Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday

Ein Yahav

A night drive to Ein Yahav in the Arava Desert,
a drive in the rain. Yes, in the rain.
There I met people who grow date palms,
there I saw tamarisk trees and risk trees,
there I saw hope barbed as barbed wire.
And I said to myself, "That's true,
hope needs to be like barbed wire to keep out despair,
hope must be a mine field."

Yehuda Amichai

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday


It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.

When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.

-Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One Thing I Know

One of the people I have loved most was ignorant. He was also sharp as a skinning blade. He had a heart as big as the wide open sea and would (and did) do absolutely anything for his loved ones. He rarely met a racist joke he didn’t like. He never let a family member down. He laughed so hard and so long over the things that tickled him that he frequently lost his breath and had to wheeze it out. He saw humor in almost everything. He was frequently politically incorrect.

He worked incredibly long hours, very hard, with his hands … a carpenter year-round, and a tuna fisherman during season; he also plowed and sanded the streets of MA in the Winter. He could do almost anything, even when he had to fake it until he knew how to get it right. His home was always open, and you were welcome. If you stepped within his first action was an attempt to feed you. He was a great lover of animals, and was surrounded by them. He was one to leer at the ladies. He adored his wife, and was startled by the affection he felt for his children. He was a great, big, blustery man who would have put you in mind of a young Santa during the off season.

He was game for anything. He could be silent and still as the dawn. He was my very first real-life example of “work hard, play harder”. He enjoyed life to the fullest and never thought the party would end. Could end. He seldom met a man he didn’t like. He was as bewildered by folk who didn’t care for him as he was by unforeseen catastrophe.

He was very much a product of his environment; raised by a quiet man and a stubborn woman who had survived the turmoil of the Great Depression and worked side-by-side at the businesses they owned.

When I say he was ignorant I do not mean in the barbarian way … I mean in the uneducated way. And by uneducated I mean inexperienced in life or lifestyles outside his social class (for lack of a better phrase), not book-learning. Although he’d be the first to admit he was no Rhodes Scholar. When life gave him lemons he made a lemon smorgasbord and invited everyone he knew to share in the meal: lemonade, lemon chicken, lemon brioche, chilled lemon soup, lemon scones with lemon curd, lemon custard, lemon meringue pie, lemon drops, lemon relish … you get the picture. He didn’t let the bastards get him down.

So, why am I telling you this?

I want to talk about Michael Vick. And how he’s been picked up by the Eagles. And how half the world is having a field day. I say leave him be. He truly seems appalled at his participation in what many, myself included, consider a barbarous crime. He appears to ‘get it’. He also grew up in an environment where that behavior was the norm; where the dogs were considered a commodity, not pets. I, who slobber all kinds of love and affection (and treats, and cookies, and catnip, and toys, etc.) on my four legged friends, view them individually not really as ‘pets’, but rather as family members. Always have, always will. I know their personality quirks. I can tell when something is wrong (witness our current Froggy Bop dilemma). I get a kick out of having them around. I also grew up in a household, family, and community that considered pets members of the family, albeit slightly dim yet highly lovable members.

And guess what? Where Vick grew up? That was right here in the good old U. S. of A. Where were our tantrums and holier-than-thou attitudes then? Its one thing when a man hides behind his job and refuses to accept responsibility for the results of his actions … I’m talking to you, Jack Tatum … and quite another when a man steps up to the plate and lays it all out there, trying to make amends and to educate the next generation. Bravo! Bravo to you, sir. And keep up the good work.

The art of forgiveness is difficult, sometimes brutal, but necessary to a healthy soul. Do you think if Michael Vick knew three years ago what he knows now that he’d have made the same choices? I don’t.

After knowing my ‘ignoramus’, a great man who’d give you the shirt off his back in a raging blizzard yet spout racial obscenities about a minority who angered him (and no, he wouldn't have been angered by the fact that the person was a minority; it's that if they were a minoruty he would 'go there'), I simply cannot justify a knee-jerk black-&-white response to Vick. I’d not be able to tolerate it in those responding to the words or actions of my own taught-by-life ignorant. What are we, twelve? It may not be fair, but then again neither is life. Vick made a mistake. He’s sorry. He’s trying to make a positive out of it. He’s lost much of what he had built. He’s got every right to live his life, and to utilize his skills to do so.

