Thursday, August 31, 2006

I always dream of food

The week has gone really well, hope yours has too. BZ will be back today, as are a lot of the other staff. They were gone at a training center on the east coast. Temp and I got a lot of work done. We're doing well on my many projects.

Son told me about an awesome site where you can get your photo matched up to famous people's faces! It was lot of fun. I used my photo from work, haven't tried the more flattering ones he took of me. Maybe you've already been there, the link is:

Even though I'm not a a diet, I almost always dream of food! How sad is that? Speaking of, no brown rice and vegetables with gomasio and curry for lunch lately. The rice has been my standard lunch for a long time. I started bringing chicken sandwiches for lunch this week to use up the chicken. I put sliced tomatoes and cucumbers in it, so it's a little bulky and a lot good. I love the rice but it's a nice, temporary switch to eat chicken.

I was scheduled to go to the rodeo this Friday night with Amanda and Anton and a horse-crazy friend of theirs. But my older brother called last night and they are coming to town to take my Mom out on her birthday, Friday night. She will be thrilled! And it's a special birthday (one of the "0" birthdays) for her.

Hope they don't mention that their foreign exchange boy has a birthday on the same day, so that's why they're going! He just came on August 12, so they don't even really know him yet. I suppose the fact that it's his birthday will come up, but hopefully not as the reason for going, Mom would be quite hurt.

Oh, and I guess that means I'd better get him a present too! What does one get for a teenaged boy from Thailand? Maybe some local keepsake to bring home. Nothing else really comes to mind that doesn't cost a lot, teenaged boys like expensive electronics! They are coming to see my new house, too. Good thing I finally have some furniture in the living room. Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

work work work

It's great that it's midweek already today and I've only worked one day! Too bad every week couldn't be like this, except then I'd get used to it and complain about working four days, I guess. Human nature.

Yesterday went well. The temp did OK despite the fact she didn't even open my E-mail with instructions for Monday (when I was gone) until Tuesday! She's a hard worker with some common sense so even though she makes a couple of errors now and then, and who doesn't, she's a big help to me. She is anxious to know if we'll be hiring. I hope so, but I'm not the one who decides, is what I always tell her. And that BZ said we'll be needing her at least until December.

I, of course, am hoping to have another job by then, before we do the big move. But don't have a lot of hope for the great job for which I just interviewed. It's true that they said it will take weeks for them to decide and hire because they're also hiring several engineers. I can wait, but am afraid they may not pick me, I'm just so much older than the workers I saw there. They're an innovative and growing company who may not want to invest in a worker who looks like they have most of their working years behind them. Oh how I wish that was true! My latest social security statement thingy said I must work until I'm 70 years old or more, a long time off.

My Mom retired young from the railroad. She wasn't a lot older than I am right now. She received full RR pension plus a huge buy-off to leave early. She worked hard her whole life but really lucked out there. Things have changed in the work world since then. I would want to do something though, working as a temp part time or volunteering a little would be interesting, if I ever am retired from the "real" work world. Well, off to the real work world. Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

One bag of popcorn for lunch and dinner

Well, yesterday was a great Monday for once. I had a nice birthday, a day of doing whatever I wanted. What I wanted included sleeping in later than normal, shopping (but didn't buy), a movie, only a large bag of popcorn for both lunch and dinner, a library visit to read the current magazines, several homemade carmel lattes, and watching "Martha" and "Ellen" while listening to NIN. That last was pretty surreal!

I had the music from the CD turned up and the captions turned on the TV so I could read what they were saying. I love to have the captions option turned on the TV. It drives other people nuts, though, but nobody was home to see it. I did have a woman knock on the deck door, which is right outside of the living room. I suppose she may have already knocked on my front door and I hadn't heard her. She was looking for a certain car to buy but was two blocks from the actual destination. She looked like the photos of Ms. Mac, which went right along with the weirdness--it would have been very odd to have Ms. Mac at my door! But nice, I have to quickly add...I haven't met any bloggers in real life.

Yep, I feel much better today even though it's a work day. At the library I got several self-help books. One of them is a kind of course of actions and writings, so I've been doing that. My hair actually looks better because I put some blonde streaks in it. THANKS, to the one who suggested that! So things are looking up, and it's Tuesday already, have a good one.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I don't like that kind of god

The city trucks are making a lot of noise on the street, outside the window. It looks like they're trimming the trees. The neighbor lady just drove one of their cars across the lawn and knocked over my recycling bin. She didn't notice and didn't stop to pick it up. Geez I HATE that driving on the lawn thing they always do! They're such nice people and good neighbors otherwise, but have cars going across the lawn, or sitting in the middle of the lawn day and night. The cars are right under my bedroom window and that lawn is half mine, I think I'm still a bit crabby today!

I took the day off from work today, it's my birthday. Every year, no matter what, I try to get this day off. It's my present to myself. This year I really need the time off. Time to get up late and get more sleep, and time to think. I've been having an internal crisis, made up of so many parts and pieces that I'd have to bullet-point them all, so I won't.

One large part is basically a spiritual crisis, I think. About six weeks ago I started going to the same (type of, not the actual) church in which I grew up. In the collection plate I had been filling in one of those little envelopes and returning it with money. Sunday they had two collections, the second one for the Katrina victims. A couple of weeks ago I had checked off the place on the envelope where it says, "wishes to join the church" so they sent me a questionnaire to fill out and return in the included, stamped envelope.

The questions range from very detailed questions about my family (I'm divorced) to what sort of church and upbringing I have had. I'm having second thoughts about returning to my childhood religion. It's bringing up all sorts of old ugly things for me plus they don't approve of divorce. So what will happen when/if I write that in their questionnaire thingy? Once again I feel like a kid, nose pressed to the glass, looking through the window. I don't think I belong there. And if I don't, then, where?

I don't know why it's so difficult for me to accept pre-programmed thoughts and beliefs, other people seem to have little or no problem with it, but I do. It feels like putting one's thinking into a little box and sealing it up, never to venture out again. I don't like that dark, closed up feeling, I'd like some air.

So I guess I may not be returning to that church again. And as if to emphasize that turn of thought, the sermon was about wives obeying their husbands! Hmmmm, maybe we don't get to pick and choose but I don't like that kind of god. I think that one came directly from the human culture of inequality of that time. And the multiple gods and goddesses thing--I've never gotten very excited about that. It seems just--rather weird, made up and even more out of date than the regular one-god religions. Each to their own, I guess, as many people resonate with one of those two belief systems and variations of them.

