Wednesday, March 27, 2013

crystal myth

Things are getting better, just as I knew they would. Maybe some people can be glum for long periods, but that is just too hard for me. It takes a lot of energy to be pissed off at the world, and I’m way too lazy to work that hard. When I get all pissy, the best thing for me is to go off and ignore the world for awhile. What I really need is some place to get away from all other human life forms. Hmmm…is there more than one human life form on Earth? Yeah...assholes are kind of like their own species.  I need a kayak!!! Water helps to wash away all the ugly aspects of living in this world.

This morning, I had blood drawn for tests which with any luck at all will identify what I’m so allergic to. With much more luck, it’ll be something avoidable. Several people have predicted it’ll be a wasted effort and the next step will be going to a real allergy doctor for scratch tests on my back and arms. Fun times….we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it. Who knows, it may never come. North Korea is threatening to nuke us…that could change everything if they do – not in a good way.

So yesterday, I took a half vacation day to work very hard on making changes to my dissertation as requested by “the board”. I went home, fired up the laptop, gave Gracie a new chew-bone so she would leave me alone, fed Molly so she would leave me alone (Jack sleeps all day and only pesters me at night), and started to work. The next thing I know, Gracie was barking her head off – the girls pulled into the driveway, home from school. Yes, I slept the entire afternoon away right there in my chair. What do you know? I woke up face down on my keyboard with little squares imprinted into my forehead. What a waste of vacation time!

I heard back from my committee members and chairman last night. My two committee people say to make the changes and they approve them without seeing them. My chairman tells me not to be discouraged – the board never approves on the first pass, no matter how good it is. Just make the changes and stop worrying over it. He assured me I’m almost done. God – I hope so!!!!

Earlier this week, my boss drove down to our office and took me and everyone in IT who works in this part of the state to lunch. We were celebrating my 30th anniversary with the company. It was kind of nice to hear people tell stories; fortunately the person who has the most embarrassing stories on me was working out of town and couldn’t be there. I have a pact with the other person who knows some embarrassing stories about me – we promised not to tell on each other (and I have way worse stuff on her than she has on me…she will take it to her grave).

Logo hidden to protect the (not so) innocent

For my 30th anniversary, I was presented with a framed certificate, a commemorative crystal phallus, and best of all, a catalog of gifts. There are watches, jewelry, gas grills, TVs, GPSs, binoculars, gigantic golf bags, fishing tackle, and a kayak!! But…it’s a sea kayak, made very flat and short. It’s not really the kind I want. SO….there is a pair of bikes – one for man and one for woman. That’s what I’m going to order. I asked Someone if he’d like to have a bike if it was free. He was unenthusiastic. Where would he ride it? Too hilly around here, and no or very narrow shoulders on the roads in our area. Where would he store it? Our garage is too small as it is. How would he haul it? He has no knowhow for transporting a bike.

Tsk, tsk…Someone has so little imagination. He thinks inside a very small box most of the time. We can cross the river to Ohio to ride bikes, or take them to Lexington where many miles of old railroad tracks have been pulled out and the land repurposed into hiking/biking trails. I will buy and install pulleys so we can store our bikes on the garage ceiling. My van has a rack on the roof. If the bikes are too heavy to lift up there, we’ll just stick them in the back of the van. Problems solved! What would he do without me? I think riding bikes could be great fun; so would a kayak. Someone is a bit afraid of water and doesn’t want to become a kayaker. It’s OK. I think Gracie would make a great kayak buddy. She won’t complain or try to tell me where to go. Does anybody believe that?

my BFFs

Friday, March 22, 2013

fade to black

A very dark mood has moved in; the old lady needs a very long vacation away from the world. I wish it were possible to walk away from everything for a few weeks or months. Things have just been so hopeless lately, but not in the sense that my life sucks or that me or somebody I care about is facing something horrible. It’s more that here I am trapped in this time and place, and shit happens regardless of what I want or think. It all comes back to not having enough control of things. Thank God I have no control, because it’s very likely I’d screw everything up if I were the one in charge of reality. My mother-in-law insists everything happens for a reason. I don’t believe it.