I say leave him be.

Monday, August 17, 2009

ALERT: Froggy Bop is Missing!!

We are on Froggy Bop alert. OMGoodness, Froggy Bop is MISSING!!!! What to do? What to do!

I am shamed to say it took me most of this evening to figure out just exactly why the Bear is behaving so oddly (you can rest assured her behavior impacts the rest of the four-leggeds).

Finally noticed a distinct lack of bright green/yellow in her general vicinity.

Spent next 20 minutes searching house. Nada.

Next 10 searching backyard. In the dark. With a flashlight. Zilch

So a certain someone is now draped across the bed in an agony of anticipation ... and I've got nothing for her.

This ought to be fun.

Where the heck do they even sell "Beanie Buddies" anymore???

Sunday, August 16, 2009

These Days It’s Really Just the Chronic Fatigue

Weekends are pretty important for me; they’re when I catch up on all that sleep I don’t get during the week. In every 24 hour day, mine is filled with 7 or 8 hours sleep, 2 hours to get ready for work, then an hour drive to work, then work itself (a minimum of 8 hours … I don’t take breaks or lunch so I can leave sooner), then an hour drive home from work, then another hour taking care of the menagerie … plus, at end-of-day there’s an additional half hour involved with getting ready for bed. So, let’s see, that adds up to approximately 21 hours, leaving 3 hours daily for everything else. Everything else.

Which normally wouldn’t be a problem, except for that Bastard RA, who makes me tired. All. The. Time. Having 3 hours a day to do the laundry, housecleaning, food prep, shopping, bill paying, car servicing, doctor, dentist, vet, etc. may seem like plenty of time … but trust me, it’s not. In any person’s given day, there needs to be some down time. What I’m generally forced to do is to postpone some of the necessities to allow for some decompression time.

I love to read, and watch certain television programs, and movies … but these days I really only read in the loo (I know, gross!), and out of 140 allowable hours on DVR, I’m sitting on 97 hours of taped programs waiting to be watched (and every weekend I delete a few of the oldest unwatched to make room for the new ones I’ve recorded), and I haven’t returned (or watched, for that matter) the three Netflix CDs I have since I received them two, no wait, three months ago (and the three before that I ended up returning without watching them). Sheesh.

While I don’t tend to dwell on the negative ways that Bastard RA has impacted my life, I dwell quite a lot on the sleep I wish I was getting. I sort of remember how bad it was before I was diagnosed and the meds kicked in, but only in an oh-yeah-that-sucked kind of way … I think Mom and Dad have much clearer recall of that time, seeing as they lived the 6-month snapshot: when I came back home for Summer vacation I was fine, then when they next saw me in person 6 months later for the holidays I was absolutely crippled. I’m pretty sure they’re scarred, in the way only parents with a sick child can be, to this day.

But if I sit very still and think very hard (the memories are not fun), I can certainly recall the myriad painful rheumatoid nodules all over my elbows, knuckles, and gum lines; how I could stand up straight … if given 15 minutes to un-kink my joints; how I could walk 50 feet … at the pace of an elderly person using a walker; how I drank nothing during the day so I wouldn't have to get up and walk to the Ladies Room at work and how I cried every day walking out to my truck to drive home from working that job (located in a sprawling facility with football field-sized parking lots); how swollen my joints were; how hard it was to get in and out of cars (hence the necessity of a truck for yours truly); how only certain pieces of furniture (mostly straight-backed chairs) didn't cause pain; the trigger-fingers and how I’d have to use the fingers of one hand to sloooooowly manually un-bend the fingers of the other hand; how I’d wake up stiff with various owies; how it took a couple hours to get going every. Single. Morning. Regardless of what I was doing that day.

