Thursday, December 28, 2006

The worst employee, ever

If anyone really worked like I did in one of my dreams last night, they wouldn't have made it to noon before being fired or let go. I dreamt I was a new employee working in a large pharmaceutical company in their shipping department. We had to fill orders by gathering up the drugs requested, packing them and putting on the label. You'd think that wouldn't pose much of a challenge. I chose an order off of the table, like everyone else was doing, found the prescription drug and the aspirin-type drug requested from shallow bins. They were already packaged in those little round, plastic containers but for some reason I thought these people wanted a partial bottle of the aspirin-type drug so I dumped out part of the bottle into the packaging of the box. The packaging looked like dirt, so I spent time poking down the little white pills into it, after burying the intact bottle of the prescription drug. Then I taped up the box and needed to type the address label for it.

The typewriter was sitting on the dark, unlit side of a large table and I complained about that and asked to take it to the other side. I was told to just type at the typewriter where it already was located. I had trouble seeing the address and made a typo, it was to a Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Gedney but I typed "Dedney" so had to correct the label. Then I put the label on the package and asked where to put it. A co-worker motioned to a table full of packages, so I put it there.

Then I headed back to the order table, noticed that there was only one order on it, so I slowed down to let another employee grab it first (I was not only stupid, but lazy in this dream, too!). Then, for some reason I suddenly realized the my packaging of the Gedney order had been all wrong. Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Gedney were not going to be happy with the aspirins dumped out and poked into the box filler! So I went back to the completion table and it was empty.

I asked someone where the boxes were taken and was told, "Into the break room. Do you know where that is?"

"No," I replied, "I've never been in there" which was a lie because my friend and I had sat in the break room for coffee in the morning and again to eat lunch. The co-worker motioned to the break room and I realized that it might be difficult to just take a package of drugs and ditch it! I had to open it up somehow to get the prescription bottle with the name on it. Then I decided to do another package to the Gedney's with just the aspirin in it and hope they wouldn't complain. The work day was nearly over and I had done ONE package, and that package was messed up! (in the dream) I was lazy, slow, stupid and a liar at work. What the heck does that mean?

My second dream was working in Paul McCartney's sound studio. He was interested in a woman visiting with a group, but she was married. His aggressive little manager was saying obnoxious things like, "You really should put on a sign that says 'I like you'" to Paul about her. She was very showy, the rest of us were in black suits but she was dressed in red. There was a bit more to the dream than that but I won't go into the details as they are boring because nothing really happened except we all were walking around and talking, because we were taking her group on a tour.

I'm enjoying a lovely week off from work, even though I keep dreaming about various types and places of work! Hope your holidays and week are going well!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Second Day of Christmas: Piles of Presents

It's Christmas Eve and probably Santa right now is loading up his sleigh, the reindeer are restlessly pawing the snow, ready to get going. And I've had a wonderful two days this weekend.
The first, Saturday, was the day of the second family Christmas party and gift exchange. My older brother came to my Mom's apartment in the afternoon and I met them all there. Son was working during both family parties, so he's missed them. My brother had his photo album of Holland with him and we got to see pictures of flowers and markets and castles and such. He and his entire family had gone there in October to attend the wedding of one of his foreign exchange students.

He and his wife have had many different foreign students stay with them over the years. Now his hospitality is starting to pay dividends! A couple of years ago the student from Portugal got married and my brother and family went there for a couple of weeks. Then the student from France got married and the family went to France for three weeks, and now Holland! They've had plenty of other students, including a boy from Thailand right now. I got him a large Green Bay Packer banner for Christmas along with a couple of smaller things. I've never had the extra room for foreign students to stay, but I bet it would be very interesting and educational for both sides!

I'm having a peaceful Christmas Eve, listening to Blondie, Evanesence and others. Today I went to the Mall to shop for myself, since all other presents were already bought. I almost never do that but it was fun and I didn't go too wild. It would be bad timing to spend too much on myself as gift buying has taken its toll. I've wrapped and given over 40 presents so far and there are still a few small piles of gifts to wrap. Those are for friends that I'll be seeing after Christmas. SLA called me this evening and we spent a lot of time on the phone catching up and planning our "girl's holiday get-together" some of the unwrapped gifts are for that.

Tomorrow on Christmas Day, son and I will go to my Mom's to open and give gifts. Then maybe we'll go out to eat, since the Thanksgiving meal out worked so well! Son's girlfriend is sick with the flu, poor thing, so she won't be with us. After it gets dark we'll drive around to look at the Christmas lights. My Mom really likes to do that and it's fun for us, too. Happy Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The First Day of Christmas

Yesterday was quite a day, jam-packed with happenings. It all started early in the morning, because I stayed up late to read and watch DVD's from the library. I still woke and got up at a respectable time, around 6:30 AM, only two hours later than the normal wake-up time, just from sheer habit. I'd showered dressed and was happily blogging on my first day off from work. I was still watching the time, though, as the company Christmas party started at 9:00 AM.

