This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I Want to Work at the Library

I love love love the library. I have ever since I was young enough to be introduced to one.

My days at Clark AFB included time well spent at the library. As amazing as it is today, I had free reign to roam the base during my middle school years. We had a bus system on the base and I would either walk to my destination or ride a bus. And walk/rides included going to the library.

I remember my BFF at the time, Sherilynn Cook hanging out there...with Bobby Gonzalez, a beautiful boy that made me state to my grandfather "When I grow up, I am marrying a Mexican!"

I spent endless hours perusing all the books that I could read. I signed up every summer for the library's summer reading program. Back then, there were no goodie bags for doing the program. You just did it. The honor system. And I did that. I jotted every book down that I read and filled it up by the end of summer.

We would go on vacation to Camp John Hay, which is in Baguio...the "mountains" of the Philippines. I'd spend as much time at the library there as I would taking a warm shower (at our home in Angeles City, we had *only* cold water...I still remember the gasps of breath I took those first few minutes of a cold shower).

And my pursuit of libraries continue until now. Although "now" is more technological: browse for books through the online library to order and have delivered for me to pick up. But there are still the days that I take my kids there and browse through all sections that I feel like perusing.

I also subscribe to two library newsletters: Duraleigh and Leesville. I tend to skim over most newsletters for anything that catches my eye (I have an impatient-ADD personality when it comes to reading anything online) but with these two newsletters, I read through them very thoroughly.

Imagine my surprise when I found this blog. Wow. The first posting reeled me in. I love that these "librarians" are passionate about their books (and blase about the popular picks) and POST A POST ON A BLOG THAT'S ON WORDPRESS! That, my dear, is dedication.

It's what I would do if I were a librarian.

The Aftermath

What happened after day one of Swim Practice? We went to day two and three of swim practice.

In fact, I had a conversation with Mi-Mi after day two, as we walked our new puppies together. I told her that I was really nervous about swim practice and thought she would be so upset with me for signing her up. She looked at me with such a quizzical look on her face and said "Why would you think that? I am so thankful you signed me up! I can't think about anything else at school except swim team!"

Wow. Not only was I wrong, but I was 180 degrees WRONG.

And day two and three of swim practice she flourished. Yes, she still struggles but she listens to every thing her coaches say. Her arms are coming straight out of the water and she likes doing the "back rocket" on her belly.

I emailed the head coach and told her about this whole thing: how Mi-Mi struggled but that she loves it and how I thought she and her coaches have done an amazing job with these kids. She wrote me back, telling me how thrilled she was to hear this. And it was touching...because sometimes, I am so jaded in the human spirit that I don't realize that there are people that really do like working with kids.

Anyway, I told Mi-Mi that she was my hero. She still didn't understand why that was. I told her: you inspire me. If I am afraid to do something, like do well in a race, or anything like that, I'll think of you and it'll make me work hard.

And it might even make me swim like her. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Swim Team Practice

Yesterday was MiMi's first day of swim team practice.

I had this planned since last summer: both my girls were going to do swim team, dammit. When it became a reality, CJ turned white with fear and begged me to not sign her up. MiMi was a bit laid back about it: sure. Why not? Sign me up.

So I did and yesterday was day one.

I didn't know what to expect. I just couldn't believe MiMi was lined up with so many kids (that we don't know) and was not looking back to me with fright. She just stood and waited for...what?

And she was on the deep end of the pool. The dreaded deep end that Tim had warned her not to go to unless one of us was with her. So I mentioned to the swim coach "she might be a little nervous about the deep end". Coach just kind of blew right over me (in a nice way).

Next thing I know, another coach says "100 yards of freestyle!" And the whistle blows and she yells "Group one GO!" and off go a group. And it continues...and MiMi is lined up for a group and the whistle blows and? SHE JUMPS INTO THE DEEP END AND STARTS SWIMMING THE LENGTH OF THE POOL!

OH MY GOD. I was about to stroke out.

Where is the person to help my little girl out? Where is someone to make sure she doesn't drown? She doesn't swim IN THE DEEP END OF THE POOL.

And then I saw her stop at the side of the pool... I wondered "is she catching her breath or trying not to drown???!!!" And then she would continue to swim. This was her pattern. I saw some other children struggle. I had to compare. But I was so scared that she would be upset that she had to stop. I just wanted to go to her and tell her "you're doing great! don't worry! you can stop as often as you want! i can't believe you are doing this!!"

After the freestyle, the next several 100 yards was to swim with their hands above the heads, on their back. She did this last year, during swim lessons, but NEVER AGAIN SINCE.

And she struggled. I saw her go to the side of the pool and tears in her eyes. She was upset. Then I struggled: do I go to her and save her from this overwhelming mess that I put her in??? And then I saw one of the other coaches, a male, go to her and pull her out of the pool.

And then he sat with her and was talking to her. I thought: yes, he's consoling her! And instead, I see him straighten his back, poke his head straight up and she was doing the same thing. I realized he was giving her instructions on what to do. In a few minutes, he would place her back into the pool and she would struggle some more, but she would struggle to the end of the pool.