So where exactly does that leave me? I don't know. But I do know what I have to do to get out of my funk: walk the dog a lot, garden, sing (badly), dance, write and create. Like Deni mentioned in her blog, I HAVE to write. It's a must for me, like eating or breathing. I also need fresh air and lots of movement to feel healthy and whole. Maybe I'll write myself a birthday poem. Happy Birthday to me, today! Have a good Monday, if you can.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The post I should have kept to myself

This is the post I should have kept to myself. For several days I debated writing it, or something like it, but stopped myself. Sunday is a great day to write it, because not many people read blogs on Sunday and maybe I'll have something more cheery by tomorrow, I hope so. That's the main reason I haven't been blogging or writing comments much lately. I try to be relatively cheerful or funny or at least not too boring or sad in my comments on other people's blogs. But I guess I can write what I like on my own blog. Since it's like a journal to me, it's often not so funny or cheery.

As you may have guessed from the oh-so-cheery beginning, I've been down lately, quite down. I should be happy, this weekend in particular, because I took Monday off and it's a nice, long weekend. But I'm just tired and sad, and thinking too much. In fact my son nailed it yesterday in the car. He, my Mom and I were driving to a restaurant. We've not eaten out all together for...months. We were talking about a situation at a furniture store and he said, "We THINK too much. All of our family over-analyze and think too much. I'm trying to just drop it." So we got into a short discussion of the merits of not thinking and analyzing everything and decided that while people who just go with things aren't deep thinkers--they probably are a lot happier people. I'm trying to remember that today and the rest of this weekend.

It's just that I see so many sad things. There's much that I'm grateful for, but life is so fragile and we are so fragile. All around me there is injustice and people getting hurt in various ways. Yesterday at the library I checked out a book "Secret Girl: A Memoir" by Molly Bruce Jacobs. It's such an interesting, readable book that I gobbled it up last night while watching "Pearl Harbor" on TV.

At first I felt very judgmental about the family in the book, they are so cold and scarely seem to care about one another. Then I realized that it bothered me because my family is like that. We don't really seem to care about each other. Oh I love my son dearly and we have a great relationship, but our relationship with my Mom is usually strained and I seldom see my brothers or their families at all--for years. I don't even know them or their kids and grandkids. The saddest part is that I'm not sure that I even want to, we are a cold family, just like the one in the book.

When my Mom suggested we all move in together last January, I was surprised but hopeful. I still was hoping for a good relationship with her and that she'd get to know my son better, too. It didn't happen. She dislikes him now (they hadn't seen each other for months) and while she wants me around her all the time to wait on her, she scarely has anything to say except old news about my younger brother, her favorite child. She's not interested in our life and despite my trying to get her to go to senior events, etc and meet people, she doesn't have much of a life either.

She gave me a birthday card with $20 in it yesterday. She didn't even bother to get me a gift. I have $20 already in my pocket, it's a nothing gift, cost her nothing not even any trouble except to get the card. She has lots of money and is totally mobile enough to go shopping (and she does) on her own. While thinking and saying that about her gift may seem horribly ungrateful of me, I think it's indicative of how our family is, they just don't want to bother. And although it was such a small thing, it really got to me. Probably because I was already depressed about things. I think it started with my hair, which sounds so foolish. But a sudden severe decrease in attractiveness is a real downer, believe me!

And the situation with my two best friends, SLA and V-Man, who are no longer my best friends. Yeah, there are a lot of things to think about, for sure. I guess I'm just sad and lonely. And like my son mentioned yesterday, thinking too much. It's dangerous to think too much. Dangerous to happiness, which is so fragile and fleeting. I started writing this deliberately when I didn't have much time. Now, thanksfully for you(!) the time is up. I must get ready for church. Hope you have a good day and weekend!

Church Bulletins

From my E-mail
(some of these have been around a long time, but some are new--to me, at least)

They're Back! Church Bulletins.
Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."
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Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "Hell" to someone who doesn't care much about you.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang, "I will not pass this way again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
The Rector will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing: "Break Forth Into Joy."
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be, "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment, and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
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The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours."
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Have a nice Sunday!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Now there are eight

Poor little Pluto has been demoted to a planette instead of a planet! Well actually it's now called a dwarf planet and there are only eight classical planets. Time to change the textbooks! I can relate to the feeling of being down-graded, after being demoted from Researcher/Librarian to Receptionist!

Below are parts of a transcript from The World Today:
Clyde Tombar discovered the celestial body through an Arizona observatory in 1930. Overnight though the International Astronomical Union decided to downgrade Pluto to the status of dwarf planet.

But his family says while they are disappointed, the astronomer himself would have been philosophical about the decision.

Conor Duffy reports.

CONOR DUFFY: 93-year-old Patsy Tombaugh still lives in the home where her husband Clyde Tombaugh stared up at the stars until his death in 1997.

Pluto has figured large in both their lives, in fact some of Clive Tombaughs ashes are now onboard a spacecraft bound for the former planet.

Patsy Tombaugh says it'll take her a while to get used to the demotion.

PATSY TOMBAUGH: Well, its very confusing and difficult to get on the square with it, because it's been 75 years and that's a long time (laughs), now I have to get used to the idea that it is a dwarf planet.

CONOR DUFFY: She says the decision to strip her husband's planet of its status is disappointing.

PATSY TOMBAUGH: I feel like I've been demoted or lost my job (laughs), my job was being the wife of the discoverer of a planet, not a dwarf planet, its really kind of a catastrophic change for everybody, I think.

CONOR DUFFY: Clyde Tombaugh was just 24 when he discovered Pluto at the Lowell observatory in North Arizona in 1930.

Some things just shouldn't be tampered with, in my opinion.

The interview went well, details to follow...I'm busy writing multiple thank-you letters! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's Today!

OK, I could put that title every day but I mean the interview is today, finally. It both seemed so long and came up so fast. I filled out the application papers last night. Typed would have been better but I don't even have a printer let alone a typewriter so it will have to do. Then I researched the company online. I'm glad that I did, it's an exciting and interesting company that's growing fast.

Yesterday I had a call from an ex-co-worker who was asking me to be a reference for her. I asked her to be a reference to me, too. So we are cross-referencing, ha ha! We had one of those "coded" conversations, because I sit right in front now and people are walking back and forth and sometimes standing right in front of my desk. No privacy anymore.

