Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Good Start

Walking into the clinic this morning, I see one of the facilities guys in the hallway. He is laughing it up with the person who is stocking the vending machine there. I'm bordering on late, but I slow down to say hello.

"Hey, Burt! How's it goin'?"

"Better now!"

I grinned all the way to my office, a new spring in my step. Great way to start a work day. Makes me want to "pay it forward" and put a smile on someone else's face tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Steady Rain

Lulled to sleep by a steady rain the last two nights -- ah, what a treat. It happens so infrequently since the drought took over, it is easy to forget how comforting the sound of rain pattering on the roof can be.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Winkin' Kitty!

a winkin' kitty
Happy Friday, everyone! This Friday CatBlogging post is dedicated to the original winkin' kitty. I'm sure she'd like it if you check out her new book lover's forum: Cyber City Bibliotheca. No doubt you'll recognize a few familiar screen names over there.

I'm exhausted from herding cats - figuratively at work, and literally at home (if two cats counts as a "herd"). The project I am involved with at work has to do with electronic medical records, and while we are evaluating paperless radiation therapy documentation, the physicians who are piloting this new system have to do it the new way AND the old way. Keeping track of them and making sure both get done (and match each other) is like herding cats. Add to that the changes that we are making in how the physics staff uses some the software applications, and you have a recipe for barely controlled chaos while we're sorting it all out. And a ton of extra work.

And at home, they've been painting the new porch this week. Guess where Zima and Moxy like to hang out now? You got it -- the new porch railings. So when we let them out in the evening, one of us has to stay with them and attempt to keep them away from the freshly painted porch. Now that Moxy has discovered that one of our birdhouses is occupied, we have a hard time keeping her out of that as well. Keeping two determined cats from going where they want to go in an open yard is a difficult assignment.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is It Over Yet?

Did the groundwonk see his shadow today? How about the polihog? They did? Aww, hell - that means there's six more weeks of campaigning coming.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The "two weekend project" that's been going on for six months...

... still not finished.

But much, much closer after this weekend's labors.

Before, during (oh, the horror!) and after photos to follow. When the project is finished, of course. No cheating. The trim and cabinet need at least one more coat of paint, I need to find replacement cabinet hardware and bath hardware that I like, and then I need to get my stuff out of PDM's bathroom and back into mine. Then there is the need to completely empty the linen closet and wash all of the drywall dust off of everything in it, because all exposed items and surfaces are powdery white. On the plus side, that stuff's needed to be reorganized for a long time, and it will be nice to put everything back in such a way that it can all be easily retrieved.

We did a few other random things around the house and yard as well, but the big news is the almost-complete half bath. I hope you had a productive weekend, and if not - I hope the reason you didn't get anything done was because you were too busy having fun.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Homemade porn surprise

A friend and I sent a few text messages back and forth yesterday and today, so when I saw that I had a new picture message titled "my girl" I assumed it was her sending me a picture of her baby. With that in mind, it took my brain a few seconds to figure out that what I was looking at was not, in fact, a small child. It was, in fact, someone's poor attempt at a pornographic self photo of her naked ass, using a cell phone and a mirror and not much else. I'll assume it was a woman, given the title - although it was not obvious from the photo. And now that horrible, unsolicited, literally ugly-ass photo is etched into my brain. What in the hell?!? Wrong number, I hope. Otherwise, someone in Louisiana is inflicting random people with ugly butt photos for no good reason.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Microsoft Word SUCKS!!!!!

It has ruined my entire day, and is making me want to slam my head repeatedly into a wall out of frustration. Why, oh WHY will it NOT DO what I want it to do?!? It is a simple thing, and it JUST. WON'T. WORK. I hate that I have spent my ENTIRE DAY wrangling with these piddly-assed format problems that have nothing to do with physics!!!!

Friday CatBlogging: Andy Warhol Edition


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


porch seen from back yard
The porch has come a long way since I last blogged about it. The permit issues are all settled and it has passed the foundation and rough electrical inspections. Work proceeds apace and we come home to more progress every day. We've made all the many decisions that needed to be made - tile color and pattern, how to hang the doors, shingles, and paint color. Now we just watch the thing take shape day after day, looking forward to having it complete and ready to enjoy. As always, new photos get added every few days to this Flickr set.