She had a couple more breakdowns, where she had to get out of the pool. But she would jump back in and swim...or at least try to do it. Except for freestyle, she struggled with every stroke they had.

I just knew the coaches would tell me "she's not ready for this" but before they would tell me that, MiMi would tell me, in tears, "i'm never doing this again".

When Tim got to the pool, I ran to him, upset: She is having a hard time! I tell him. He gets there and watches in disbelief as she jumps into the DEEP END of the pool. He's walking alongside her, as she swims. WHAT IS HE DOING? HE'S GOING TO UPSET HER!! I think. I had struggled from my lawn chair: do I watch her and worry that she might be embarrassed? or do I read and act like it's no big deal, only to worry she might think I'm disappointed and therefore, not watching?

So, you can see, I had one of the most stressful events in my life yesterday. I saw one father, walking alongside the pool, yelling at his son not to stop. "Why are you stopping?!" I wanted to go to that guy and tell him "Show some respect, asshole! It's an amazing thing your son is DOING THIS!" then kick his ass into the pool. But I couldn't focus on him except for a minute...

This lasted 45 long minutes. When it was done, Tim was waiting for MiMi with a towel. When I got to her to hug her and tell her how proud I am of her, and apologize for signing her up for this...she was all smiles. The first thing she said was "I like the freestyle!"


As Tim came out with the questions that I would have tiptoed around, we found that she liked it. Her tears were out of frustration for not being able to do the backstrokes. And, she claimed, she was ready to do this all over again.

This morning, she said to me: I'm glad you signed me up for swim team. Now I get to swim a lot and learn new things.

Yet again, this little girl shows me a personality I can't believe can be possessed at 7 years old.

I need valium to get through this season.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

I read The Sugar Queen and Garden Spells in November; I declared Sugar Queen my favorite novel of 2009.

I quickly became a Facebook Fan of Allen and noticed she was releasing her third novel in March of this year. I couldn't wait. But wait I must and finally, I finished the book.

And it was wonderful. Allen has an incredible story-telling talent that makes me feel like some of the mystical characters can do to others: I feel warmth, happiness, I glow.

And this is a common theme that Allen has in her novels: the ability to make me feel warm and happy...and to glow...while I read her words.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon is set in the sleepy BBQ town of Mullaby, North Carolina. Emily comes to live with her grandfather, Vance, after her mother passes away.

Emily realizes that she knows nothing about her mother as a young girl and learns the hard way that her mother was not the ideal person before becoming a mother. Emily deals with hostile welcomes and being shunned by town folk for the things her mother had done as a young girl.

But she has an ally in her neighbor Julia, who, despite being a target of Dulcie's (Emily's mother) teasings, puts Emily under her wing and defends her against the hostile folks of Mullaby, NC.

There are two concentric story lines here: one of Emily and what she learns about her mother, and how she impacts her mother's legacy; the second of Julia and how she finds forgiveness and leaves the past behind.

There is sadness: I cried quite a few times throughout this story. It touched my heart: the heartbreak of finding out the boy of your dreams doesn't really want you; the cruelty of kids towards other kids; the vulnerability to let down your guard knowing the risk of being hurt...again. Allen pulled at my heartstrings in so many ways, but uplifted it too.

It's a wonderful story from an amazing storyteller. The intricate way that she has, at weaving in mysticism into real just makes sense. The idea that one could see sweetness coming off cakes? I can see that being real.

The story involving Emily, and the mysterious, but dapper Win Coffey, has an element of Twilight to it, which gave my heart a flutter or two.

Thank you again, Sarah Addison Allen, for bringing me another joyous read. How you do that in only 269 pages is truly a gift.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just Like A 7 Year Old

Mi-Mi has boo boos from running and falling on the playground, off the monkey bars, or any other play that first graders do.

And guess what? So do I.

This will come off as more boasting, similar to my hump day for those who do not work with me, I apologize.

I have scrapes on my knees. No, not from what Tim likes to think (the only way one can scrape knees) but from my Enviro Training program, in which we are outdoors, doing push-ups or some weird ab exercise. I'm fit but sorry, I can't do that many straight-leg push-ups. Although I'm getting better...:)

My forearms have bruises from wallyball. BTW, Carlos and I are 3-and-1 in the mixed doubles league.

My upper arms have bruises from what, I don't know.

And after yesterday's Amazing Race adventure, I proudly wear a big ass bruise on my inner right ankle, from being tied to Frank's leg.

And then there's the cut on my bottom lip. Not from a wayward wallyball attack, but from those eety-beety toenails from one of my new pups.

I could say that I must look like a bruised and battered woman to my fellow friends but (un?)fortunately, they look like I do.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not Your Normal Hump Day

What do you do on a Wednesday at work?

Here's what I did:

I attended a meeting @ 8 AM, then another one @ 9 AM, in which I spent about seven minutes talking my points.