The funny thing is, after we hung up the thought occurred to me, I wonder if she's applying to the same job? We live in the same city and are in the same job field, there aren't that many jobs over here, so it's likely. I wonder what they will think if they realize that we both referenced each other for the job? Whoever does the reference phone calling will notice it. I will always say good things about her--which is the truth, no matter if she's a competitor for this job I really want.

I haven't even asked BZ for the time off yet--and it's today! I wanted to avoid any possible questions, as I don't want to lie but certainly cannot tell her the truth. I mentioned it to the temp and right away she asked, "To a doctor's appointment?" I had to not reply and change the subject! It's an "appointment" and I have to leave it at that. The only trouble is that I have to come home and get dressed, go to the interview, go back home and change again before going back to work. Even at the quickest, that's going to be a long appointment! Well, wish me luck--I think most of you already have done that... Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tracking down the interview spot

The strategic planning day was long. They had lots of coffee, at first anyway, and sadly, lots of mirrors too. In fact I faced a mirror while eating lunch! I ended up having to put the meals (about a dozen) on my corporate card so was late back to the session. They had started without me. Maybe I'm being over-sensitive here but that just seemed rather rude to not be able to wait a couple of minutes for me to take care of their meals! Oh well. It went overtime so maybe that was why, too much to cram into one day.

I've been too busy to fill out the application and papers for my interview TOMORROW. I had to return some books (unread) to the library last night and on the way back home I tried to find the second office, where the interview will be held. Good thing I did that, as it was not where I thought it would be. They had given me no actual address, which would have made it far easier, but had told me over the phone that it was "behind the old police station".

So I was thinking the same building where my favorite, but haven't been there for months, coffee shop is located, as that is an old police station building. But no, the new office wasn't there. Then I was thinking, maybe it's at the City Center where the NEW police station is located. I drove around looking, and sure enough there was a building, complete with an address (so why didn't they give me that address--I still think it's a test!) behind the NEW police station, where I'd gone for the police academy. Well, I'd gone to the new police building, not to where the office was located, it was quite hidden in a residential area that looked to have only houses in it, not an office building. Tricky!

So I parked in the lot and went into the building to see where their suite is located. It's on the second floor. Good to know all of this before I have to rush over there from work tomorrow! Then I went to the parking lot to get into the jeep to go home, and....the driver's door wouldn't open. I had closed the seatbelt on it and it was stuck. I had to crawl in through the passenger door, over that little hump in the middle and my cup holder and all the CD player wires!

At home I still couldn't get the door open, so had to crawl back over to get out. Luckily my son was still home and he helped me get the door open. Only after all of that could I do the normal evening things like cook and eat dinner and water the garden. One more day until the interview. Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Strategic planning and I hate my hair!

I hate my hair now. After three washings I'm longing for the longer, thicker hair I used to have before I trusted the salon! I had so much hair compared to the paltrey little scraps that I have now. Sure it's easy to wash, style and go--but I don't care about the ease when it's not flattering! Why do they always want to cut my hair around my face--it looks better at least past my jaw. I like my face, as I mentioned before, but have never been accused of being a beauty queen. With this hairstyle I'm plainer than ever, and yes, I look older too--not a look I'm going for! Boo and boo hoo.

Well, not much I can do about it now but enjoy the wash and wear, I guess, and feel distinctly UN-pretty. Today we have strategic planning all day at work. Actually we won't be at work but in a hotel conference room. I hope they have lots of coffee. Lots of coffee and NO mirrors! Have a good day!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Busy Weekend

What a busy weekend! I started out shopping at the thrift stores and consignment shops, where I get just about everything, as mentioned in a previous post. I found a pink and a black suit jacket and a beautiful deep blue deck chair, but no suits. I had put in a hair emergency call to the salon next door to work. They took me in at noon on Saturday, so I interrupted my shopping to get my hair cut and styled. I really liked it until Sunday morning in the shower when I realized I had no hair left! About half of it is gone, they cut it around my face and to shoulder length. I don't know if I can even put it up anymore, but now since it looks decent, maybe I won't have to do that. It feels so skimpy, though, when it was so nice and thick before. I think next time I'll just get a trim.

After the haircut I was hungry, so I went to get my Mom. We always eat Saturday lunch together and usually do something else either before or after. After lunch at the Olive Garden, we went shopping at the regular stores. I easily found a gorgeous black suit with long, simple lines, and bought a white cotton shirt with white subtle embroidery in the front to go under the jacket. Then off for shoes. I'm really not that fond of shoe shopping and my poor Mom even less. But I found some black shoes with a low heel, classic but not old-fashioned. Then, exhausted, I dropped my Mom off at her apartment and went grocery shopping. I had been planning to go to the fair with Amanda and Anton but I got home too late, around 6:00 p.m. It was a long but productive day.

Sunday I had to shop again for a white bra (I wear only black ones) and some dressier nylons, spray starch for the shirt, and things like that. When I came home I gardened, with the "help" of the two little neighbor boys. Even though they are here almost all of the time, I found out that they don't live in our neighborhood but are visiting their Grandma. And I found out why they are visiting their Grandma so much when their Mom came to pick them up.

She pulled up in a ratty, doors don't match car--and there's nothing wrong about being poor--but she just opened the door and yelled for her boys, "Get over here, you bastards! Get over here right now!" Not very impressive. Good thing Grandma has the boys most of the time. They are adorable, three and five years old, mixed race children. The older one is so polite and helpful that someone must have taught him well. Their Grandma had to come over to the garden to collect their things, so I talked with her for a while.

Then I finished weeding the back garden and the neighbor next to me started sawing branches off the large ash tree near the street. The low branches get in the way when he drives his cars (3) up into the yard to wash them, which he does almost daily, right outside my bedroom window. So I helped hold the ladder from one side and his wife from the other while he used a chain saw right above my head! I've used a chainsaw but have also seen some horrible accidents from them, so I was wishing that I had a hardhat! After that I hoed in the gardens and tried to get more grassroots out, working up a good sweat. It was humid and I was getting sore and starting to get a headache when the neighbor came back over and offered to take away my huge pile of weeds with the tree limbs. I was tired and more than ready to quit, but had to help him since it was for my own benefit and if I'd gone inside he would have done it alone.

So he drove his truck over and we picked, raked and scooped up my weed piles. My good shorts got all dirty, as did my face and arms. His wife lurked anxiously from their yard, does she, he's nearly young enough to be my son, so I hope not!