The board came back yesterday with four pages of complaints. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to wait the full 41 business days to be rejected. It’s all stuff I can fix, it’s just going to be tedious. No doubt the changes will make my paper better. I’m just tired of it all, and to the point where I sometimes wish I’d never started down the road.  I’m tired….obviously. Nevertheless, this weekend I’ll be digging into it all again. *sigh* **SIGH LOUDER**

But I was in a bad mood even before reading the email from the board. I’ve been annoyed with all of mankind lately, and animalkind too. Varmints got into our garbage cans two nights ago. They turned the cans over, got the lids off, and dragged the trash out all over the garage. We had a lot of trash because Someone didn’t set it out for the garbagemen to collect while I was out of town. To make matters worse, Gracie has dragged the trash out into the yard for the whole neighborhood to see. We have garbage all over our yard and nobody (such as Someone) is offering to clean it up. I could just order him – like – “Hey get off your lazy ass, go out there and pick up the trash.” Maybe I should hold the TV remotes hostage until the trash is picked up. I could be a Grade A bitch if I wanted to be. Maybe Someone really wants me to be mean to him.

I don’t want to be a bitch. Just let me be invisible…and have everything go my way. Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Typhoid Mary comes home

Things took a nasty turn during my trip.  I caught a bad cold which pretty much spoiled the adventure aspect of being in Texas.  It was all I could do to sit through the last days of meetings.  The plane trip home was dreadful, not that it was the airline’s fault, but more the humiliating situation of being Typhoid Mary sitting between innocent victims.  I doped up very well with over-the-counter drugs but couldn’t stop coughing.  On the first and longest leg of the trip home (I was in the middle seat, of course), I thought I was going to vomit.  I held barf bag ready while knowing people on both sides of me were praying as hard as me that I didn’t have to use it.  I would have climbed out and tried to make it to the toilet but by the time it became critical, I was so dizzy and disoriented that I wasn’t sure I could even stand up.  Finally, it all passed and I dropped back to sleep.  By the time I got home, I dragged my stuff into the house, put on my pajamas, and went straight to bed.  

So after a good 16 straight hours of sleep, I woke up this morning feeling much better.  Someone and I went shopping for a new microwave and lawn mower.  We brought the lawn mower home but the microwave had to be ordered to get the desired color.  We should have it April 1st, which is a very long time to wait...but so it goes.  It's a small town here and there aren't a lot of places to shop.  I bought one that is a microwave with convection cooking capability.  Totally cool.  Someone has suffered with no working microwave in the house.  Pity to be so dependent on such a contraption for cooking food...especially with a stove conveniently sitting right there in the same room, and a gas grill on the deck outside.  The girls and I have offered to teach him how to heat up food in a skillet or pan, or to use the oven or grill, but he has no desire to learn.  

My girls know how to cook and bake, and that’s a good thing for them.   I had done little more than very basic cooking by the time I left home.  My grandmother didn’t like me to be in the kitchen when she was cooking, so I didn’t learn much about cooking from her.  She cooked and I always cleaned the kitchen afterwards.   It was terribly unfair that my brothers never had to clean house or do dishes.  My grandmother insisted they would have wives to do that for them whereas I might as well get used to it, because taking care of a man and kids would be my primary role in life.  She was somewhat correct.  If I weren’t a tightwad, I’d hire somebody to clean house for me.  Nobody besides me cares that our house is less than immaculate.  I’ve reduced standards over the years.  We’ll just live like pigs until I get caught up with things...ever how many years that takes. 

learning to cook

By the way, both my brothers are bachelors and have to cook and clean for themselves.  Like Someone, they depend on microwavable pre-packaged food and take out.  In my opinion, cooking in its most basic form is a skill, and in its refined glory, an art.  It’s not rocket science.  Anyone can teach himself to cook if he really wants to learn.  Maybe the truth is that most men are too lazy to learn or to execute on what they know about cooking (oh....did I just man-bash again)?????