At 11AM, I was ready and warming up for a 5K at my company's workplace. It's a race they hold every year for National Employee Health & Fitness Day.

This course is HARD. I didn't train for it, nor have I ran regularly. Me and my running buddies created a pool, predicting our finish time, with the closest predictor winning. The caveat? No ipods. No watches. Only instinct.

This is my third year (but fourth time, I think) running this race. Last year, I actually won my age group (for females). I had to suck up my ego and accept the fact that I was in better running shape last year (In hindsight, I also noticed that women in my age group that are faster than me did not run in last year...but before the race, I did not know this.)

I predicted 28:00 and had regrets that I ever picked that time. Did I mention the course is hard? I ran it a few weeks ago in 32 minutes and that felt fast & hard.

But I decided to stick to that time and hope that race adrenaline would carry me through.

And it did. But not just race adrenaline. My friend Eric...I ran with him for a bit. In fact, we ran with another friend Steve, and had two guys behind us talk work for a good portion of the run. Not just talk, but breathless and loud. And really into the details.

About quarter mile in, Steve says 'no developer talk1', to which Eric said something like 'it is distracting as hell!' Somehow, one of the talkers decided to bring me into it and asked if my tattoo was a lion or a dragon. I breathlessly said "Dragon" and later "That's all I'm going to say now" because, THIS COURSE IS HARD and even a quarter mile into the race, I was having a hard time.

So talker #2 continued to chat effortlessly but more like, to talker #2 "you said we could talk about work! you said we could!" and then said to me, "We could do hand gestures" to which I replied -- brilliantly, I might add...which, I'm always brilliant but in the middle of a race? Not so much... - "I have a hand gesture for you."

Talker #1 laughed (I know him; we attend weekly meetings together) and Talker #2 ran ahead and away.

Back to the run: it's chock full of hills. I lost Eric in the "middle" hills...he ran ahead of me. I knew Steve was still with me. Then another Erick, with a "K", said to me "pull me through this!" Well, I can't pull anyone through anything when I'm having a hard time but I ended up running with him for a section. But he too pulled ahead and I'm left on my own.

To deal with yet another long hill.

I know the end is near. The bad part is the end is UP. A long, gradually but sharp UP. And it ends when the finish line is.

I wanted to walk. But who walks to the end? Let me be specific: who walks to the finish line of a 5k?

But then Terrell came along and said 'let's race to the end', or something like that. But I was too far to want to push myself so I created a point and told him that's when we'll push it. And we did, and he let me finish before him (I love Southern gentlemen!) and I made it in 28:30. I actually heard "28:89" but we know that's not a real time...

And I'm happy.

But that's not all!!

At 5PM, my running buddy Frank and I participated in a demo for a future work-fitness program. The program was based on the TV show The Amazing Race. We were the "gray" team, with our matching gray shirts.

The first task: find our first clue at our work soccer field. There were four places to find it; we found it at the second try.

Then we had a clue to go to the pool. Yes. My workplace has it's own pool. And guess what? It was the wrong pool! Because my workplace has pool *tables*. This is where our second clue was and it was a detour, which means, one team member has to complete the task. Frank volunteered and completed the task of counting tennis balls.

Once that was complete, our next clue was to bring one medicine ball to the gazebo by the tennis courts. Did I say tennis courts? Yes I did.

However, we nearly arrived at the tennis courts only to be reminded to reread the clue...which stated only ONE medicine ball should be taken. This meant we had to go back to the starting point to return one ball, then head back to finish the next clue.

The next clue was for the person who DIDN'T do the first task, to hold a medicine ball above their head, while climbing up/down stairs, 10 times. I ran those stairs for the first three times but then my arms were killing me. I was sweating like a freaking pig in 66 degree cool weather.

But I made it.

Then Frank and I had to tie one leg together, like a three-legged race, and find a place by the gym, that stores soccer equipment.

That was funny, as Frank and I were literally hugging each other as we walked with three legs. Once we made it to the checkpoint, we had to do 10 leg lifts. Once complete, we now had to make it to a building that has an outdoor, life-size chess board.

We ran to it, jumping over a creek...which made me feel a little adventurous (and I shall note: I am a proud card-carrying member of the non-adventurous club). We found the clue at the chess board and then had to run back to where we came from...only to be the 7th team to make it to the finish. Seven out of NINE teams.

Nonetheless, it was a great workout with a lot of fun with my BFF. I mentioned it was a demo was. This Amazing Race adventure will be offered in the Fall. At my work.

And while this was not a typical Wednesday in my work-life, it is NOT unusual. I am fortunate to be in an environment where my hump days can be extraordinary.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Step into My World

This morning, Mi-Mi was telling me about some of the things she does at school. What I loved most was her description of how they use the smart board at school to determine the weather.

She drew it all out on a piece of paper and described how there was a sentence on the screen with two icons.


She said "icons"!

