Sunday, March 29, 2009

Off My Game

Random thoughts from this weekend:

My schedule got all turned around. I wish I knew how to hit the reset. I am feeling pretty restless for 9:45 on a Sunday night.

I got only one of the Final Four teams right. So did President Obama, who knows a thing or two about basketball. I guess I shouldn't feel bad.

It is wonderful to wake up to a thunderstorm and be able to turn over and go back to sleep.

If someone invites you to a Nigerian Engagement Ceremony, you should definitely attend.

At any solemn event, someone's cell phone is sure to ring. Usually this happens multiple times. I can't understand why the first mistake doesn't cause people to check their own phones to make sure it doesn't happen again. Do people not even feel embarrassed about this anymore?

PDM and I still don't like crowds.

A study session with a friend helped me know what I don't know for the board exam. And showed me how inelegantly I answer physics questions out loud. We've got a long way to go to be able to answer smoothly, but it is good to have friends to practice with. It will get better.

We're short-staffed at work for the next week and a half. I hope it's not awful.

Our house isn't going to clean itself. We've given it plenty of chances.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Never Too Old To Play

Zima turns 15 this spring. She has been more playful than usual lately. She used to play only when the younger two cats weren't around. Now she'll chase stuff even if they are around to compete with her. Not sure what that's all about, but I like it.

We should never get too old to play.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Guilt Trips

Things I feel guilty about, in no particular order:

- not studying nearly enough for my board exam coming up 5/31 - 6/2. I get home from work feeling so mentally fried that I don't even want to look at a book, much less open it and study. But the test is coming whether I have the mental energy to prep for it or not, and I have tons and tons of material to get through and be able to explain to an examiner (it is an oral exam). This guilt is strongly coupled with stress and dread.

- I feel some self-pressure to work more overtime to get projects done because I get interrupted with clinical duties all day and never get very far, although I am already putting in excess hours at work and doing more of this would exacerbate the "not studying enough" guilt described above. This is a no win situation, unless I can manufacture thirty hours from a twenty four hour day. But if I did, I would want that six hours for more sleep.

- I can't remember exactly when I last cooked something, although I vaguely recall not getting it ready until well after 9pm on an evening when we were both tired and hungry. PDM is doing far more than his share of the cooking, and when he doesn't cook we go out or order in. He's probably ahead on kitchen cleanup. We're about even on laundry, and neither of us is doing much of anything else around the house (and it shows). We haven't done anything to the yard either.

- there are a few other items that are private.

I know things will get better after my test, and this is just something to get through, but it doesn't make me feel any less guilty.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Roll

spring kitty

Zima enjoys her first catnip high of the season. The catnip plant is only a nubber (you can't see it in the photo because she is rolling on it), but apparently it was enough to induce full on cat euphoria.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dilbert or The Borg?

Things are changing at work, in ways that have nothing to do with the economy. Our new chairman is finally starting to put his unique stamp on the department. I'd describe our new direction as something between Dilbert and The Borg.

On the Dilberty side, we have a staggering number of meetings. The big boss, hair looking more pointy by the day, rambles through his agenda in random order. A question may lead to a side debate that quickly goes off topic and never seems to end. If anything physics related is covered at all, half the time it ends up badly for us. We are almost in the realm of having meetings to discuss other meetings. It has gotten to be a huge joke with us in the trenches. As if the constant stream of meetings wasn't bad enough, we get bombarded with lecture notices. Last week alone, we had ten hours of meetings and lectures spread across all five working days. I confess that about two hours into the one on Tuesday afternoon, I couldn't take it anymore and started quietly playing Sudoku on my iTouch. Other people were carrying on lively text message conversations or reading email.

As for the Borg, well, let me share an example with you. We were recently directed to use a specific font, size and color on all email messages, and told to use a particular format for our email signature. Yes, You Will Be Assimilated. Individuality is no longer tolerated. Since not everyone is savvy with the inner workings of Outlook, this has led to a hilarious variety of almost-but-not-quite-right email signatures. Logo replaced by the red "image not found" X, double spaced lines, four different shades of blue, an assortment of incorrect fonts. I was helping some nurses set theirs up and found out that they did not even have the required font installed on their PCs. Brilliant idea - doom them to failure from the outset.

Want more? OK. I was recently accused of "violating our logo policy" on an electronic form template I created (that looked exactly like the paper form we'd been using for years) and sent a 15-page PDF file from Marketing containing the complete set of rules for logo usage. My offense? The logo was in a table that had borders around all of the cells, so I had illegally placed a "box" around the logo.

Don't get me wrong. I know the economy sucks and I am very happy to have my relatively stable job. And I get what the new guy is trying to accomplish for the department and our reputation. It is important, and will be good for us. It just looks different down in the trenches (literally, the basement of the clinic) than it does in the lofty towers of academe. Generally, I like what I do. But these changes have increased the time I have to spend doing useless stuff at work, while continuing to produce as much or more of my real work output (patient load has been up lately). The only way to do this is to work more hours. No one notices that, but if you fail to show up at a meeting... watch out! I could get resentful, but I choose to deal with it by poking fun at the situation instead. We do it all the time, and laughing about it with my coworkers helps us get through the day -- meetings, lectures, mandatory fonts and all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Waiting for Dr. Newton

vet visit

Time for catblogging. It had to be Silv, right? This was the scene on Tuesday morning as he nervously awaited his exam.

I am waiting, less apprehensively, for PDM to get home so we can start our weekend. I left work at 3:30 to come home and watch the second half of the basketball game. We were hanging in there, but came up short and now the season is over.

Hey, looks like PDM snuck out early too. Just heard him come through the door. Gotta go!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Belly and Bones (and Maybe a Stone)


This is a lateral x-ray view of Silvio's big fat belly. He may possibly have a small stone in his bladder (visible as a very faint brighter area in the anterior bladder). That would be bad news, so lets hope not.

Today just bit it, coming and going. Silvio vomited several times during the night, waking us up. I woke up with "the trifecta" - migraine, cramps, upset stomach. Had to be at work at 6:30am for a meeting at which I needed to be functioning on all cylinders, after being there until after 7pm the night before. This afternoon I left (still in migraine hell) to take Silvio to the vet so they could try to figure out why he is still having so much trouble with peeing. Thus the x-ray. And just a few minutes ago I sent PDM to the pub without me. I took enough drugs to feel slightly better, but I really need to crash for a few hours with my ice pack and then eat.

But I couldn't let down the masses (all six of you). Friday catblogging (now in kV!) is back.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Public Service Announcement

PDM graded another batch of physics tests today. He has a suggestion for you. (These students are tomorrow's aspiring engineers.) Don't drive over any bridges designed and built after 2008. Yes, it was that bad, and has been all semester. And the one before that. And the one before that. And the one before that...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

It Did!

The rain turned to snow right on schedule. Mass freakoutery to follow.

atlanta snow

Will It Or Won't It?

They're predicting snow for us here in the ATL. I'll believe it when I see it. Right now it's pouring buckets.