I didn't have time to go over the material from work for our strategic planning on Tuesday, nor practice the tough interview questions that I'm sure I'll get on Thursday. The weekend was just too short! Hope you had a good one.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Oh, I'm so excited, terrified and hopeful! Pardon me while I catch my breath for a moment, but I got another interview! And it's with the Canadian engineering company, the one that I want! Oh, now I'm really nervous. They will be much more sophisicated interviewers too, than the small non-profit where I just interviewed. I got a good clue from their phone call.

The HR person called me at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night as I was getting ready to go out. She was very chatty and pleasant but had the tricky way of leaving blanks. You know, she'd be talking and stop--to let me fill in the empty air space. Very sneaky, and even though I was aware of what she was doing, I still felt compelled to fill in the gap a couple of times. I didn't say anything that I regret though, thank goodness!

Anyway, I have to stop by their old office and pick up some papers on Monday night. On Thursday afternoon I bring the completed papers to their new office. Sounds like a test to me, also they get to see and interact with me twice, once before the actual interview. So I have to make sure that I'm still very presentable after a long and busy day at work on Monday! This is going to be a challenging interview, I can just tell.

So now, as a bundle of nerves, I'm going out suit-hunting. The pale seafoam classic-cut suit I wore looked very nice for a non-profit but these guys probably will expect a more traditional colored suit. I'm thinking navy or black, my favorite work colors anyway. I have a pin-striped black suit but the fit isn't classic enough, it's too racy (short skirt, low cut). I have a plain black suit that would do and I like it, good if I can't find anything else. Also I have a navy suit with a long skirt that I really like and wear a lot but it's leaning towards casual because it's knit. I have a classic-cut butter yellow suit, a classic lime green suit, a classic rust/beige paisley suit, a classic-cut white suit, a striped pale blue suit, an embroidered red suit and--well, lots of suits that I wear for events at work. I try to be more visible and colorful at events since I take registration and answer questions. None but the plain black suit is suit-able for this interview, however.

And then there's the whole shoe issue, but I need to get the suit question settled first. Yes, I have a lot of clothes, but from all the moving I'm down to a mere three closets now! But I still don't have anything to wear (to this interview)!

Off to shop, have a great weekend!

Friday, August 18, 2006

It sounds good

Oh the concert was so wonderful! And I could hear it again (for free, by ushering) if I wanted to, but we're planning to go to a regional fair on Saturday. I'd not been in the fairly new Weber Music Hall on the university campus. When I mentioned the concert to a co-worker who's into music, he became very animated and told me that the little music hall is one of the acoustically best in the U.S.!

So I looked it up online and here's an excerpt from a university Web site:
Pelli, who designed UMD's stunning new, acoustically exceptional Weber Music Hall, and whose architectural masterpieces are located through-out the world, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for cultural contributions. In 1991 Pelli was named one of the ten most influential living American architects.

Upon completion of Weber Music Hall-calling it "his little building," Pelli said, "I am extremely proud of Weber Hall. It will prove to be the finest small concert hall in America. The experience of the space is as exhilarating as the music being played in it." Cesar Pelli, October 2002.

So I got to play hostess at this "little gem" (as everyone calls it)of a music hall. Mozart's opera is in Italian but they had an unobtrusive screen with the translations. During the intermission the cast members were laughing about the translations, "That's not what we're singing!" they said. And it's true that they would be singing and singing and a single line of translation would appear!

I was hostess of the balcony. So when the patrons were seated and I shut the doors, I got to sit in the front row balcony. Someone had told me that it was one of the best seats in the house last night. When I looked up information online, sure enough, in most music halls the front row balcony seats are the best acoustically. So I learned something valuable for future reference!

Oh it's Friday today, thank God! The concert lasted until pretty late and I'm already drinking coffee in what will be a long coffee-filled day. Tonight I'm going out with SLA and friends to a country bar. Have a great Friday and an even better weekend!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ushering in the music

Work goes well, but we're still so busy. One clerical person for an office of ten work-generating people isn't enough. Even with help it's still pretty busy. BZ alone can generate a half-day to a day's work--per day she's in the office, let alone all the other people.

A new development at home: remind me to tell you "all about" my new furniture!!! Yesterday I got up an hour late for work. I've been getting from two to four hours of sleep per night and one of the hours was past the time I should have been getting up! The morning was a blur and a big hurry. One of my regular morning routines had to be dropped. Which do you think it was? The choices are:


Bet you guessed right! I actually made it into work on time yesterday (barely) too. Last night I went to bed very early (9:00)to catch up with sleep--but only slept until 3:00 a.m. That's still only six hours of sleep. I can deal with six, but not when having only two to four hours per night for the past week or so!

Tonight right after work I have a university workshop thingy on getting a master's degree. Then at 6:45 I'll be an usher at a concert staging of Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte" so that should be fun. I've never been at that music hall, so hope I'm not assigned to show people to their seats! The usher job requires that we wear only black and white, so just in case I don't get to get back home to change--which looks likely--I'm ready to usher. It's really no problem since I generally wear either navy or black to work anyway. Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm a BOSS, sort of

I loved your Deadly Sins stories! I wonder if there is a blog out there devoted to it (them)?

I suppose all seven Deadly Sins boil down to selfishness. In real life most people would call me a really nice person (I think!) and I don't like to hurt or kill anything, even bugs. But the motivation for stopping my Road Wrath wasn't because of anything like that--I was afraid I might get hurt, or get in trouble with the police. Do you see anything in that about other people and being concerned about their safety and welfare--nope. Even in quitting the sin, pure selfishness was the only factor. I find this all very interesting, as the dark side of people is often more intriquing than the revealed side. Maybe that's one of the reasons blogging is so fascinating, is that it shows more of the dark side than we'd see in an ordinary face-to-face encounter. But enough of that for now.

The good news is--I'm a BOSS, of sorts! They hired on a temp worker, without consulting me, so it was sudden. All at once I had an assistant. It was great but I hadn't planned or organized my work to hand parts of it off to another person. But since I have more than enough work to share, all went well yesterday, her first day.