She continued with ' select the icon and it gives you the weather forecast for Raleigh'.

I was so impressed and that she knows what an icon is. You may think: what's the big deal? But it's one of those quirky things that tickle me

You see, part of my job deals with icons. Yes, those teeny tiny little pictures that you can push, stare at, animate, glow, etc. in software.

I am pretty particular about icons and have been dubbed the "icon queen" or even better, the "icon nazi".

So for you software developers, not only will I critique your user interface, I *will* judge your icons. Much like bad grammar and typos, my opinion of software can be impacted by the icons that are used to represent 'things'.

So hearing Mi-Mi mention it just makes me feel like she's entered a part of my world that's not a part of hers (or the rest of my not-part-of-my-work family and friends).

Here's her "prototype" of what she does at school, with the whiteboard:

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Friend Jim

I first met Jim at Burroughs Wellcome in Greenville, NC. I don' know how it all happened, but we became good friends...and still are...

...despite the fact that he is a fiscal Republican, and I am anti-Republican.

But it has worked. We definitely disagree politically but I also have him pegged as a non-stereotypical republican. You know, the ones that I don't like.

Back at Burroughs, Jim and I were validation testers. We worked in a really cool facility, a Sterile Products Facility, that had little robots running around, as well as grand, automated pharmaceutical equipment in which we were testing.

During our breaks, usually one in the morning and one at lunch, a group of us would hang out in the cafeteria together, shooting the breeze. There were many, many, many heated conversations with Jim by me and my co-workers. And yet, the next day, we'd sit down with him again and talk some more...maybe get pissed again...rinse and repeat.

I don't think Jim was ever ticked off at us. He probably thought we were funny, getting all hot & bothered.

Most of the debates had nothing to do with politics. One debate in particular has forever been deemed "Jim's Zipper Effect". This was the discussion that Jim proclaimed: that driving in a merging lane to the end, then "merging" (AKA cutting in line) back into the through lane, was an efficient form of moving the line along. It's pretty funny, thinking back to how pissed off we got at him for this theory.

We also played tricks on each other. Course, I don't remember a trick he played on me. I'm *sure* he did. But I remember taking his work shoes -- being in a sterile products facility, we either had to wear shoes intended for use in the facility, or those hospital booties over our shoes -- and re-lacing his laces, but tying a hard knot in each lace hole of each shoe, then tying the laces of each shoe together with a lot of knots.

I am still laughing to this day about that prank. I thought it was HILARIOUS and BRILLIANT at thinking up that prank.

I was surprised at how upset Jim got about that. I guess it's hard to undo knots with big fingers.

But we moved past that and enjoyed many lunches outside of the company together. He'd make fun of my music whenever I drove.

And then there was the "date". I can't remember entirely but I *think* this was my own "going away" event. I was leaving Burroughs Wellcome for the big city ofRaleigh. And every time we had a celebration, someone leaving, etc. we had a get-together at BW3s.

Tim had to work late and I knew I was drinking a lot so I didn't want to drive. Jim volunteered to take me, and a few of our other co-workers.

I was the first pick-up and when I got to the car, I remember he walked me to the passenger door. Awwww...a true southern gentleman!

But this particular car, as he drove off and sped through the streets of Greenville, had a big rock or cinderblock, or some kind of boulder thing in the back.

He also added that he needed to change cars? or get something at his place. This was an odd turn of events for me because we were supposed to head over to pick other people up.

It was at this point in time that I thought Jim was going to kill me. He would take me back to his place, do what he would do, then use that rock and bash my head in.

I know he's reading this now and wondering "what the heck is wrong with you?" But Jim, it's true. I thought you were going to kill me.

You were the first (that I can remember) but you weren't the last...I found myself in similar situations (not with the rock) where I thought my good male friend was going to kill me. Most of those people know about my demented thoughts. You didn't. Now you do. :)

But I survived and he didn't kill me *with the rock*, but I thought he would with his maniacal driving skills.

So I left Burroughs and Greenville and we kept in touch. Jim somehow got lucky and met Elena, who was a student at the time, visiting the area. In time, she actually married him and they eventually lived in Singapore. And through the Clinton years until now, we were able to keep in touch.

Late last year, Jim and Elena, and their triplets, made it back to the US of A. Not just this country, but in Raleigh itself! How is that for a small world?

And last weekend he came by to say hello. It was a great surprise. And his dry humor was there, in full force, reminding me why I can befriend a Republican.

Thanks Jim :). You have been a great friend and I look forward to debating you more in the future.

Viva America!

I love when we look foolish. "We" being ignorant americanos. Forget the French, we are the rudest mother-fuckers in the world.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Manic Monday

My mornings are a bit busier now that I am a mom to two new "chicorgis" (chihuahua/corgi mixes). I have to get the pups out to the yard, one at a time to prevent one from just squatting in the house to do its business, which entails going from upstairs to downstairs, out the back porch into the yard, and then going back upstairs to get the other one.