Coffee CAN be bad for your health
That first cup of coffee while blogging tasted so good! I was taking small sips while reading blogs and commenting when I noticed that the mouthful of coffee seemed full of grounds. Well, not grounds but tiny, hard pieces. The next sip was a quick discovery as piercing pain shot through my lower right jaw. I cautiously put my tongue over there to find a huge, painful hole in a molar. The filling had crumbled and come out. This was Friday, December 22, remember, the last day before a long holiday weekend! It was after 8:00 by then and I frantically called my dentist, expecting the worst. Would the office even be open, many were closed already last Thursday. What would be my Plan B and Plan C? But after a couple of calls someone answered the phone at 8:30. She said I could come in at 9:00 but to a different dentist. I didn't care, I was surprised and grateful that they could get me in at all.

Dental Drama
But I was supposed to bring the coffee carafe to the company Christmas party and arrive earlier than 9:00. The dentist's office kept me on the phone for quite a while as they were looking up my records. After they finally were done with me I called the boss and asked if I could run the carafe over early (but by that time, it really wasn't that early anymore). So I did that, and also brought the Secret Santa gift, just in case I wasn't done at the dentist in time for the party. Then it was over the slippery interstate bridge going well over the speed limit. It was drizzling rain and the temperature was hovering around freezing. I arrived at the dentist's office four minutes late and apologized profusely but they seemed to be OK with it. An unfamiliar dentist said he could just patch the hole with cement, for now, and I would need to return next week for my regular dentist to fix it as the tooth had broken also. There was some drilling and no novacain, which I've only done once before. I left a bit freaked out by the pain and bad taste in my mouth (from the cement) but onward to the Christmas party!

Some people never learn
The co-workers joyfully welcomed me to the party. It was great and I would have really enjoyed being the center of attention, but I was still trying to manage the jaw pain and was somewhat dazed from rushing around. Things settled down and it was a really fun party with funny stories and great gift-giving and receiving. I was dying for a cup of coffee, since I'd had only a couple of sips. So I foolishly tried to drink some and felt the cement dissolving in my mouth! The dentist had said "be careful" with the temporary filling, but had not specified exactly how. And I should have asked. Probably he thought I had more common sense than to try drinking coffee right away again when that's what prompted (but not caused, of course) my sudden tooth problem.

I could market this as a new diet!
So I couldn't eat the lovely food at the party, but I did try some of the baked eggs and ham and a large cookie. It took forever to eat the spoonful of eggs and I had to give up on the cookie.

Don't give up on this long, sad tale yet! It does have a happy ending, honest.

Sibling rivalry revisited
Fast forward to Friday night. My younger brother was in town with all of his family. I've not seen them all together for probably close to two years! He and I have had our differences but he's mellowed over the years and I decided (when thinking about it late last night) that my main "beef" is how my Mom lauds and elevates him. In fact she was telling her neighbor/landlord on the phone, "My kids are here! You have to come and finally meet my kids!" Never mind she has two OTHER children, older brother and me. And I've met the neighbor. I used to point out Mom's weird attitude to her when I was still in my 20's but have long since dropped that because she just doesn't get it. And why confuse her or spoil the evening?

A good time was had by all
So the first family Christmas party was fun. They all seemed to really enjoy the gifts I'd given them. I'm rather insecure about giving gifts, never feel it's enough or good enough for the particular individual. We had mashed potatoes and gravy along with the rest of the meal, so I could sort of eat something. The happy noise of brother's four teenaged boys made me nostalgic for when my son used to have his neighbor friends over all of the time. I'd kind of missed the busy, in and out of the house interaction. The house we live in now is very quiet. And so ended the first of three family Christmas parties! Have a great holiday weekend!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Like Clockwork

Whew, we survived the big event at work. It ran like clockwork--if you mean like the dented, windup up clock I use with no base anymore so it rolls off the table and onto the floor! In other words, there were moments. I was stuck in the front greeting people, which would have been fun except:

Nobody had brought or even decided (as I would have grabbed one the day before or early in the morning) which table to use to place the business card bowl and the nametags. I had to request a table 3x before someone finally decided which one and had the building people bring one from the Boss's office. We wisely(?) had a meeting on a different floor until 11:00 AM, and the event started at 11:30. Guess what, some people came early!

Normally at an event all staff know exactly where they are to be situated, doing what, and at what time. We had a different "event manager" this time whose idea of planning the event was, "Staff can just mingle with the guests." That really wasn't enough direction to produce a smooth running event!