I had to psych myself up to do laundry, because the washer/dryer is in the basement, and that’s 16 steps. I didn't cook; seldom cleaned. I kept everything heavy in the garage, and if I didn’t bring up whatever I needed on my trip into the house after work, then I went without. I didn’t step foot in the dog run (fenced-in portion of my backyard) for almost three years, because it was downstairs. Never took the dogs for walks. And the pain of everything; the swollen elbows, wrists, knuckles, knees, ankles, and feet … ouch! I had no grip, so had to come up with different ways to do everything “normal” people do with their hands. It suh-hucked!

Sound not so bad? Try going one full day without using your hands, for anything, then get back to me.

Nowadays about the only real problem I have is with the chronic fatigue, and that’s a regular thing. By weeks end I am so overtired that I need sleep, and a lot of it. I get incredibly punchy when tired – almost like a whole other person. From a blog perspective, sometimes I read what I’ve written when tired and am embarrassed. In real life I can generally tell I’m overtired when I simply cannot shut up. They laugh at work (they don’t know about that Bastard RA, and just think I get goofy for the weekend). Mom has to tell me to pipe down and let her talk sometimes. My friends just giggle at me, “Lisa’s on a rant again.” I guess I should be happy it isn’t too bad, but from my perspective it sucks.

It’s like the real me is hidden behind the tired me, and the tired me is dressed in one of those inflatable samurai suits, repeatedly knocking the real me on my ass as I try to sneak past. Sigh. Stupid inflatable-samurai-suited tired me and it’s almost impassible inflatable-samurai-suited self.

Tired me pretty much forces real me to recharge on weekends, specifically Saturdays; I tend to miss out on a lot of our get-togethers because of it. Most people, when they plan to do friend & family things, plan them for Saturdays … but I have to beg off, because no matter how much I may want to join in, I know I won’t. So, after a couple years of not showing up, I’ve learned not to R.S.V.P. “yes”, but rather “maybe, but most likely not” or flat-out “no”.

I rarely get out of bed on Saturdays, seldom shower, and actually get dressed less often (having Lonnie over a few weeks back just about KO'd me). In the last five years I’ve probably only been out of the house on a Saturday a couple dozen times … and many of those were just to walk to the end of the driveway to get the mail (and maybe to fill the birdfeeders). I’m certain there are quite a few of my neighbors who considered me antisocial until they got to know me because prior to this Spring I was, literally, rarely seen outside my home if I wasn’t in the truck, coming or going.

My Bastard RA doc is wonderful, and my regimen is working (I’m not quite in remission yet, but seem to be getting closer all the time): I take four prescription meds (methotrexate, folic acid, vitamin d, and Humira ... that's the needle) and five non-scrips (multi-vitamin, calcium, ginger, turmeric, and selenium), and together they’ve enabled me to look, act, and for the most part be “normal” … it’s just that my “new normal” also includes mandatory sleep-in Saturdays.

On the one hand, kinda cool ... who doesn't want an ironclad bonafide excuse to sleep late?

Friday, August 14, 2009

It Seems Oh, So Reasonable

I'm sure I'll be in the minority on this one, but here goes ...

I was watching the Today Show this morning, when Meredith Vieira interviewed Audra Harmon and her attorney, Terrance Hoffman ... this interview was about a traffic stop made by Deputy Sean Andrews back in January, in which he ended up tasering Ms. Harmon ... twice.

Ms. Harmon, needless to say, has filed a lawsuit. Ostensibly "to bring awareness not only that anybody can be a potential victim, but also awareness to the police officers who have the Tasers to be a little more judicious and think it out a little more before they use this kind of device. Then the overall picture is whether or not Tasers should be used in law enforcement." But also, you know, to make them pay for the police brutality.

Having watched the interview, then the dashboard cam (sans actual sound, but with added voiceover by Ms. Harmon), I have to say ... were I a juror in this case, I would not side with the plaintiff.

Go ahead, get it out ... you know you want to.