I have Sunkist and Brenna to take care of too. Fortunately, Sunkist is up when Tim gets up, so he (the cat) is usually taken care of by the time I'm up.

This past Monday, I was up in time to hang out with CJ before she and Tim left for school and work. We noticed Sunkist staring intently at the bottom of the refrigerator as we talked about the day ahead.

After all were gone, except for me, Mi-Mi and the animals, I set out to water my newly planted garden, as well as watch the mutts play around the yard.

I let the mutts in on the porch and they ran into the house while I dilly-dallied, slow to enter the house.

But once I did, I became lost in a state of weird confusion. I heard an odd growling noise. Lucy, the new pup, is a growler. But it wasn't "her" growl but hey, we had her merely four days so this could be something new.

The only problem was, when I looked at her, she wasn't growling. Neither was her brother Ricky. And Brenna, she doesn't growl.

What is this noise, I pondered? I was extremely perplexed. The only thing left was Sunkist...who was standing in front of me, facing the pups, who were facing me. B

But they weren't facing me, they were staring, eyes agog, at Sunkist. Their tails were wagging like crazy and the dogs looked, well, awed and excited.

This is when I looked back at Sunkist, who appeared to have a stick sticking out of the left side of his head. Remember, I can see the back of Sunkist.

I then realized that the ominous growl was coming from Sunkist.

And I'm slow at math, so I never put two-and-two together: odd growl, stick in mouth, the earlier "staring intently at the bottom of the refrigerator".

None of that ever hit me. Instead, I just came around to the front of Sunkist to ask him what the heck was wrong, only to see a small mouse (with apparently a long tail!) tucked neatly into his mouth.

That didn't take any slow methodical calculating. I knew instantly what it was and I did what I knew I would always do (and probably always will) when I see a mouse, I screamed.

I think I jumped a good two feet in the air to get to the top of the bay window bench. Then I hurdled the dogs on the other side, ran through the dining room, the piano room, up the stairs, into my bedroom, shutting the door, shivering and screaming. Not screaming like "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH" but more like "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh".

Mi-Mi, in the meantime, had snuck (hey! just found out that "snuck" is actually NOT a word!) into my bed earlier in the morning and was fast asleep.

I cared not one bit. I could not control my uncontrolled self. I was doing the pee-pee dance, trying to shake off the image of what I had just seen. Every time it came back into my head, I shivered and stomped my feet. I was sweating like a pig.

I called Tim and just blabbered the whole experience to him. I remember before he knew what I had to say, there was either the words, or the tone, that sounded like "What now?"

He had to be the 911 operator to calm me down. "Calm down" I think were the actual words he used. Then next, he instructed me to get the animals (minus the cat) and make sure they were cordoned off. I didn't ask why, but at the time, it made a lot of sense. Yes. Save the animals.

While I was expressing my agitation, naturally, I woke Mi-Mi up. I sympathized: waking up to a manic mother is not something anyone wishes for. But at some point, I saw her clapping for Sunkist successfully capturing his prey in our house. She was happy.

Thankfully, Tim told me to leave Sunkist alone and let him do what cats do with mice. The only problem with that is, being a novice cat owner, the only stories I know of from cat owners about creatures that their cats get, were that they end up being presents for their owners or bloody messes somewhere in the house. NEITHER OF THESE WERE ACCEPTABLE TO ME.

Once I hung up, I looked at Mi-Mi and realized "I have to feed her" but that required going back downstairs to get food. I told Mi-Mi that she *had* to go down with me. And I did a Castanza: I made her walk in front of me, down the stairs, into the kitchen, while holding her shoulders. We would stop a bit, she would move away from me, look both ways, then tell me "CLEAR!", and I'd hold on to her shoulders as we walked into the kitchen.

The first try was a bust: Mi-Mi saw Sunkist and kind of made an expression of surprise. I DID NOT see Sunkist, but heard Mi-Mi's utterance and screamed bloody murder and ran back upstairs.

Technically, I left Mi-Mi but she ran right behind me screaming too.

We were holed back up in the bedroom as I tried to think about how the hell I was going to feed my 7 year old breakfast. I did NOT WANT TO SEE THE CAT OR THE MOUSE.

I can't quite remember what happened, but we did manage to get breakfast and rush back up the stairs.

I was able to get her off to school, without any more incidents (wasn't those enough?) and when I got to work, I realized I left my work laptop at home. This meant a trip back home, to who knows what!!

And yes, I freaked more. A smudged shoe print in the dark hall, on a dark floor, was the dead carcass of the mouse (I didn't know it was a smudged shoe print until later that day). I had to walk by what I thought was the dead mouse, shielding my view - LITERALLY WITH MY HAND COVERING ONE SIDE OF MY FACE - so as not to see it.

But alas! There was no carcass to be found. I saw no signs of blood in the house. Well, let me get it straight: *Tim* found no signs of blood or mouse in the house. I didn't see any by not trying to find any.