But the guests seemed to enjoy it and things came around by the time our champion congressman, one we had seen in DC came to speak. I stood in the back with a tech (not a co-worker) whose job it was to push the button! The button was to start the video recording of the congressman's speech. The congressman is a friendly guy and didn't stand behind the podium but in front of two of the TV monitors. That gave an interesting effect, you know, like holding a mirror up to a mirror! It looked pretty cool but was not the usual recorded piece. Our event was like that.

But now it's done, and so I am with working for the rest of the year! I do have the office Christmas party to attend this morning. If I hadn't taken the day off, I would have gotten paid for it anyway like the rest of the staff, because it's during worktime. But oh well, I'm just happy to not lose (most of) my days off. Happy Friday, and have a good one!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Spirit, where are you?

"We're out of Beta. See what's new." Blogger says. I had to go to a special screen to sign into "Old Blogger." But it's still free, so that's good.

Today is the day of our big event. At work we are stressed, we are in-fighting, certain people are not talking to certain other people. I'll just be so glad when it's all over. And I received approval for Friday and all of next week OFF!!!

So it appears like I won't lose those days after all. Sometimes life is sweet. It'll be too late to go Christmas shopping next week but maybe I can squeeze in the rest of my shopping on Friday. I'm going to have to do that, and get things done and wrapped fairly early in the day because...ta ta younger brother is coming to town that day. I received a phone summons from my Mom last night.

I'm getting both of my brothers smoked fish (along with a couple other things) and have been waiting until the last moment to buy the fish. It might smell funny if it sat for days under the tree, ha ha!

Speaking of TREE: my Mom is thrilled and going on and on about how her neighbor got her a tree and is just like a daughter to her (grrrrr!) Of course this is the very same Mom who had been telling her REAL children over and over that she didn't want a tree this year, no room in the apartment, too much mess, etc. But the neighbor is very nice to do that. Maybe she'd like to live with my Mom too? OK, that was kind of bad of me. Oh Christmas spirit, where are you?

I am SO looking forward to staying up late and sleeping in, and it's all coming up soon! Have a good day!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not a Christmas Story

I've been tagged for a book meme by Sumo. I love doing memes, except for "memory" ones about childhood.

- Find the nearest book.
- Name the book and the author.
- Turn to page 123.
- Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
- Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
- Tag three more folks.

Book - Clara Bow: Running Wild
Author - by David Stenn

Clara listened politely, "agreed with us, admired our platitudes--and went right on being Clara Bow." In this instance, being Clara Bow meant telling a dirty joke with graphic gestures and a punchline which, recalls Colleen Moore, had its narrator squatting to make her point. "I was as shocked as everybody else," Moore admits, "but I had to laugh inside, she did such a first-rate job."

The other books I'm reading are:
Days of Obsidian, Days of Grace: selected poetry and prose by four Native American writers. Those writers are Al Hunter, Denise Sweet, Jim Northrup and Adrian C. Louis.

Jeno: The Power of the Peddler, by Jeno F. Paulucci. He's a local big-wig

The Ayn Rand Cult by Jeff Walker. The author is very one-sided (against) Ayn Rand, but I guess the title of the book would tell you that! I read a couple of Rand's books when I was younger and really liked them as good stories, but did not agree with her heartless political/social ideas.

All are very good books that I'm limping through (because of being too busy to read much lately.) I didn't know much about Clara Bow and it's quite an interesting book.

Work has been crazy lately, we're preparing for a big event on Thursday. No, I haven't taken any of the five days off that I will lose at the end of the year. Speaking of crazy, last night I went out for a quick dinner with the temp. She had asked me a couple of weeks ago if we could eat out right after work. I don't know what I was thinking! The temp is a nice woman and all that, but I'd worked with her all day. Good thing the dinner was short and we both went home to see each other at work again today.

Well, what books are you reading? Probably it's hard for to find time to read right now, too. And, do you socialize with the people from your work?

Monday, December 18, 2006


The weekend is gone, and I'm a step or two closer to completion of my Christmas duties. They ought to be playing the "Rocky" theme. How about you, are you done with your Christmas prep? On Saturday my Mom and I went shopping and I got an additional gift for two nephews (original was a space pen each, but that was too small, so I added on) some more wrapping paper, tape, two boxes of cards and a couple other small things.

On Sunday I went to the Lakewalk nearby where I work. I used to love walking long distances, especially by the lake. Yesterday it was a good thing I didn't go all the way to the end before turning around. The temp was only 31 degrees F, not bad for a December day but I didn't have anything on my head and still had damp hair. So by the time I'd turned around and was nearly back to where I'd parked the car (still, a distance of a couple of miles) I was feeling lightheaded and had to sit on a bench for a couple of moments and drink some water. As I was doing this, I was wishing I'd parked closer and not at the very end, near the bridge!