I'm also making progress on a big project at work. Change is painful at times, and there are so many ramifications to think about when you work in healthcare and need/want to change the way you are doing things, but we are getting somewhere for our efforts. After some of the changes that we put in place today (a long, exhausting day), I am prepared to deal with no small amount of resistance from others tomorrow. It won't be fun, but if I can manage to bring a sense of humor to work, maybe I can get through it and make it more bearable for others.

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Ow. Ow. Ow. Ack."

That was me, looking at the quarterly "earnings" statements from my three retirement account statements, and then looking at the interest rate trend on our savings accounts. Crap! I wasn't feeling all that bad about the economy (in spite of everything costing more all of a sudden) until I tallied up how much freaking money those accounts lost. Dang. I realize it is just ones and zeros in some computers somewhere until I decide to cash it in, but man, that stings. I got a whole lot less ones and zeros than I did before. It is a pretty high price to pay for a mortgage crisis and credit crunch that we had no part in bringing about.

And if those "glad tidings" in today's mail weren't enough, we also had a letter from the county informing us that they increased the assessment on our home by about 15% (in spite of the fact that real estate values have stagnated over the last year). I guess they need more money, probably because of the shitty economy. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Update: Now that I think about it, and am wondering how the county can increase my assessment when our propery has the "homestead exemption + freeze" that is supposed to keep assessments from going up. I'm gonna have to investigate that. Seems fishy to me. Hey Dave... care to comment?


Bathroom walls... "two weekend project"... remove old wallpaper and paint a pretty color... started back in October... total disaster... thorn in our sides...



And how was YOUR weekend?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Recreational catnip use.

nom nom nom...

The "feline opium den" is back in business - the catnip has some fresh new growth that is irresistible to cats (and apparently quite tasty).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

But What Does It Mean?

I am supposed to read a bible passage (Rev 7: 9-17) at Big Daddy's service on Saturday. Apparently, he chose what he wanted to have read at his funeral service, so I am happy to oblige. But I have read the passage that I am to recite at the service over and over, and I am still not sure what it means. And this bothers me. Why can't I understand it better?

I stopped going to church regularly when I was 20, in 1986. Before that, I went to Sunday school, church services Sunday morning and night, and Wednesday classes. Since then, I have attended church mostly for weddings and funerals, and occasionally just because. The last time I went to a church service that was not a wedding or a funeral, it was with Big Daddy. It was probably 3-4 years ago, and I knew he would enjoy taking me, so I invited myself along. I was raised in a sort of generic protestant denomination. My husband (PDM) was raised Catholic. Big Daddy was Episcopalian during the last years of his life (he used to go to the same church I grew up in, which was not episcopalian, but that was many years ago). PDM tried to help me interpret the verses, but I still don't claim to understand them.

Am I the only one feeling lost about this kind of thing? I am sure that the readings are supposed to make one feel better. I should feel comforted, but I don't. I can't wrap my mind around "forever" or "infinity", when I really try to. Is it easy for other people? It isn't for me - it is an existential struggle that I fight every day. What does it really mean? I have no idea. I wish I did.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Actias Luna

actias luna

So, what's new with you? I continue to feel unsettled. Not sure why, exactly. There are all kinds of excuses, like the pollen, or the changes at work, or the changing seasons, or the changes at home (work on the porch continues). Twice during the last week I have come home from work exhausted, and gone to bed absurdly early. I hope this is just a transient thing, and not me coming down with something or slowly losing my mind.

Maybe I will feel better after we have had Big Daddy's celebration on Saturday, and his interment on Monday. In addition to the obituary on Sunday, there was an article in the Atlanta newspaper about him in Monday's Metro section. I'm still putting together the photo slide show for the reception.