I asked Mi-Mi, when we were home from school and work, to inspect Sunkist for signs of dried blood and none were found (I'll take her word for it; makes my happy to have these thoughts). So really, I have no idea what happened to the mouse.

I do know that Sunkist seems to be a bit of a kick in hist step. It's like he's tasted the life of a predator and now, he's king of the jungle.

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled that he did this and I regret that I probably freaked him out for his first kill...but I'm not sure I can be any saner if this happens again.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Solution

I loved this clip, from The Daily Show, with John Hodgman coming up with a brilliant solution to the dirty bastards from the Catholic church who molest children. It's seriously not that insane, given the fact that these assholes are the fuckers who are insane. The clip below is longer than the one with John Hodgeman...which starts at around the 2:00 minute mark:

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Oopsy! My Bad! But *YOU* Should Have Known...

I just read this article about a Texas family who was sent an $8000 electric bill.

It's not a mistake. They apparently owe that much money because the electric company made a clerical error five years ago, and this family was not being billed for their electric usage.

However, their gas was included on the bill these past years, so they have been paying their bills.

The funny, and typical, thing about this is: the electric company *still* points a finger at the homeowners.

If the homeowners read their bill correctly, they would have seen that:
"A bar graph on the bill shows how much of the amount owed is for gas and how much is for electricity."

So now it's the homeowners fault for _their_ fuck up. 'You should have seen we made a mistake and told us about it!'

Did I mention "typical"?

I'm not saying they shouldn't pay for this bill but to even hint that they have any fault in this is just wrong. Don't even go there.

A graph should alert a person to a problem? Well, being a graph person, I would say YES but the truth is, I think most people either 1)pay zero attention to the detail or 2) just accept a graph could be wrong and disregard it.

Boo-boos happen. Accept it, work with it, and move on. But the blame game, especially from a corporate giant, is just plain stupid, unethical and feeds into the stereotype of a greedy corporate bastard.

Freedom Run

I found this race, Freedom's Run, in an email from Precision Race last week. I didn't think much of it but followed the link and was swept off my feet.

The image of the little town on the home page mesmerized me. I love quaint towns, those tucked away little places that no one really knows exist...nor takes the time to find. Running, fortunately, takes care of that and there's always a race in some little corner of the world that meets this criteria.

So, intrigued by this race, I read on. The full marathon course description tempted me to consider this for my first marathon:
The full marathon is a point to point with a small net elevation loss. You course 4.5 miles Harpers Ferry National Park, cover 10 flat miles on C&O Canal, roll over a country road to Antietam Battlefield for 2 miles, cover 5 rolling miles of the rich land of Antietam, and finish with 4.5 flat to downhill miles into Shepherdstown.

There was a small blurb on the half marathon route that was less descriptive however, the route merges with the marathoners to run through the Antietam Battlefield...and the idea to run through a historic battlefield stole my heart.

I read on to see that this is meant for all: the course for both full and half marathon is open for a full 7 and 5 hours (respective of each course) for walkers. I LOVE that idea. It's meant for the experience, not the competitiveness.

And there is no reward money for winners, which means to me, no one who is in it to win money will sign-up. If they are competitive runners, they are going to run this for the experience.

And it's in October, which gives me plenty of time to ramp up my (now lazed) running power.

The only downside is that it interferes with my planned Anna's Angels 10 miler, which is the Sunday before this race. No, I don't care to run 10 miles before my half. I will have enough races to run, nearly every other week, in the Fall, that I want to "pace" myself and run each race well...which will be hard enough with the number of races I'll have.

I remember doing it this past fall and it wore me out, more mentally than physically. But this is also when (how?) I fractured my foot so I will be more careful about staying injury-free.

But I'm excited. And I just hope I make it to the end. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Help the Poor

The economy has affected so many people, in all walks of life. I hate hearing the terrible stories of people losing their homes, losing their jobs, losing their life savings.

And yet, there seems to be a lot of charity still in many of "us", in this great time of so many natural disasters: earthquakes in Haiti and South America, the floods across the nation...we have no money, no job, but we are willing to help in anyway we can.

And then I hear this on my (my fave) podcast, Keith and the Girl, episode #1171.

And there is a website to help.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Facebook Family

MiMi asked me, a couple weeks ago, if she could have 'a facebook'. I said no.

She asked again a week later; Tim and I both said no.

But the other day, CJ and MiMi fought over a game that is on facebook and *I* set up MiMi a facebook account.

BTW, she's 24 years old.

But there is something innocent and wonderful about facebook from a seven year old's perspective.

The first thing she did, after requesting friendship from CJ's friends, was to post to their recent status updates:

"Hi ! It's MiMi!"

Then later she writes, in response to these girls in a separate thread:
"Hi guys! I love you and miss you two too!"

Note the proper usage of "two" and "too". I am so proud.

She also wrote on me and Tim's wall:



She's so GD sweet it makes my inside hurt so good.