After all of that walking I was hungry and had an urge to eat eggs. Not the scrambled ones like I normally eat or fix but the regular type. I also didn't feel like going home yet so went to a inexpensive restaurant. Despite it being Sunday and the after-church lunch crowd, it wasn't too full. There was a booth towards the kitchen that was perfect, so I set up shop there. Card-writing and addressing shop, I mean. I had two types of cards, one serious and one funny, which gave a nice choice as to which card to send who.

Guess I'm finally getting into the Christmas spirit, as I even sent VMan a card and I haven't seen or talked to him since we moved. We moved in June, I think, so it's been quite a while with nothing but an occasional E-mail. I still have gifts to get for Mom and son but there are eight more days until Christmas, right?

Wish I could show you the funny card, it has cartoon pictures of eight reindeer:

Santa's Second String
and Wheezen

Apologies to those who normally get a card or gift from me (and you know who you are!) I just didn't get it together in time this year. There really isn't a good excuse or reason. Well, on to another work week. Have a good day!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

But not on the cover

Hey, I won the Time Magazine "Person of the Year" award!

  • All about my award

  • But you won't see me on the cover...

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    Children are taught pole dancing

    Yikes, I think this is a little young. There are a LOT of different ways to get exercise!

    Children are taught pole dancing
    Pole dancing has a traditionally erotic image. A Northumberland fitness instructor has defended plans to teach children as young as 12 how to pole dance. Laraine Riddell will start classes in the New Year at a gym in Choppington, in which boys and girls will be taught to spin up and down on a pole.

    Ms Riddell insists the classes are nothing but good exercise for children who are at risk of obesity. But the children's charity Kidscape, said pole dancing was traditionally linked to erotic acts in clubs. Ms Liddell said she wanted to distance her classes from images of naked women dancing for money in nightclubs.

    'Fantastic feeling'
    She said she had the support of parents who welcomed the classes.

    Ms Riddell said: "This is a good way of tackling obesity. It is dancing and it is fun and gives you a fantastic feeling.

    "I have seen the joy in the faces of children who are holding their body strength up, doing the splits, spinning round and upside down.

    "The children don't come in with thoughts of strip clubs in their minds."

    But Michele Elliott, director of Kidscape, said the classes were "out of order".
    She said: "Pole dancing is traditionally an activity where women on stage are given money which is stuck in their underwear.

    "To teach 12-year-old girls pole dancing is out of order. I am sure pole dancing is good exercise - but so is stripping. After all, strippers have great bodies.

    "By all means give the kids exercise, but just skip the poles."

    I would agree with Elliott. I swiped this news item from the first blog I ever read, or at least was aware that, hey, this is a blog. It's bookmarked but I don't think I've ever commented on it. When I first started reading it, I didn't realize that I could comment. It looked like a regular web page to me.

    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Six Weird Things

    (Tagged by Fizzy)
    Here are the rules:
    Each player of this games starts with 6 weird things about themselves. People who get tagged then have to write 6 weird things, as well as state this rule at the beginning. At the end you have to choose 6 people who are to be tagged and tell them in their comment box!

    Actually Fizzy made this meme easier for me, as we share a couple of the weird things:

    1) I'm going to use Fizzy’s one about liking to go barefoot all of the time. I think that's why it's so hard for me to buy dress shoes. My regular shoes feel really really comfortable now (after wearing those very fitted dress shoes)and much roomier. I miss living in the country and going barefoot outside in the grass. Well, maybe not at this time of the year.

    2) I must make my bed every morning before leaving the house (whether for work on the weekdays or errands on the weekends). I can not stand to come home to an unmade bed. Maybe this is why….

    3) I sometimes don't sleep in my bed at night! I like to vary my sleeping spots. My favorite was the brown recliner chair that would not fit up the apartment stairs, so we brought it to Goodwill. Now I have a choice of two couches, a futon and a bunk bed.

    4) I must have coffee in the morning to kickstart the day. I’m not really a morning person but have worked office hours for years and years. So have put some habits in place to get to work on time and relatively awake.

    5) Relating to #4, I have two alarm clocks set every work night. Neither is electronic, as when we lived in the country the electricity would often blink off during the night and mess up my alarm clock. One is a battery travel clock, which I take with me for travel, the other an old-fashioned wind clock. The travel clock has a snooze button but I never use it. The wind clock goes off first and the travel clock 15 minutes later. The clocks are set a half hour ahead to make me think I have to hurry! The first clock is set (real time) for 4:30 AM.