Until such time as I see the actual dashboard cam footage with the original sound (been looking, haven't found, but it may be the department in question doesn't have sound, or simply hasn't released it), I see no reason to merrily jump on the police brutality bandwagon ... here's why:

  • Ms. Harmon took it upon herself to step out of her vehicle. Why? Even I know you never step out of the vehicle unless told to. This is seen as a clear act of aggression by many police.
  • Her reasoning, in her own words, "because I wanted to see the tape" (e.g., prove it, bub). What?!? No. Not even remotely a good enough reason. You want to see the tape, you go to court and see it like everyone else, you're nothing special.
  • Then, again in her own words, "I get back in my car and it should have been over right there." Um, why? Far as I know, it is not okay to start a pissing contest with the authorities and then feel you have the right to decide when it's over. Honey, you started it, now own your decision. Not only that, although Ms. Harmon repeatedly claims not to have waived her arms, etc., she is clearly confrontational by body language.
  • Then, "he asked me to get back in the car" ... to which she replied, "show me the tape." Really? So, instead of immediately doing as asked, she once again confronts an authority figure. 'Kay.

Elsewhere in the interview Ms. Harmon mentions she gave the officer the opportunity to search her bag and her vehicle for the cell phone (oh, yeah ... forgot to tell you he originally pulled her over for talking on a cell, an act which she is disputing - says she was leaning her chin on her fist and that may have confused him).

My first thought (and yes, admittedly I already am not taking her word at face value), is she passed the cell phone to her 15 year old son, who was in the vehicle with her. Were I the police department reviewing this case, I'd investigate all cell phones this family has, and check the records to see if any were in use by a nearby tower during the time of this traffic stop. I'm just saying.

So anyway, then she's upset that she was in the back of the Deputy's unit for almost 40 minutes while her 15 year old son and 5 year old daughter remained supposedly unattended. Um, no ... don't think so. What, the officer drove off with her in the car and left the kids by the side of the road? And double what, you seriously expect me to believe said 15 year old hasn't babysat said 5 year old about a zillion times? C'mon, people.

Besides, if she was so worried about them, why did she take the EMT up on the offer to go the the hospital? Now, some people have questioned why an EMT had to come to remove the taser barbs, but think about it: the deputy isn't going near her with a 10-foot pole, and she's cuffed behind her back. Somebody has to come and do it, and who better than the folk who can then give the tased a once-over to ensure no imminent heart-attack?

You notice the EMT didn't make the decision, but rather asked Ms. Harmon if she wanted to go. And she, horribly concerned for the safety and welfare of her two young (unattended) children, went; "and that's where they, um, did it. Made sure that my heart was beating and everything."

Oh, I'm pretty sure all involved were clear that Ms. Harmon's heart was, indeed, beating. Just saying.

This entire scenario smacks to me of entitlement, and it's that, more than anything else, which drives me up the wall (enough so that I freely admit a bias of epic proportions against the plaintiff in the first place).

Anyway, the Deputy Andrews charged Ms. Harmon with speeding, talking on a cell phone, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct ... and yes, all charges have since been dropped.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My 'Veloci'-Raptor is da Bomb!

Haven't seen any hawks by the bird feeders in awhile, and just kind of thought they'd been taking a bird-breakfast break and must be getting plenty of mice in the nearby fields or something.

Then this morning on the way to work I happened to look into the backyard from the driveway, and saw a lovely Cooper's Hawk sitting atop the neighbor's fence. Staring fixedly at my deck. Which had no dogs on it (too hot, so they spent the day inside). But did have a full bowl of dog food.

Otherwise known as 'extra' birdfood, since the little wildbirds eat out of it like it's a giant birdfeeder when the dogs aren't around.

So, basically the hawk is staking out the backyard 'bird feeder' and nabbing the sweet little wildbirds from there! So smart. The little birdies can't tell the hawk is coming because it practically swoops up from under them.

I'm kind of surprised I get almost as much enjoyment 'feeding' the hawk as I do the rest of the crew. But they are so fiercely beautiful, you know?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fond Memories of Chat Rooms

Finally put my finger on why Twitter seems so fun: because it reminds me of the free MicroSoft Chat rooms we used to spend soooo much time in about 8 years ago or so.