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

deep in the heart

I’m working in Texas City, Texas this week. I came down here and hooked up with another project manager from Detroit and some consultants from California to do a design workshop for a new software application. What fun!! It’s sheer lunacy, but somehow we have to configure something that will serve the needs of seven refineries. You’ve heard the cliché – it’s like herding cats – well, it is.

The trip down here was just as expected. I made reservations late because I really expected my supervisor to declare it a waste of time and say no. Surprisingly, he called it a waste of time and said YES. Really, we had no other choice but to postpone the project six more months or jump on the bandwagon. The good news, the only seat left on the first hop of the journey down here was First Class. Hot damn! I’ve never flown first class so was eager to experience it. It was a 45 minute flight on a little prop plane, full up, with 18 passengers. Absolutely no difference in seating other than I was second row back from the front of the plane. Disappointment!! The flight was bumpy as heck, but I kind of prefer small planes because they seem easier to take off and land. Maybe a pilot would think otherwise….ignorance is bliss sometimes.

The second hop on the way down was full too, and of course, I had a center seat. Smashed in, and then the asshole in front of me reclined into my lap. So for two and a half hours, I could hardly move. The guy beside me who had the window seat wore an oversized ball cap which obscured my view out the window, then he closed the shade and went to sleep. Inconsiderate jerk. I played games on my phone and took a nap…what a waste! At least the flights were on time and uneventful, so I won’t be complaining any more about that.

Driving in Houston traffic is NUTS! It wasn’t even rush hour, but people don’t cooperate on the freeways and they drive so aggressively. Merging traffic? The hell you say! I’m not moving or changing my speed for anybody! (That’s the way they all are down here). I’m already dreading the drive back to the airport, and in fact, have changed my plans. Instead of driving back early Friday morning, I’m driving up Thursday night, returning the car, and shuttling to a nearby motel. Next morning, I’ll sleep later and let the hotel shuttle take me back to the airport. I sure as heck don’t want to miss my flight home.

The people I’m working with are friendly, but not a social bunch. The two California consultants hang together at night and see other clients in the area. My Detroit counterpart is a loner – he declined my invitation to meet for dinner tonight. He’s very heavy so maybe he’s self-conscious about eating in front of people. I wouldn’t care about that because who am I to judge…but if he’d rather be alone, then so it goes. He’s not married and really is a nice guy. The locals have their own lives after work. So it’s just me in a little town with not much to do…so here I am blogging.  Maybe tomorrow if we get done before too late, I'll go explore Galveston. 

The motel has a decent exercise room so I did a good workout which is a change of pace for me. It felt good to work up a sweat. It’s way too much sitting all day long lately. I should make an effort to start doing more (so says I after every workout)!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

another one bites the dust

Well world, it’s done!  The dastardly dissertation was submitted for board approval (or not) March 5th at 7 AM EST.  I’m pretty pleased to have submitted when I wanted to (actually, I’d have been more pleased to have submitted last summer).  The uninvolved committee man read through it and praised my efforts.  He suggested a change to one sentence in Chapter 3 that was a marked improvement.  He also insisted that if he were my chairman, this would have been a mixed methods study.  Thank heavens he’s not my chairman because qualitative research scares me.  He also identified a contribution my research makes that I didn’t recognize, so I added that.  My chairman kept me hanging, so I texted him March 4th afternoon reminding him that I hoped to submit March 5th, and would he be able to approve or provide feedback ASAP?  He replied an hour later, saying to submit.  Life is good like that sometimes.   


Life is very busy this week...and next.  I have to fly across the country to attend three very long days of meetings – a boondoggle if you ask me.  It will take me a day to get there and a day to get home.  The agenda is jammed into 3 14-hour days.  We will be a cozy bunch and have lunch and dinner brought into the meeting room.  UGH...I hate living with people I work with.  I also hate driving in big city traffic.
To make matters worse, I have to be with Erin in Lexington all day Saturday for an audition.  Sunday, I have to be in Grayson most of the day with Emily who is taking a piano master class.  We are scrambling to get Erin’s stuff ready for the audition, but a friend who does a lot of framing is going to help.  Thank heavens for friends!