    6) I have what I call the “Columbo Syndrome.” Have you ever seen that old detective show? Columbo will question a witness or suspect and then start walking away. He turns and comes back to ask one more question, usually the really hard-hitting question. I do this whenever I’m trying to get out of the house for work or to meet family or friends. I’ll be totally ready to go and suddenly decide, maybe I need to reorganize the plates in the cupboard, clean out the refrigerator, or some non-urgent task like that. Because of the “Columbo Syndrome” all the clocks in my house are set a half hour ahead of time and I pretend that it’s the real time. It drives my son and visitors nuts! They keep asking me, "But, what's the REAL time?" And they always get the same answer, just add a half hour to the clock time.

    I was going to use Fizzy's one about needing the closet door shut in the bedroom in order to sleep. But I’ve used up the six numbers and still have plenty of weird things left! None are earthshaking or things you haven't heard before. I think I've pretty much revealed most of my weird things somewhere and sometime on the blog. How about you, have you revealed all or most of your weird things?

    (I’m supposed to tag people but are there any volunteers?)

    It's Friday, have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Where was this woman when I needed her?

  • The Secret Language of Babies

  • (from the Oprah Show)
    For millions of sleep-deprived mothers around the world, this woman's findings could be a miracle! Priscilla Dunstan, a mom from Australia with a special gift, says she's unlocked the secret language of babies.

    When Priscilla was a toddler, her parents discovered she had a photographic memory for sound. At age 4, she could hear a Mozart concert on the piano and play it back note for note.

    Priscilla says her gift has helped her hear a special "second language" beyond English, allowing her to detect moods and even diagnose illnesses! "Other people might hear a note but I sort of get the whole symphony," Priscilla says. "So when someone's speaking, I get all this information that other people might not pick up."

    That mysterious second language took on an astounding new meaning when Priscilla became a mother to her baby, Tom. "Because of my gift for sound, I was able to pick out certain patterns in his cries and then remember what those patterns were later on when he cried again," Priscilla says. "I realized that other babies were saying the same words."

    After testing her baby language theory on more than 1,000 infants around the world, Priscilla says there are five words that all babies 0–3 months old say—regardless of race and culture:
    • Neh="I'm hungry"
    • Owh="I'm sleepy"
    • Heh="I'm experiencing discomfort"
    • Eair="I have lower gas"
    • Eh="I need to burp"
    Listen to the secret language of babies! (The link above has a video clip. Or, if the link doesn't work, as mine often don't, just Google "Oprah" and "Baby Language" and you will find it.)

    Those "words" are actually sound reflexes, Priscilla says. "Babies all around the world have the same reflexes, and they therefore make the same sounds," she says. If parents don't respond to those reflexes, Priscilla says the baby will eventually stop using them.

    Priscilla recommends that parents listen for those words in a baby's pre-cry before they start crying hysterically. She says there is no one sound that's harder to hear than others because it varies by individual. She also says some babies use some words more than others.

    The Dunstan Baby Language DVD is currently available. Visit to order your copy. (There's a book on it, too.)

    Priscilla met with eight new mothers, along with their nine newborn babies, to help them understand the universal language their children speak. Each mom says they cope with their crying child differently. "My husband and I have a list," says Jessica, the mother of twins. "First it's diaper change. Feed. Check the clothing. Put the pacifier in the mouth. Give them a bath. … In the end, nothing works."

    The constant crying creates a lot of stress and frustration for these moms. "You just feel absolutely helpless. You want so much to be the one to comfort them and to kind of shelter them from whatever they're feeling," says new mom Danielle.

    After Priscilla explains the cries, the moms are shocked to learn their babies are actually talking to them! After two hours with Priscilla, all nine babies are comfortable, happy and quiet.

    "Who would have thought that all of our babies are trying to tell us something and we just didn't know it the whole time," says Erica, another new mom. "So it's amazing."

    My thoughts are, of COURSE their babies are trying to tell them something! It's just that finding out exactly what that communication means is one of the tough parts about being a parent. I want this woman to come to my work and detect the moods and secret feelings of my co-workers. Well, maybe not. Have a great day!

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Feeling like a ballerina

    The trip is over and I’m back. It may have been only a couple of days duration but seemed ever so much longer than that. As always, with any type of travel, there are a lot of big and little things that it will take several days for me to think back on and gather my thoughts. Some highlights, if one could really call them that, were:

    -The large, used hypodermic needle lying on the airport restroom floor, and the look of horror on the incoming lady’s faces as they gingerly walked around it.

    -The 50-60 F degree weather and pansies (flowers) still blooming in Washington. It was like stepping back a season in time, very nice and balmy.