I let her fill out her own bio. This is what she has:

Bio: i love pets
Activities: Playing with my Pets, Making Arts and Crafts, Going to the Spca
Hobbies: Reading, Art, Animals
Music: Ke$ha, Lady Gaga (she spelled Kesha correctly too)

She also posted this on her wall yesterday:

Can't wait until getting the puppies!thinking about them all day!

She is so sweet!! And for now, I find it endearing to see how she conducts herself on facebook.

Levels of Morality

So today I sent an email, telling my teammates for a work fitness program to "cheat" on a portion of the program.

One of the ways to earn points, besides eating and drinking right and exercising, is to attend Plan seminars (Plan being a program that helps a person with food and weight management). If you don't attend in person, you can watch them at your leisure anytime until the end of the fitness program.

So I said: hey, just play the seminars! Get your free 10 points by playing them! You don't have to listen!!!

So a fellow teammate called me out and stated that it wasn't fair play to do that and he didn't condone such conduct.

OK. He's right. I'm wrong. I don't dispute that.

But I thought he was overdramatic with his statement and then subsequently, someone else chimed in about 'i stand by this other guy's moral value'.

Um, MORAL value? Seriously?

You want moral value? Attend the seminar. Ten points watching on your own time is giving away the points. It's really not cheating. Cheating would be the things that are more relevant to my health: skipping exercise, not eating right, not drinking the water.

I listened to them. They are boring. They haven't provided a very good user experience for me, which subsequently annoys me. So I end up half listening because the only hour I am willing to give up of my valuable time is to listen to these is during work. I look at completing these as a "take one for the team". There is nothing moral/ethical to me about this portion of the game.

And others in the program have told me *the same thing*. But I was the only dumb ass that wrote it. I have to pick my battles so if there is some hypocrisy and the decision to *pick this* particular case to have a holier than thou attitude, so be it. The 'I am a such a good person that I can't deal with such abhorrent behavior' win.

But who am I to judge?

I am the person, who the previous day, ran down a stranger (in my car) who passed me in my neighborhood because he sped over the 25 mph neighborhood roads then PASSED on the left hand side of, did I mention, a neighborhood road!!

I flipped. I laid on the horn, followed behind him, yelled expletives out of my window and told him to stop. He finally did and what did I do next? I pulled up to the left of him, blocked his car, rolled down the passenger window, and screamed the living hell at him.

Blocking traffic on both ends.

My kid is in the passenger seat.

His kid is in the passenger seat.

Neighbors are nearby, staring in disbelief.

Just yards from the school.

An elementary school.

So who am I to say that my teammates were overdramatic after that scene? That's why I sucked it up and tucked my tail in between my legs and proclaimed how wrong I was. After all, we all have something that we pick to draw the line on...although I wouldn't say that I was necessarily right with my neighborhood scene either.

C'est la vie!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Spring Fever

Wednesday evening is all when it began.

A tickle in the throat.

Perhaps maybe it started even earlier...a very sneezy beginning of the week.

Thursday, definitely a more sore throat. But, I put in my first Enviro Training.

It got worse. It's the worst part of getting sick: that burning sore throat that hurts like hell every time you swallow.

I tried numbing it with wine. Let me tell you: it works. It may not numb the soreness, but it helps me ignore the pain.

The night "sleep" sucked: waking up, what seems like every 15 minutes, to the most intense sore throat ever. When I got up Friday, the throat was pretty raw. I had no voice. I resorted to writing notes to MiMi, to which she kindly wrote me back vs. speaking to me. :)

I stayed home to recover. This included going to the doctor and making sure it wasn't strep. Don't know if it was OFFICIALLY because he didn't test for it but did give me a prescription for antibiotics just in case it got worse over the weekend.

Thankfully, after I ruminated over whether I should or shouldn't get the prescription, Tim convinced me to just take it, because it did, in fact, get worse over the weekend.

But did that stop me from NOT resting?

Friday afternoon I took CJ and MiMi to get CJ's ears pierced, only to end up with my own piercing and CJ none. Then it was off to shopping for a birthday present for CJ's BFF on Saturday.

Saturday was spent at the spa - pedicure for me and facial/mani/pedi for CJ. As the afternoon wore on at the spa, I was ailing more. I had to skip dinner with the girls because I felt so crappy.

But still managed to shop for dinner and cook it that evening.

Then Sunday was meet Glenda and Gregory day and while I was in pain, nothing was going to stop me from that. In our excitement, we rushed to PetSmart to get supplies so that we were ready for the new additions when they arrived later this week.

Came back home for rest? Nope. I wanted to pitch in and help set the room up for the new pups - Tim tearing up and MiMi rolling it up to discard.

Time for rest. But only for a little bit before we rolled back out to Lowe's to get even more supplies to get the puppy room ready.

And it just got worse from there. My head felt awful. And perhaps, about the last 30 minutes before I fell asleep, I actually felt better.

But now, Monday morning? I feel like shit. Not only do I have my cough, my snot, and my head throbbing like crazy, but now I have a sore ear to go along with it.