Every night for hours, hanging out with webfriends ( ... real-live web "kin"? ... ) and building these whole communities where people would plan vacations together and web-reunions where everyone would meet at some central location for a few days ... very informal, just the plans that particular chat room "regulars" put together. Which became annual.

There were nicknames and emoticons and characters and hosts and passing the hammer (and dropping the hammer) and all sorts of goofy stuff. And all of it was free, and came pretty much to a crashing halt when they decided to convert it to a subscription service.

Because if it ain't broke, then by all means fix it. Pretty please.

Anyway, it was particularly shocking to me because my home computer had crashed and it took a few months to get it up and running again and I was so looking forward to reconnecting with my chatroom "friends" when lo and behold! The freaking thing wants me to pay!?!

Are you kidding?!? I will never pay for something I once got free (unless I really want it and there's absolutely no other way to go ... don't look at me like that, surely you've heard of "grandfathering"?).

So. After many long years of no chat rooms, along comes blogging ... great fun, but not real-time communication. And facebook with its various applications ... fun again, but not (oh, you know). And now Twitter. As close to real-time as possible without being a chatroom, no?

Not to jinx anything, but when do you think they're going to get around to chargin ... er, nevermind.

Urgh! Don't DO That!

So you know that strange feeling you get when your cat stops everything and stares? At a blank wall? For awhile? Then snaps out of it and goes back to real life? As though nothing strange had happened at all?

Yeah, that? Freaks me right out! I chalk it up to everything from a massive termite colony in the wall (encompassing the entire length of the house, 'cuz if you're gonna dream, may as well dream big, right?) to oh! He can see ghosts! Or angels! Or my imaginary childhood friend, Billy! Or, you know, whatever.

But if it is Billy, he's got some splainin' to do!

And it's not like this happens only occasionally. It's pretty much every few days, while the household is winding down and we're all getting ready for bed. Isn't that when the creepy-crawlies are supposed to come out?

So I get a good dose of the what-the's, and have to turn on every light in the room to perform a spider patrol (because said cat could be hearing the pitter-pat of thousands of tiny spider feet gearing up to overthrow the humans. Tonight. While they're sleeping. BWAH HAH HAH HAH!).

Yes. I know. Lame.

So tell me something I don't know.

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday

Your Kiss

Your kiss, beloved, was to me
As if all flowers of Araby,
And every fresh and fragrant rose
That ever blew, shall blow, or blows
Had all her sweetness taken up
And poured into one perfect cup
For me to drain ...
Kiss me again!

-Jack London

Monday, August 10, 2009

If He's Involved, I am SO There

I want to see District 9, like right now. All the hype has done it's job with me, and I'll be waiting in line to pony up the ten bucks, as opposed to waiting on the Netflix arrival. Few filmakers get to me this way, but Peter Jackson is definitely one of them. It's a fairly short list: Jackson, Spielberg (absolutely!), Shyamalan (what is the deal with haters?), Hughes (sigh, gonna miss him), and Whedon (got you with that one, didn't I?).

Don't get me wrong, there are tons of movies out there I really want to see, but they pretty much fall into the category of "will watch in living room on small screen". These include, but are not limited to:
  • The Hangover (Bradley Cooper all the way)
  • The latest Harry Potter movies (love this series)
  • The Hurt Locker (Jeremy Renner-phile right here)
  • Julie & Julia (Meryl Streep is astonishing)
  • Up (c'mon, how could I not?)

Well, you get the picture (no pun intended). I love me some movies, but in the comfort of my own home, where I don't have to pay through the nose, where I can pause to go to the loo, where I can drink a pop and have a snack without (further) breaking the bank, and where I and the occasional houseguest will be the only ones voicing comments at the screen.

I think the main reason "regular" television takes a break during the Summer (although those cable channels have some preeeetty nifty Summer fare these days) is to drum up movie business. Boy, Netflix really messed that up for them, huh?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

But it's a BAD Vampire "Story"

I kept hearing about it, over and over, "Have you read Twilight?", "You have to read Twilight!", and "Oh, Edward is sooo yummy!"

And since I am all over my fair share of monster fare and romance, I was game. I mean, I've read most of the early Stephen King (and even some Bachman) works, everything Dresden, all about the Leandros brothers, Ward of Hurog, the Retrievers, and the Argeneau clan, and started up with Connor Grey, Mason & Louie, Cassiel the Outcast, and young Miss Reaper-Jones. I've got the DVD series for all of Buffy, Angel, Firefly (and Serenity), and Harry Dresden. I'm no stranger to the fun fantasy works. And I like series ... I like being able to revisit the same characters over and over (why I keep going back to the Argeneau well, even though it is a mite dry). And, of course, I still have mad love for the Lost Boys.

So, knowing of the potential for yet another set of characters to love, I finally broke down and picked up the first in Ms. Meyer's series, figuring I'd give it a try. And I knew not to expect too much simply based on the hype, because that's a surefire way to be let down.

But I was. Let down. And I can't quite put my finger on why. Maybe because none of it seems all that new. Or maybe because the characters are either bland, pointless, or incongruent. I don't know why, really ... but I know that I just don't care to read any further ... at all.

It's not that I'm put off by the differences the vampires in this book embody; it matters not that they can go outside in daylight, or that they *sparkle*. Big whoop ... it's fiction, people, do with it what you will. So I gave it away and don't plan to read any further (or see any of the movies, for that matter ... Cedric Diggory will remain Cedric Diggory for me).

But now Shelfari pokes me in the arm, with folk asking if I think they should read it. I wonder why they ask, when I gave it the rating I did? At first I just told them all "no, don't read it - waste of time". But then I talked to a few people of varying ages and chromosomes who really, really, like the entire series, and it turns out I'm in the minority (go figure, huh?). Maybe I should to put a little more thought into my response (which is still "no", but maybe I could be more circumspect), or just not reply.

On second thought, nah. You asked.

When I think of all the other vampire stories I love, these (yawn) twerps ... er, characters ... just don't hold a candle. You know?

Okay, Well Now I'm Just Pathetic

Heard of Twitter? Me too. Had no interest 'til I noticed some blogs I follow use it. Then got all up in Twitter's face, wondering why wasn't I invited to the party?

So, I've been on Twitter for the last hour ... got to the point where I was "following" about 420 twitterers. You say, "What?!?"

Yeah, me too. Had to take a break.

But not until after I dumped the bunch and am down to a more reasonable number (methinks) ... but that'll no doubt change as I continue to add in the rest of the blogs I follow, der.

And I went in and changed the "look" of my main page about (insert ridiculous number here)times ... I am unbelievable when it comes to something new (for me) on the internet. It's like my birthday, extra payday, and the last day of school all wrapped up in one!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yes, I Am a Friend of Otis

We have three elevators at the plant: a passenger elevator (the absolute slowest elevator ride I have ever been subjected to), a large freight elevator (the most frightening elevator on Earth), and a small freight elevator. That small freight elevator (similar to the one pictured above) is my all time favorite elevator, ever (insofar as it's possible to actually have a favorite elevator, for crying out loud).

Anyway, the small freight elevator. You know the kind: steel car about three feet deep and six feet wide, with an open top and a pull-down wooden-slatted inner gate, all in an open elevator shaft, where each floor also has a pull-down metal-grill gate as a double redundancy. The kind of elevator with an up/down lever the rider has to hold down throughout the entire run, otherwise the car will deadstop once the connection is interrupted.

Same thing with the call buttons on each floor; one to call the car "up" to you, and the other to call the car "down" ... if you want that car to come, you need to look up and down the shaft to ascertain where it is (and whether it's already in use) then push the approprate call button, holding it down until the car arrives.

Since there are so many people on-site during the day (e.g., first shift), freight elevator etiquette is de rigueur. If you step on hijack someone else when the elevator is in-use you'll hear it up and down the shaft, same happens if you're in the car and "drive by" someone who is calling the elevator. And once you get a bad elevator rep, that's it, you're stuck with it.