    -A late night room service cup of fruit in which every piece I tried (five in all, I was really hungry) tasted like mold. You’ll be happy to know that I didn’t swallow. This tasty meal was listed as $9 but had a delivery charge, and 20% added to that, then taxes to total nearly $20.

    -Walking walking walking and standing standing standing all day, every day. I felt like a ballerina. You know, the painful bloody feet in toe-shoes challenge.

    -The really cushy, wonderful hotel bed. Wish I could have taken it home with me, we were a perfect match. I wish we had spent more time together.

    -A hotel gift shop the size of a small closet. But that didn’t really matter because it wasn’t open anytime when I was back at the hotel. So much for that great idea….

    -Not enough food, water, sleep or most horribly—coffee, for all of those days. Yes, I still have the headache from hell as a trip souvenir.

    -Dashing through the airport (remember O.J. before the “not guilty” doing that old commercial) to make the connection to get home.

    -Waiting for nearly two hours (in 34F weather with only a sweater, good thing the batteries were still working to listen to some lively music to keep warm) for son to pick me up from our home airport. It was nice of him to volunteer, but, um, I wish I’d known it was going to be two hours so I could have made other arrangements, like maybe WALK home with all my stuff. I think I got from DC to Minneapolis faster than that! On second thought, I guess waiting was much better than walking and they don't allow pedestrians on the interstate bridge.

    Well, that pretty much sums up my trip. As you probably can discern, my friends and family really needn’t be envious of my paid travels for work. It certainly feels like it ought to be a Friday today and not another work day. And how has YOUR week been so far?

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    Leaving on a jet plane

    Well, it's Friday at last but I'm not going to have a full weekend. I have to start travel for work on Sunday morning for a big event in Washington, DC on Monday. I love DC, but have only been there twice. The last time was last year and it was a work trip, all work. I didn't get to see anything except (as I always say to envious friends and family)through the plane windown, the cab window and the hotel window! They think I'm joking, that I can secretly steal away and go tourist-ing. I'm not joking or exaggerating, but that's why they pay me to travel, to work, not to have fun, sightsee or vacation.

    I still have lots to do for this trip that's only a day away! And that little time will be cut into by spending Saturday with Mom. I still have to go to the bank and get a wad of cash for tips, etc. But my main problem is SHOES. I have several dressy pair but none comfortable enough for standing all day for 15 hours. I may need to make an emergency shoe shopping expedition. This time of the year isn't a good time to have to do that with all the Christmas shoppers. Also I need to get those little 3 oz bottles of everything and put them into a quart plastic bag in my suitcase because of carry-on restrictions. Can I still bring apples in a suitcase now? They're my breakfast before a long day and sometimes late dinner, too. And oh, I'm not sure which blouse will go with my best suit. Hope I don't have to go on an emergency blouse-shopping mission, too, yikes. I think I've been in denial about this impending trip!

    When I first started traveling for work I was amazed at the things I couldn't just go out and buy once I had arrived. For one thing, there's no extra time, and for another, hotel gift shops don't have things like apples, my favorite shampoo, the right nylons, or shoes! They do have GIFTS though! So I'm going to (try) to pack light so I can fill my suitcase with stuff from the hotel gift shop. My friends and family loved when I gave them knick-knacks from my travel for Christmas last year. It was a big hit unlike my normal have-no-idea-what-to-get-them Christmas gifts.

    So I'll be gone and non-blogging until about Wednesday or so. Have a great weekend and a good start to next week!

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Will it, or won't it?

    Brrr, it's cold outside! And not too balmy here inside, upstairs in the house, either. I should have been watching the weather more closely as we've had a sudden cold snap. The current temps are -5 °F / -21 °C with a windchill of: -26 °F / -32 °C AND I DON'T HAVE THE JEEP PLUGGED IN! This is a big oh-oh, as it doesn't like cold and I bet it won't start. So I'd better get ready for work early enough to catch the bus, just in case.

    It's nice, and I'm lucky to have a bus stop across the street from my house. But now that we've moved our offices, it's going to be quite the hike (in that chilly weather) to get to work once I get off the bus. Sure hope the jeep starts! Have a great day!

    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Alternate Routes

    Yesterday was the first day of our new temp at work, so it was a busy day and went by quickly. I was on my way home when, almost too late I saw the huge lineup of stopped cars--all the way across the interstate bridge! It was slippery and there had been an accident up on the bridge. The truck in front of me took the very last possible exit before getting into that mess and I have them to thank for pointing the way.