But at least my toes look purty!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Ear Pierces

CJ had her ears pierced several years ago, at one of those kiosks in the mall. We waited the requested three months and a bit more, then changed out the earrings in our excitement.


This is when the problems started happening and eventually, CJ was done with pierced ears.

A couple of years ago, I mentioned to her that a young girl, of about 8, had come into Dogstar (while I was there) to have her ears pierced. Rachel, who worked there, had explained to me how much more 'safe' and less problematic it was to pierce ears the way they do it (via needle) vs. the piercing guns at the kiosks in the mall. I later explained this to CJ and out of the blue a week ago, she mentioned she wanted to get her ears pierced at the "tattoo place".

Tim mentioned I should take her back to Dogstar (no, I haven't finished my tattoo) and have Rachel do it. So I called to set up an appointment with Rachel, only to find that she has not worked there for at least six months!! Has it really been that long since I was last there?

I knew of a place on Hillsborough Street that my friend Amy D. had gone to, so I called them up to see if they would pierce my 11 year old's ears. He explained to me the laws of the land and as long as I had proof that we were related as mom and daughter, he could do it. Even for my seven year old, even though I didn't think Mi-Mi would be ready.

So CJ hounded me day-after-day: when can we go to get my ears pierced. I finally mentioned it would be Friday or Saturday morning at the earliest. We went Friday, since I was home sick. We didn't go when I *felt* sick; more like when the drugs kicked in and I was amped up!

We hit Progress Body Piercing at a slow time, although it was lively while we were there. And gratefully, I still received one-on-one attention. I am grateful because 1) I think of this as excellent customer service and 2) I like to be the center of attention most times.

So Seth, my lovely man, was the center-of-attention-giver. We talked about the two options CJ had for piercing her ears and she made a decision on what she wanted....

...then I come along and ask about getting an indy bar in my ear. I had asked earlier in the week, when I called, so I had an idea of what it involved. What I didn't gather was, I apparently have vulcan ears and an indy bar would not look like I would like in my deformed ear.

Seth drew out a picture of my warped ear and showed me how flawed it was, and what the bar would look like in such a grotesque feature of an ear. I wasn't convinced that it wouldn't look like I had perceived, although I did think "yet another deformity I have inherited: sleestack head and now, vulcan ears.

As he pointed out other ways to make it work, I saw a three prong thingy and asked about that. The light bulb went off in Seth's eyes and he started working with my fucked up ear to see if it would work. It would, he said and it would be really cool. That's all I needed to hear and I was "IN".

We left so he could set up and take care of other customers. This is when we hit the "Purple House" on Glenwood, which is really called Turkish Delights. Me and the girls have wanted to try this place out in forever and finally, we made it happen. I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

But I noticed, after getting three separate scoops of ice cream for the three of us, CJ was not eating hers. This is a sign of illness, as CJ only picks at everything that is NOT ice cream. She told me she was nervous about getting her ears pierced. I told her there was no pressure for her to do it; she should do it when she wants...but to be prepared at how she might feel later for coming out to get it done, but not doing it.

This would not stop me. In fact, when we returned to Progress, Seth offered that I could come back when she was ready...I guess, a way out? But as mentioned before, I was amped and IN.

The girls would not come with me to the room to see it happen. That was probably good. It wasn't very painful. But this comes from someone who, dare I say, has a high tolerance for pain? But it's not the high tolerance that I have, but also, the *appreciation* for pain that makes this, um, less intimidating.

What I got is a "3 point industrial", which is three pokes of a puncturer (not a needle) into my upper cartilage.

After he marked the areas of where the holes would be put in, I laid down on my right side so he could work with the left ear.

He had me do some yoga breathing (my words, not his) to relax. As he got to the first puncture, he told me to take a long, slow, deep breath then when he said to release it? That's when the puncture took place. And yes, it does hurt but for me, not really...but I could hear the sound of a soft "pop" as the cartilage is punctured. That was cool and sick at the same time.

He then would put one side of the indy in and screw the back on, then finagle the indy to get placed correctly before proceeding.

So a three point indy means: I got three punctures. I had to endure this process two more times.

And the result? Amazing. Seth was all over it: 'this turned out better than I expected!' And I was, of course, amazed. More freaky than I had anticipated.

CJ and MiMi were not as happy as I was. Tim, of course, just sang superfreak when he saw it (he likes me like that ;)).

More gory details: blood everywhere. Who knew that much blood comes out those little parts of our ears?

This morning I had to soak it in salt water for about 10 minutes. When I got my ear out of there, I had a bowl full of bloody water. WOW! It had that much blood because it doesn't hurt that bad!

When I got to the bathroom to clean it up, I noticed one of the holes had a lot of dried blood...and a tress of hair next to it looked like it had bloody matter. WOW!

I cleaned it up by showering and rinsing it because, I would not have enough q-tips to clean up the amount of blood that poured out of my ear cartilage.

So here's what it looks like cleaned up: