.

Now we're making chocolate (5,000 pounds per batch) at the Guittard chocolate factory, soon to be followed by batteries at the Rayovac factory.

I'll take my waking up almost two hours late as a sign that I needed more sleep this morning. As you might imagine, I still haven't gotten to the gym this week. I'll work on that tomorrow. According to the couch-to-5K plan I found on the internet, I ought to be running 3 minutes and walking for 2 minutes for 30 minutes or so. In theory, I ought to be able to run a 5K race in 30 min at the end of this training program. I'm skeptical about being able to run that fast, but I'll keep an open mind about it. :-)

Crazy Relatives

I have a crazy uncle--Uncle Ramon. He's my grandmother's brother, so technically is a great uncle. Anyway, he's the practical joker of the family. If asked to pour you a glass of milk, he would ask you to say when. And he'd keep pouring until you said "when". Once when asked to say the blessing at a family meal, he said "Bless the food and damn the skin. Lay back your ears and let's dig in." When my sister and I were little, he gave us a set of walkie talkies and then proceeded to talk to use on his CB radio until he got out of range as he drove home. He also made me a wooden scooter and a set of wooden toy cars.

Uncle Ramon recently moved from his house into a nursing home, so my grandmother and mom were working on clearing out his house. Among the fun things found were these glasses. They are sunglasses with battery-powered wipers and lights. Clearly, Uncle Ramon either purchased or "borrowed" them from Elton John. My nephew thinks they're fun.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


For at least a week.

I was out of town most of last week, got back on Sunday and then was away again last night. I haven't worked out in a week (bad me). I had every intention of working out this morning, but decided that the extra hour of sleep was really more important given the prolonged degree of sleep deprivation I've had.

So, as soon as I can get my laundry started (again!), I'll go fix myself a hot beverage and get ready for bed. I've got a month before I need to haul my behind 3 km in <45 style="font-weight: bold;">

Speaking of Reading...
I am currently reading the book The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. It is quite difficult to put down at the end of my lunch breaks or when it is time to go to sleep. I think I mentioned it earlier. The characters are quite engaging and I'm quite interested in seeing what they do and say next.

Three Grateful Things:
  1. Sleeping in my own bed with my own pillow.
  2. Hot soup in my tummy on a cold night.
  3. Making progress clearing off my desk at work.