    I quickly did the same and tried the next freeway ramp, it was also blocked. I drove to the other side of the city on regular streets to take the other interstate bridge to my now-not-so-new home state. By the time I was finally approaching home I was thinking, bet it took me longer to go all the way around than it would have taken to just sit in the lineup and wait for the traffic to move again. But no, the first bridge was still clogged when I passed within blocks of it to go home. Do you look for an exit when trapped in traffic, or just wait patiently?

    At home we were nearly out of milk and bread but it was already cold and dark. I didn't want to walk and didn't want to drive to the nearby gas station for supplies. Guess we need to get out the shovels and clear the sidewalks. Once again we are feeling the effects of a corner house--sideswalks from both angles, lots of shoveling! Every house I have bought on my own in town has been a corner house, all three. When I was married we had reasonable, middle of the block houses and rental apartments. I must like the look of a corner house, only one close neighbor, lots of room and open space. What sort of house/apartment are you prone to choose, middle houses/apts or corner lots?

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Yet Another A-ha Moment

    You'd think at my age I would have a lot of self-knowledge. After all, I've hung out with myself for years and years! But there still are a lot of those a-ha moments and yesterday was one.

    I had brought the two small loaves of cranberry bread to work for the staff meeting. Only the Boss and her second-in-command also remembered to bring bread. It's a good thing we didn't have a contest like the Boss had wanted or I would have come in last. Funny thing but who you are makes more difference than the actual product when it comes to popularity. My bread was barely touched. I think two guys each had a piece of it none of the women had any but ate the 1st and 2nd bread instead. So we didn't need to take a vote on it. Even if a person doesn't say a word, with cooking eating or not eating it is the vote yea or nay!

    Even though it was a "quick" bread I had gone to some trouble, squeezing fresh oranges, grating the rind, breaking up the walnuts, etc. and brought a quarter of real butter to spread on it. I had a piece of my own forlorn bread later in the day--and it was delicious. It had turned out very well and (I think) far better than the other two. It was sort of embarrassing, hurtful and even made me a bit angry. I certainly didn't expect my little bread to be the belle of the ball but I thought people would eat it, at least. Just about any free food gets eaten up during a day at the office.

    I brought the remains home to son, who devoured it with appreciation. And I also vowed to "forget" to bring food to work again! But as I finished the laundry and did things around the house, I kept thinking about it. How much I hate cooking, and realized that yesterday was exactly WHY I hate cooking (or baking). I hate being judged on it. It's like doing a favor for someone and having them criticize it instead of being grateful. It's an icky feeling for me.

    Food tastes are such a personal thing yet I was raised to appreciate the cooking and the food that was placed before us. I just find it rather harsh and rude when (most) people don't. In "Ann Landers" or somewhere I read that a hostess should call and talk to her guests about their food likes and dislikes. To me that's going too far, he/she isn't a restaurant to be cooking up special foods on demand! I was raised to politely push food around on my plate and say I wasn't hungry rather than whine about onions and pick them out, or other such impolite actions. To me good manners is eat the food offered, if at all possible, and try to find something nice to say about it.

    On the other hand, if I know a person doesn't like a particular food, I will avoid cooking with it, of course. I think family members and those who eat regularly probably should let the cook know their likes and dislikes--but if they are really really picky about their food, just maybe they ought to do at least some of the cooking themselves rather than continue to be the food critic!

    OK, this has turned into a bit of a rant but it was interesting to discover why I hate cooking so much! What are your thoughts on cooking special foods for guests and eating/not eating foods other people have cooked for you?

    Monday, December 04, 2006

    A long to-do list

    Well, I had a good but too short weekend. How was yours? I took my Mom out on both Saturday and Sunday and so didn't get most of the many things I was planning to do at home. Like hanging the Christmas lights, cleaning, putting hay on the garden beds, finish painting the shelves, changing the bulbs in the front yardlight (need tools and a ladder), grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, Christmas cards and some other stuff. That's a long list of undone stuff! So what, exactly did I do all weekend?

    Well, I did the laundry, recycling and garbage, and lots of dishes throughout the two days, so did accomplish a few chores this weekend. And baked two small loaves of cranberry/orange nut bread for work. I don't know when I last baked anything. Oh, well maybe I do. Guess that cornbread I made wasn't too long ago. The bread is called a "quick" bread but it really wasn't all that quick. It took time to chop up all the cranberries and walnuts, grate the orange peel and then juice three oranges. It took an hour to bake, too. Hope it turned out OK. Today we are supposed to each bring a bread for the staff meeting. I'll bet that some people will forget or "forget" to bring theirs! Monday is kind of a bad day to remember stuff like that.

    Did a few, very few chores on Saturday morning and then had to go to the library to return videos and books. I stayed there just long enough to find a few more, about ten minutes, then went to pick up my Mom. We went to the 10th Anniversary of the Artist's Coop. It's a large old school with living spaces and studios for the artists. I have wanted to live there since it opened! My Mom has sold her artwork in the past, so she was interested too.

    Well, the building was interesting, but not very accessible. The front had steep stone steps so I parked in the back but the (accessible, no stairs) back door was locked. Another woman drove up as I was trying and of course she couldn't get in either. A guy who lived in the building luckily came by and let us in. I had to run to catch the door as he said he couldn't wait for us. So that meant I couldn't help my Mom walk up to the door, but she did OK. The other woman parked and came so I had to hold the door open for her, too. Then we walked quite a long ways, down basement hallways until we came to the elevator. It was locked. To go upstairs was two flights of stairs and to go back was the miles of hallway. My Mom decided she'd try the stairs. She got upstairs OK and we did some looking around then took the elevator (which was unlocked at that level) to see studios on other floors.

    On the top floor was the most beautiful studio ever! The black and white photo in the morning newspaper didn't do it justice. It was a huge space, with huge windows overlooking the lake. A circular "gallery" was up above. My Mom was pretty tired by that time and the artist invited her to sit while I went upstairs to look in the balcony. The other studios were great too, but none as fabulous as the one on the top of the building. My poor Mom was worn out by that time but didn't want to leave yet so she sat in the reception room listening to the live music. I only looked at a couple more studios and then came back, so as to not leave her sitting alone too long.

    As I was coming back an apartment door opened and a tiny woman dressed as a belly dancer came out. Four children came out the door with her, too, the two little girls also each wore a coin belt and a pretty sash. I said something to the oldest girl (probably about 4 or 5 years old) and she swayed her arms and shimmied for me to shake her coins. It was cute. Soon after I rejoined my Mom in the reception room, the family started setting up music and taking off their shoes. My Mom enjoyed the belly dancer most of all. Her kids sat in the front row and when she went out into the audience to dance for individual people, her pack of kids followed her going, "Mom" "Mom" it was adorable. She tried to get the little girls to come out and dance too but they stood wide-eyed with their thumb in their mouth at the large audience, bright lights and cameras. The woman who sat next to us (who lives in the building) said that the woman teaches belly dance every Tuesday night. I wonder if her kids are all there in class too?!

    On Sunday I picked Mom up to go to the book signing. It was a classy event with a man pouring beverages and a string quartet. There were quite a few other local authors but I found the one I knew, bought her book and had it autographed. My Mom found a book at another table which she bought and had autographed as a gift, too.

    Well, the long list of to-do's are still undone and there is a long list at work, too. We're having an open house in about two weeks! There are still ROOMS full of boxes to unpack and put away, somewhere. Guess who's doing all of that? Well, off to work to get started on the week. Have a good day!

    Sunday, December 03, 2006

    Isn't seven a lucky number?

    An old friend called me at work on Friday. She didn't have my new home phone number and it was the only way she could reach me. She hasn't seen me for awhile so asked, "What's new?" Now that could have taken up a lot of time I should have been working, but I gave her just the highlights. The main item being that I have moved seven times this year.

    No, the math isn't off. I moved again this past week. Remember that when we moved to the new office suites and building that I (temporarily) had a private office? Well, that ended on Friday when I had to pack up my stuff and move to the front desk. The front desk is new and beautiful but I quickly found it there are no cubbies, storage or hiding places for my work. It's a gorgeous desk meant for a pretty person to sit and answer the phone, greet and direct visitors, and maybe write appointments in a schedule book.

    My job isn't like that at all. I do travel, mailing and accounting work with lots of catalogs, books, envelopes, forms, mail, timesheets, receipts and stuff. Lots and lots of different sized papers going in and out, in other words. Paper that is all right out there in the open on an open expanse of desk. It looks terrible, cluttered and messy despite my best efforts. The Boss is not going to like how it looks. I'm really very neat and organized at work (not necessarily at home, though!) but the desk doesn't reflect that. In order to keep it looking neat I'd have to sit there and do nothing.

    The desk at the former office was tall with a large shelf overhang. I could push what I was working on under the overhang to conceal it. Also there were shelves with doors and other great spots to store books and catalogs. It wasn't a pretty desk but so much more functional than the one I have now. Who would have known that I would think back on my former front desk fondly?!

    Well, here I am thinking of work on a Sunday! Typical of me, though. Today I'm going to a book signing of a woman I met through work. She has a great book on John Deere tractors that I'm going to buy and have autographed for my nephew's son. That will be one Christmas present, only about 33 more to buy and wrap! How are YOU doing on the seasonal activity of Christmas shopping? Oh, and there's Christmas cards to get out, too. I was going to make my own but since it's already so late, maybe not. Have a great Sunday!