My temp assistant is a 20-year-old woman from Arkansas. She calls me "Ma'am" which I sort of like(!) but it also feels weird. I found several large projects to give her and she got right down to it, so seems like a hard worker. Of course most people wouldn't slack off on their first day of work! It was great to feel less pressured at work. Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An example of a Deadly Sin

I've been too busy to read more about the The Deadly Sins lately. But I want to find a Web site that uses more old-fashioned terminology. Anger, for example, sounds--well, rather mild-mannered and not passionate enough. And Rage, as in road rage is too chaotic and out of control. Road rage is, and isn't really that. Things get out of control but it's also very calculated, as a sort of revenge. I used to suffer from road rage, or rather other people suffered! I finally got it under control when I realized that it was only a matter of time before I ended up suffering too!

An example: My last episode of road rage was when we still lived in the country and I had to drive into work from there every day. It was in the early winter and the roads weren't that good. A red van pulled out right in front of me and then poked along. As happens in cases like that, normally I allow a lot of extra time but that particular day I was running late, of course. I turned on my lights and tailgated them even though I hate when people do that to me. I took every chance to try to pass them on the busy, slippery road and when I finally did, rolled the window down and gave them a, um, digit. Those were fighting words, so to speak, and the red van which had been poking along sped up and tailgated and tried to pass me. I didn't allow them to pass, speeding up and slowing down accordingly. Finally, when they were out in the other lane and there was an oncoming car, I didn't budge an inch. They ended up on the shoulder of the road to avoid a head-on accident while I went merrily off to work.

Well, not really so merrily as I realized what a close call we (the three cars involved) had had and I was also afraid the red van people might call the police. Later, in the Police Academy, I found out that people often DO call the police for stuff like that. And that the police, at least in my new state (the episode was in the old one) track down and stop the offenders.

Anyway, this was a long story just to give a simple example, but my point being that Anger didn't really describe my feelings for the people in the red van. Rage probably a bit closer, but I'd like to call it Road-Wrath and hope I don't ever get caught up in it again.

Do you have any good examples of one of the Deadly Sins in action?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Your Favorite Deadly Sin

As I mentioned, briefly in a prior post, I’ve been thinking about the Seven Deadly Sins quite a lot. Not experiencing them, necessarily, but reading stuff online about them, thinking and writing. So what are these Seven Deadly Sins? Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth.

First after discovering exactly which sins were included, I was wondering why, exactly, they are called “Deadly” sins, is this the same as a mortal sin? The definition that was given is because they are transgressions that are fatal to spiritual progress. So I thought about that. Yes, I guess so. Getting hung up on one or more of the seven would not a spiritual person make. (how’s that for an awkward sentence?)

Various unnamed sources went on and on about how doing one of the Deadlies is the start of a habit, the second time is easier, the third time easier still. And before you know it, you’ve got a nasty habit, of say, Sloth. Hmm, it made sense to me, for sure. Human nature does seem to work like that.

There were interesting correspondences too, like The Deadlies versus The Virtues. Here’s the lineup:
Pride vs. Humility
Envy vs. Kindness
Gluttony vs. Abstinence
Lust vs. Chastity
Anger vs. Patience
Greed vs. Liberality
Sloth vs. Diligence

OK, I had to look up Liberality to be sure of the exact meaning, it’s charity or openhandedness, which makes sense opposing Greed.

Then there were other correspondences with the Deadlies. Quick (without peeking below)
What’s your favorite color?
What’s your favorite animal?
What’s your ruling planet?

Pride: horse, violet, Sun
Envy: dog, green, Moon
Gluttony: pig, orange, Jupiter
Lust: cow, blue, Venus
Anger: Bear, red Mars
Greed: frog, yellow, Mercury
Sloth: Goat, light blue, Saturn

So have you discovered your primary Deadly Sin(s) or at least your favorite Deadly Sin? Denny, at "My Anything But Normal Life" takes confessions.

Note: I was going to title this post “All About the Seven Deadly Sins” tongue in cheek, because I HATE when something claims to be “all about” a particularly subject. It couldn’t possibly be about or including every single thing about that topic. Calling something that one writes “All About” a subject is an empty, idle boast, maybe the sin of Pride, eh? (That would be a violet horse....)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Not in the pink

Four days last week I wore summery clothing to work, like skirts, in summery colors. One day I wore yellow, the next day light green, and on another day I actually wore a long PINK skirt and my southwestern-style (pink, lt blue, navy) blouse. The pink outfit got compliments, and I think the yellow did too. I'm not a pastel or summery-color person. I like dark, drapey clothes. It felt quite weird and a bit surreal to be dressed up in "costume" for work! On Friday I wore navy blue, one of my very favorite colors (black is the other one) to work and felt like me again.

But I don't like dark furnishings, in fact I have a lot of red in my bedroom, yellow in the kitchen and blue in the living room--just dark clothing. I read somewhere that people wear dark clothing as a disguise, but the brightly color clothing felt more like a disguise to me! Isn't it rather odd that I like primary colors for decoration, though?

So, along with thinking about career moves and the Seven Deadly Sins, I've been thinking about other people's color choices. What's your preference on clothing colors? Is it different than your preference in decor?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Feeling like Monday--but it's Friday!

The boss and co-workers will be back at work today so it will seem like a Monday. So the peaceful lull of doing things I shouldn't be doing (like figuring out salaries!) is over. It will be chaotic and super-busy. Most of my work comes from BZ, with favorite co-worker a close second. Much of their stuff needs to be done ASAP, too, which adds to the chaos. Oh well, I did four or five travel arrangements for BZ so she will be popping in and out a lot for the next few weeks. Other staff are traveling too, so the lull will come again.

I did get a reject letter from the place where I interviewed, sniff. It made me feel a bit bad that they didn't want me even though I'd told them (nicely) that I needed better pay. Yes, that's illogical, I know, feelings sometimes are. I basically wanted them to select me so I could reject them!

Thanks for all of the great career advice. You bloggers are such wise people! If any other tidbits come to mind, please let me know. I'm doing a lot of thinking about career and future.

It's funny (or manybe not) but you guys probably know me a whole lot better, in some ways, than the people in my real life! I don't tell them many of the things I write in my posts, or I modify problems somewhat so the recipient doesn't get all worried about me! People in real life (at least in mine) tend to want to fix things right away or make me feel better by saying things like, "You're experienced and skilled, you'll find another good-paying job." which may be a nice thing to say but it's not helpful. I know that--it's the what sort of job that's the tough part! Or even worse, "You can do anything you want to do." Uh huh, maybe if I could figure out exactly what that is!