Worst of all, our microwave bit the dust tonight.  It’s a tragic loss with me leaving town for a week.  Someone does not use the stove for anything.  The girls will use the oven occasionally, and Emily likes to pan-fry chicken sometimes.  Without a microwave...they will be lost.  I won’t have time to shop for a new one before leaving, and it’s a built-in appliance which complicates things for me.  I have to make sure the new one fits in the slot, and I’m not sure I can install it myself.  Someone has zero competency with anything requiring tools and intuition (he’s a hell of a good lawyer though).

And what could be worse than all this?  For the 4th time now, I got into whatever I’m allergic to again.  I go back to the doctor Friday for another steroid shot, but even so, it takes about a week before I’ll look normal again.  I was supposed to have allergy testing done next week, but cancelled the appointment because of my trip.  So it goes.  My nemesis will remain a mystery awhile longer.  *sigh* I have to go to work, shopping, and to a school meeting tomorrow night looking like this  :(

Saturday, March 2, 2013

basilisk hunting

Linda mentioned there are lots of snakes in the area where she was hiking recently.  Her comment reminded me there was a snake in my dream last night.  Not just any was a giant basilisk like the one in Harry Potter movies.


The most horrifying part of the dream wasn’t the snake though.  Like most of my dreams, there was a blending of time, people, and places.  In the dream, I was married to Someone but we were living in the trailer I lived in one summer many, many years ago before I married my first husband (H1).  Erin and Emily were toddlers and we had Gracie.  The giant snake slithered across the porch and I was trying to keep the kids and Gracie away from it because somehow I knew it was poisonous and they wanted to play with it.  I screamed for Someone to come and kill it.  It slithered into a large barrel and Someone’s plan was to reach in with his bare hands and pull it out.  IMAGINE THAT!!!  Someone freaked out one time when I asked him to help me catch a hamster.  He squeezed it so hard it bit him and he dropped it.  He said it gave him the willies to hold a rodent.  He also refused to babysit the iguana when I cleaned his cage.  Honestly, I liked playing with Norse (Sarah’s iguana) but I don’t like handling cold-blooded creatures. Someone bent over the barrel to grab the snake and a little brown monkey jumped on his back.  Someone freaked out, grabbed it by the feet, turned it upside down.  I screamed, “NO!!!” but too late.  He twisted its head off and tossed it to Gracie.  Then he flung its poor body off the porch into the grass.  Enough of that!  I woke up.
Did living in a trashy trailer make me trailer trash?

I used to tag along in the winters when H1 went grouse hunting.  When he shot one and the dog retrieved it, he’d take it from the dog’s mouth, twist its head off, and toss it to the dog.  The dog would eat the head - crunch, crunch, crunch, gulp.  Grouse have small heads in comparison to their bodies.  He would shake the body a bit to get most of the blood off, and shove it into his coat pocket.  I’ve seen it done so many times it’s forever etched in my memory. 

I used to cook Grouse and lots of other game when married to H1.  Grouse is kind of dry and very dense meat.  I’d stuff it with apples, use wood toothpicks to wrap and pin bacon around it, and bake it in a tightly covered dish.  It was pretty good.  I also made good rabbit in those days.   When we had parties, I made large platters of rabbit for guests.  I cooked squirrel a few times too, but squirrel tastes gamey no matter how much seasoning you use.  It’s all dark meat, and just kind of stringy.  I remember biting into a piece, chewing, and suddenly crunching into something hard.  I spit out a piece of silver metal and was sure it was a filling.  Oh SHIT!!   I jumped up to find a mirror, but H1 examined the pellet on my plate and called to me that it was only a piece of buckshot.  Thank God for that, but it gave me another reason to avoid squirrel meat.  It turned me off completely. 

So well, the girls are gone on a school trip since yesterday afternoon.  They get home tonight.  I’ve frittered away enough of the day.  Slept late, took Someone out for lunch since he was nice enough to take my car for an oil change (a miserable chore), and then went to the grocery store.   So now it's time to push away from the laptop, clean the kitchen, and bake a cherry pie to take to Sarah tomorrow.  All the while, checking my email every hour and hoping to hear some good words from my committee-man and chairman.  Still waiting, waiting, and more waiting.