The porch construction is coming along. The contractors were the ones who first saw the luna moth in the photo. I would have completely missed it. It was clinging to the brick near the downspout on the corner of our home. At first, its wings were folded, and it looked like a leaf. They pointed it out and I went in to get my camera. I think giant Saturnid moths are beautiful, and took several photos of it. My regular readers know how I love the Latin names for things. Thus the post title. If you've never seen a giant Saturnid moth in person, they are impressive. They have a 4-5" wingspan, and all have vivid, distinctly marked coloring - most with "eyes" like this one. They tend to hide in unobtrusive locations and are easy to miss. I once shot a whole roll of film of a polyphemus moth that I found on my windowsill one Saturday morning in Massachusetts. Beautiful!

In other news, I was well positioned to win the office NCAA tourney pool, but Memphis blew it for me, so I came in tied for 5th. Hmpf. Oh well. I did way better than last year, when Georgia Tech was in there warping my otherwise good judgment. Memphis was doomed from the moment I inked them in the top spot on my bracket. I have notoriously bad luck with sports wagers. Once I was spotted 50 points on a game, and my team lost 51-0. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Death and Taxes

Death and taxes consumed most of my Saturday. It was a rainy day - steady rain for a change - and perfect for the jobs at hand. It wasn't as bad as the post title cliche makes it seem. I spent the day scanning old photos and locating some digital shots for Big Daddy's funeral reception. I also did our taxes (finally!).

Going through the photos was fun. I did find some good Big Daddy photos, but also enjoyed seeing old friends, family, pets, and places I used to live or visit. There were a few issues getting my scanner to work on PDM's computer. The software didn't work with Leopard (his new operating system), but the problem was easily solved by booting up with the older operating system. I've still got to scan photos from some other family members and expect to get some digital photos from them as well. The obituary was published in today's paper, and his service is next Saturday. So the photo collecting is a bit "last minute" but I think it will all work out in the end.

The tax stuff went smoothly (other than the usual shock at seeing the total amount we have paid in over the year). We don't have anything super complicated going on with our income and/or deductions, so the returns look pretty much the same every year. I originally just bought a software package to do federal, but I caved and downloaded the state version because I just didn't feel like dealing with it and I knew it would take far less effort that way. The state program found something I didn't know about and more than paid for itself with that bit of info, so it worked out for the best. This kind of stuff is NOT how I like to spend my Saturdays, even rainy ones. I'm glad it's over for another year.

I haven't done anything worthwhile today. And isn't that the best way to spend a lazy Sunday? PDM has spent hours making more tessellated tile patterns for the new porch floor. Me, I've been damn near useless today. Reading, surfing, eating, and napping, with about 20 minutes of random house and yard work thrown in to make me feel less guilty about the rest of the day.

How was YOUR weekend?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Silvio's Eyes

Silvio's eyes
Silvio has pretty eyes. Typical feline cat eye color would be green, gold, or copper. His eyes are none of these, and all of these. If there is a feline version of "hazel" then he has it. His eyes are stunning in the right light, next to his drab gray coat. Not so stunning in this overexposed photo taken under fluorescent lights, however. You'll have to take my word for it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Owls and Owlets

I didn't sleep well last night, but it wasn't all bad. I was awake to hear the local barred owls calling to each other. But that wasn't all I heard. Mixed in with the adult calls, there was the unmistakable sound of multiple offspring imitating their parents' calls. They made a strange, wobbly, off-pitch approximation of the adult classic hoot (which sounds like "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?"). They called as a group several times through the night, and I assume from the nearly adult sound of the owlets that they are close to fledging, if they haven't already. I still don't know where the nest is, but one of the owls is in a tree near my house right now, scouting out the hunting for tonight. They are likely to get an early start -- it is dark and overcast here today.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


So it's April Fools Day. Did anybody get in any good pranks?

We got somebody pretty good at work. One of us (not me) sent a text message toward the end of the day to a co-worker who had already left, and told her that she needed to come back by 7pm to do a procedure. She frantically called back, and got no answer (we were listening to the phones ring while laughing). She was driving her kids to all their after school stuff and was probably freaking out because she couldn't reach any of us. She proceeded to call us one after another, getting no answer (all phones have caller ID and we were all in on it). We were watching all this go down and having a lot of fun at her expense. We let her stew for a good 10-15 minutes. Then we all prepared a text message "APRIL FOOLS!" and send them to her simultaneously. She was a good sport about it. We all had a good laugh.