But don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking civility and being nice to each other. There's not enough of it in the real world. It's just that it isn't that helpful when one is asking advice.

And people in real life seldom use humor when asked a question like that either. Perhaps they're afraid of offending or trivializing the issue. But humor is VERY helpful in looking at a situation clearly. I think I'm going for a career in World Domination. Do they have a master's in that?

Happy happy Friday to you! And have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kind of a shocker

Yesterday I took advantage to the fact that my boss and co-workers were gone at the meeting. I've been doing more and more accounting-type work and there was an invoice with amounts charged for the month by the salaries of each person in the office. Do you know where I'm going with this?

Yes, I was bad and first figured out which numbers I'd need by calculating out my amount, which I know the hourly and yearly wage. Using those numbers I figured out how much each person in my office makes per hour and per year. Yikes! It gave me a really weird feeling to know how very much they get paid! It explains a whole lot, too. Not only are there age and appearance differences but they are in a whole other class from me!

Oh, I know talking about class makes people here (and probably everywhere) rather uncomfortable. But there is a difference, and money is usually the deciding factor. I'm barely out of the poverty range, even though I'm at the top of the heap for secretarial and receptionist salaries around here. It would be difficult to find a job in my field that would pay as much as I get now. And yet it's a pittance compared to what the others in my office make. And that's just base salary, not even taking into account the massive overtime they all put in and the fact that all of them but one are married and have DUAL salaries!

Wow, it made my head spin and gave me much to think about. No wonder I'm not able to go and buy clothes like they do! Or shoes or all of the other little things that they are constantly buying. I wasn't trying to keep up with them as much as I was trying to blend in, somewhat. Now I see that it's impossible. They are at a whole different level than I am or will ever be in my present career.

And the computer field--which is the first recommendation that people make-- doesn't pay that well around here, either. That was another mild shocker that the IT guy, who has been there longer than me earns barely more than what I make! He's the only one who earns anywhere near as low as I do, most earn double and triple our salaries. But his wife earns quite well, I've heard.

So what's the conclusion of all of this pondering? I decided that I need a better-paying career field! While I'm not hung up on money, like most people I'd certainly like to earn more and live comfortably. I have a four-year college degree but it's in a pretty generic field. What's your advice, should I go for a Masters and switch career fields? What pays well or at least better than secretarial and administrative assistant salary? Career advice?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Small change

The interview went very well, thank you for your vote of confidence! Here are the details:

Yesterday morning I parked close to work on a parking meter. I could not afford to do that every day or even all day but since the meters don't have to be plugged until 8:30 a.m, I had 1 1/2 free hours of parking. I left work around 9:10 or 15, walked the short distance to the car and hurried home to change into my selected suit. I dared not wear the suit to work as it would have been a total tipoff as to what sort of "appointment" I was attending! Needless to say, I had to stop back home when done with the interview to change back into what I'd been wearing before returning to work!

The suit looked wrinkly so I had to spot iron it. Good thing I'd set up the iron and board in the laundry room awhile back. I had to change shoes and earrings and pull on nylons. Probably a detail that you don't especially want to hear: I shaved my legs again before putting on the nylons. I'm a fanatic about smooth legs! Also put on skin cream here and there to smell freshly showered (yes, I had showed in the morning after getting up, but that was around 4:30 or 5:00 a.m.). Redid face and redid hair--briefly wishing that I'd had it trimmed so I could wear it down.

Added a couple of pages to the "Kudos" book and off I went, glad that I'd checked out the location and parking previously. Even though I'd allowed for plenty of time, by now I was running almost late. But arrived at the office ten minutes before the scheduled interview, which was perfect.

The interview was easy, there was a conference table full of people and names to remember but the questions were so easy! There was none of that, "Tell us about a time you disageed with the boss." or "Tell us about the worst job you ever had, and why." sort of tricky questions. But before the interview began, the HR person (who was the one who had called me) told me about the benefits--good, and the salary--bad. I would be taking a 30% cut in salary! I almost stopped the interview right there. No way would I take a job at such a pay cut, but decided not to burn my bridges and to use this interview as a practice interview.

I even passed around my "Kudos" book at the end of the interview. I'm not sure that's a wise thing and may not do it for a job I really want. We got sidetracked into talking about the Police Academy for quite a bit!

The funny thing is that I don't think they picked me for the job! Despite the money difference it seemed very positive. They were going to call their selection by the close of yesterday, and there was no call for me. We all got along well at the interview, they seemed impressed with my skills but I told them frankly that I had been hoping for more money. Then the director mentioned another job that was coming open soon--that paid even less! Would I be interested in that job, he asked. I had been hoping they would up the pay scale, but no luck on that. I am doomed to stay in the job I'm at for a while.

Another funny thing is that they seemed so small potatoes compared to where I work now, a national firm. They're just a small non-profit office with simple, basic office tasks for an administrative assistant. But I think I would get along much better with them, they seemed to be "just folks" and not the type to put on airs or try to be better than others. And even though it was a small office, without a lot of staff, there was a nice mix of ages and sizes!

Oh well, it was a disappointment but not a total loss. I met some new people and I'm going to send them info on the Police Academy along with my "thank you for the interview" letter! Have a good day!

Today's the day

Today is the big day, interview day! I asked for some time in the morning off, by phone, yesterday afternoon! Even so BZ was suspicious, I think, but too distracted. She and most of my co-workers are gone to the nearby city for a meeting and she was calling to check in. They also call me quite often to retrieve phone numbers and such. So even though they're gone and time is quite flexible for the rest of them (for example, the other co-worker left behind took a two-hour lunch) I needed to tell her that I had "an appointment".

I'm putting together a Kudos book (not calling it that, though) with recommendation letters, E-mails and stuff with praise for me, spanning the past ten years or so. Included is a thank you note I received from a co-worker yesterday. It was a great way to start the week and contained a gift certificate to Starbucks! I'll bring it to the interview but I'm not sure that I'll pull it out. It might be overkill. But I want them to pick me, so I can decide whether or not I want to pick them!

Have a great day and wish me luck!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The rewards of going to church

Yesterday I found there are rewards to going to church, not just heavenly rewards but earthly ones too!

Sunday was the third time in a row that I've gone to church. I almost didn't go, I hadn't walked to the nearby gas station to get the Sunday paper and I was afraid the papers would be sold out by the time I got back. And I had gotten up very early but had been doing things around the house so the time had gotten away from me. Nevertheless I decided at the last moment to go and barely made it there on time. They were singing the first song when I sat down in the pew. It was an interesting service. They had a visiting missionary priest from South America speaking instead of the regular priest. He was very very old and difficult to understand. I missed the first paragraph or so of his talk but got used to his voice and was pleasantly surprised by his subject.

His talk was about poverty, which was no surprise. But instead of going into how poor the children of his missionary area were (and how much they needed our support--a typical missionary talk) he went into how much poverty there is here in the United States. He mentioned how we send our missionaries and foreign aid to help others but despise our own poor people. It was a very interesting talk and I was charmed by his intelligent and modest manner.

At the end of the service I received a tap on the shoulder from the people behind me. They asked me if I was (real name)! They, upon closer scrutiny were familiar too, they were the children of my Mom's best friend! We had grown up like cousins. I didn't even know my real cousins but this family came out to see us almost every week in the summertime, and in the winter we often came into town to see them. The last time I'd seen them was at their mother's funeral, many years ago. We had exchanged phone numbers on little bits of paper and promptly lost them.

"Would you like to meet Father John?" they asked. And I suddenly remembered that their uncle was a priest, and had served most of his life in Argentina. He was the missionary we'd been listening to, but I'd missed the introduction and his name because I couldn't understand his speech at first.

So I got to meet Father John, a very sweet man. In fact we all first went to the house where the family grew up, now owned by one of the daughters and her husband. It was familiar to me, I remembered playing there as a child. They decided to go out to eat and invited me along too, I called my Mom, went to pick her up and joined them in a restaurant I've never been in before.

It was a pleasant afternoon and my Mom was thrilled and so was I to catch up on "family" news. Their Mom was my Mom's best friend. They had always planned a happy retirement together of traveling and having fun. It was not to be, as their Mom died of skin cancer soon after they retired. I went to visit her in the hospital shortly before--and it was a sight I will never forget--that strong healthy woman weighed 80 pounds and had no nose or ears. She didn't even look human, but like an alien or something. I was grateful for the mask I had to wear to come into her room, it hid my reaction at seeing her like that. My Mom was out of town and wasn't able to come and see her, that was fortunate. She had military honors at her funeral as she had served in the navy before she knew my Mom.

So this family were like cousins to us, as we lived very isolated out in the country. We swapped stories at the restaurant table and did a lot of laughing. After that we went back to their house for dessert (my Mom wanted to see the house). It took up the entire day in a pleasant manner but I didn't get stuff done at home! I had to water the garden, do the garbage, grocery shop and a few other things last night--like prepare my suit for the interview. I had planned to shop around to use if I could find anything better or get some new shoes, but there was no time. All the shops were closed on Sunday before we were done socializing. Oh well. If it's meant to be, it will happen. I did look at interview questions (finally!) this morning and will be thinking of true, but positive answers during the day!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Nerves and plant roots

Ok, now I'm getting nervous about the impending job interview! It's only a few days away and I haven't put together an outfit nor practiced yet. I'll have to dedicate most of the weekend to doing that. In order to calm my nerves I'm telling myself that I already have a good paying job with benefits, it's not like I NEED this job. Hopefully that will work during the interview, too. It's been so long that I don't think they interview one-on-one anymore but as a whole interview team. What sorts of questions do they ask? I can go on Monster and some other job-related Web sites and look that up, I guess.

I stopped at the farmer's market after work and the parking lot was empty! Was it Thursday from 2:00-4:00 or on Wednesday? Bet it was Wednesday and I missed it. I was very disappointed as I had my heart set on getting some of the pretty potted flowers to plant in my newly renovated front garden. There is a farmer's market on Saturday in the city where I work, but it's early, at 7:00 AM if you want to get anything worthwhile. I get up very early during the week but not on Saturdays (or Sundays)if I can help it! Might have to make an exception, as I really really want some flowers to plant!

Last night I planted the pepper plant into the small back garden. This plant is from my garden in the country. I took it in for the winter and it survived just fine in a pot. It's a little wilted out there in the garden right now, even though I watered it twice. It was difficult to get out of the pot and I suppose I knocked off too much dirt from the roots. Hope it lives as I'm fond of that plant and it had flowers on it again. But then the herb plants are a bit wilted, too, from the shock of transplanting them. I really hope they all recover.

I have a willow cutting with roots in a glass. I got it from a dropped twig of one of my favorite trees in the downtown of the city where I work. I had an inkling last fall that the tree might be going, so picked up the twig and nursed it in my office all winter. When I no longer had an office, I brought it home. The poor tree, which had been growing there since I remember was plowed over for a parking lot early this summer. The little twig with roots is all that is left of it so I want to find a nice place in the yard to plant it.

I love trees and am sentimental about them. Once or twice a year I drive by my former house in town. I'm checking to make sure my cherry tree and all the lovely lilacs and mountain ash that I planted are still doing well. They are, so far.

Well, it's Friday and Friday means that a weekend is coming soon! Have a good day and a great weekend!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Return of the missing rocks

I managed to call the interviewing, er, the meeting place and confirm the date and time. The office was busy as another person from HQ was here to do a workshop and then an info session for staff. All that stuff lasted from 12:00 until well after 4:00 (the time I'm supposed to go home, in fact I've been written up for NOT leaving work on time!) So I worked ten hours yesterday and will be paid for eight. But BZ is very good about moving time around when necessary. I can use those two hours, plus the others I'm accruing on this payperiod to take Tuesday morning off. The only problem being is that all my co-workers will be gone at a meeting in another city that day, so it's awkward to ask for that time off when they need someone at the office. But oh well, I'll figure out some way. Probably I'll ask very last minute, when everyone is in a flurry so BZ or anyone else won't ask why I need the morning off!

I came home and planted my Hen 'n Chicks plants and the little herbs I'd bought at the farmer's market last week. In fact the farmer's market was last Thursday, so I can stop again after work and buy some flower plants this time. While I was digging and planting, the two little neighbor boys from a few houses down came over on bike and big-wheel to see what I was doing. The older one confessed that they had taken some of the rocks from my garden. So the two boys made many trips to bring back the rocks. I had thought the garden was missing a few of the big decorative rocks!

When they were done ferrying rocks, they brought me some flowers! I was very pleased and was going to take them inside to put in a vase--but the little boys wanted me to PLANT them, so I did. Bet they're all wilted today, though.

After that I took The Claw and tackled the back garden. I didn't get done or even very far as it was difficult with my sore hand, even wearing gloves. It looks pretty good today, not so red around it. I think it's finally healing up. Soaking it in dishwater really helped I think! Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The grass still lives!

The grass still lives, my hand was too sore to wield The Claw even with a glove on. Normal bandaids aren't long enough but I had found a knuckle bandage in the first aid box at work. I had to wrap it diagonally to get the pad and not the sticky part on my wound. It worked fine until I was doing dishes at home last night and it fell off. I'll have to score another bandaid at work for today so I can write, open doors and turn keys--all things that are difficult to do left-handed.

Glad you all liked the Mother Theresa saying I posted on Saturday. Here's one that's much easier to do:

Amanda sent me this one:

I am passing this on to you because it definitely worked for me and we all could use more calm in our lives. By following the simple advice I heard on a Dr. Phil show, I have finally found inner peace.

Dr. Phil proclaimed the way to achieve inner peace was to finish all the things you have started.

So I looked around my house to see things I started and hadn't finished; and before leaving the house this morning I finished a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Baileys, a bottle of Kahlua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of Valium prescriptions, the rest of the cheesecake, some Saltines and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel.

Please pass this on to those you feel are in need of inner peace.

Oh, and the best thing that happened yesterday? I came home to a message on my phone asking me to call back for AN INTERVIEW!

This is the nearby place where I sent their application back hand-written, no cover letter and a preprinted resume that I had lying around. It might be tricky to call them back from the front desk but I'll find a way, maybe by referring to it as an "appointment" or a "meeting" so as not to trigger alarms. The interview will be 10:30 on August 8th so I have plenty of time to come up with a good outfit and shoes and to practice. I'm going to need the practice as I haven't had an interview for YEARS! I know that an interview certainly doesn't mean that I have the job, but it's a first step. Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Revenge of the grass

The grass is not vanquished yet. In fact it's difficult for me to type today, proving that it got its revenge on me last night. But first a word about our sponsor, my work, the paycheck which funds all of this.

We had visitors at work yesterday. One was a consultant that we hired (and I knew all the details because I do the contracts!) and the other was a guy from HQ. Both are really nice people and easy to work with. When we went to DC four years ago for an event, it was my first time there, so I stayed two extra days to look around. Two former co-workers, who have long since found other jobs and moved away, and I shared a hotel room for the two days. I like privacy but it was great (and fun!) to share a room in a strange city. The first day we walked our legs off on the National Mall and seeing momuments. The second day the guy from HQ, based in DC took us around in his car. He and his wife were wonderful hosts and we went places that would be difficult to go to using public transportation, even though Washington has a clean and easy to use subway system.

I've seen the guy from HQ a few times since then at corporate retreats and joint staff meetings. He, of course, noticed right away that I was moved and came up to me to ask about it. I put on a happy face and didn't tell him too much. But it was nice to be asked how I felt about it.

BZ is gone to a work event in Florida but favorite co-worker and the new person gave me lots and lots of work to make up for it! At least the day went by quickly. I was still sore from battling with the grass on Sunday and finishing the front garden. I just made a salad, put some cut up cooked chicken on top and poured raspberry dressing over it for dinner.

I had barely finished the salad and was watching the news when there was a knock at the door to the deck. It was a weird place to knock on the door, most people go to either the front or the back of the house. I peeked out and it was my gardening neighbor with a cigarette in one hand and a bag in the other!

The bag was full of fat cucumbers freshed picked from her garden. I invited her in (none of the neighbors have seen my house, there seems to be an unwritten rule to socialize only outside) and had to speak the invite twice. She admired the loft and the skylight, and was surprised how roomy the place is--most people are--it looks like a medium to smallish-sized house from the outside. Then she mentioned how nice the front garden looked now, so I showed her the garden tool. A co-worker had said it was probably a Garden Weasel, but I looked it up online and they have wheels. It looks more like a Garden Claw, but with stronger, stubbier prongs.

She said she'd tried one of those and couldn't do it, wasn't I sore? Oh yeah! But then she said that she thought the weeds in the largest garden in the back, the only one undone, might come out more easily since it had rained. Well, I had been planning to wait a couple of days before tackling the back garden, but couldn't turn down proffered assistance! So we went out and started pulling weeds, she on the right and me on the left. I was barefoot, and was wondering about the wisdom of that, especially when we found rusty old things buried in the garden.

We worked hard and reached the end of the garden where the weeds turned to grass and the pulling became very difficult. She said it would be better to wait until it rained again, lit a cigarette and left. I hated to quit the moment that she did, so continued on pulling grass. It was very slow going and I was sore and tired, but I really wanted to see the last and largest garden done.

"Hi Mom" came a voice, and my son had pulled into the driveway. He normally wouldn't get off work until after midnight but had gone in early and worked only half a shift. Sunday he and some friends had gone swimming in the big lake and had gotten burned, he worst of all because he'd had his shirt off. Even the tops of his feet were tomato-colored and he had been suffering chills and was kind of sick since then. Anyway, I looked up at the sound of his voice and loosened my grip on the tough tuft of grass I was pulling, but still slid my hand on it. Zip! The grass cut me across my right hand, at the first joint of my fingers. Instantly the blood was welling up and dripping, along with garden dirt, off my hand and into the garden. Fertilizer for the garden!

I was walking around to the back door when the other neighbor, whom I haven't met yet came up to me.

"The gardens look really nice. You know, they didn't do anything with them for four years. Oh, by the way I'm ____, my wife and I have two sons and run the family business from our garage."

He held out his hand, and I offered him my left hand instead, but showed him the gory bloody and dirty right hand.

"That looks bad." He said. I nodded and had to ask his name again, it was difficult to concentrate when dripping blood. It hurt too. So then I went inside to wash up in the basement bathroom. When I'd gotten the fingers to quit bleeding so much I went upstairs to clean the wound with antibacterial soap. The grass had sliced deeply, taking in dirt as it went. I had to soak my hand in warm soapy water to get the dirt out of the wound.

Soon after, son came upstairs with a new product and asked me to put it on his sun-scorched back. I was wondering how badly it was going to sting ME, but it didn't, actually made my hand feel better, too. Today I'm hurting in so many ways! My right hand is stiff like a claw. I tossed and turned and tried to get the kinks out of my back all night. But it rained last night too, and I'm going to take The Claw out tonight and kill that wicked grass!