I like that elevator so much I go out of my way to use it ... doesn't matter that I'm at the South end of the building and it's at the North (long building, looooong building), or that I have to "gear up" (e.g., change into my steel-toe shoes and don a hairnet and hard hat), or that it isn't at all temperature controlled ... whatever it takes, whatever the season, that small freight elevator is my preference.

The only time I can't use it is first/last ride of the day, as all my safety gear resides in my fifth floor office, which is why certain previous posts have lamented days of passenger-elevator-breakdown-so-walk-up-a-bazillion-steps-to-the-fifth-floor with no mention of "so I walked down the other end of the plant and took the small freight elevator instead" ... if I'm going to make everyone else wear safety gear, I can't cop out just because I'm fat and don't want to take the stairs!) .

But this past week my elevator ... my favorite elevator! ... has been toying with me. I get on, close the gates, press the lever and ... presto! Nothing happens.

What?!? Are you kidding me? My elevator doesn't work? So I try, repeatedly, muttering under my breath that I must not have the gate situated just so, and becominging increasingly frustrated with my anthropomorphised friend, the small elevator. I open and close both gates, jiggle them back and forth, press on the lever with varying degrees of pressure (because if simply applying a couple pounds of pressure won't do it, surely leaning my full body weight against the silly thing will make it work!). Not.

Then it moves, but not because I'm doing anything right, oh no! Merely because someone else, somewhere else, is calling my car. So I'm along for the ride. Sigh. I exit as soon as possible and takes the stairs (which happen to wrap around the elevator shaft).

This has gone on all week, with everyone laughing at me: the maintainance techs, who repeatedly make me show them my epic elevator fail, which they then turn into an abbreviated small freight elevator driving lesson (until I remind them that I've been driving this puppy three years now and I've got it, thankyouverymuch) ... and the operators, who pretty much do the same ... and the rest of the staff, ditto ... all while smiling maddeningly at my endearing little elevator foibles. I am the only person who cannot get this thing to work. Sheesh!

But today? Today ... finally ... the stars aligned and my small freight elevator is no longer putting me through my paces. Until.

Until last run of the day. I hop on and push the UP lever. And go nowhere. Expletive deleted! I try again. And again.

Fourth time is a charm, and away we go! All the way up to the fifth floor, where one of the maintenance techs awaits, arm extended, hand over the control, finger on the button, bringing me home. But.

But as soon as he lets up on the button, and before either of us can open the inner/outer gates, some yahoo on the first floor calls the elevator back down! Again!

I could have handled it better.

Instead ... I shrieked like a bansidhe, grieving the loss of my fifth floor. Not really, but I was not a happy camper, and may have poured my pent-up elevator frustrations just about all over the head of the poor lab tech who dared continue calling that elevator all the way to the first floor when he knew ... knew ... the person trapped within was less than pleased with being stepped on hijacked in such a fashion.

But Lisa, you ask, how could he know? Hunh. 'Parently you've never heard me bellow down an elevator shaft before.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Probably Shouldn't Laugh

But they're just so funny. I picked up a couple Kongs while Lonnie was here, to give to the girls after he left as a reward for being such good doggie hostesses. Last time I tried was with the "regular" red ones, and the girls promptly ate them (then poo'd them out in chunks of red rubber for a couple days), so I was happy to find the "super-chewer" black ones.

I brought them home and filled the bottoms with broken cookies (e.g., doggie biscuits), then plugged the rest up with four heaping tablespoons of creamy smooth peanutbutter ... then froze them solid. I highly recommend freezing them ... it cools the girls down on a hot day, is far less messy (melted peanutbutter all over the deck is nobody's idea of wonderful), and ... best of all ... takes the girls much longer to empty.

First time I gave them to the girls was Sunday afternoon, right after Lonnie and crew went home. They did not know what to do with them ... Kaia took hers down in the yard and lovingly cradled it in a positively fierce Horton imitation, slobbering all over her new baby Who without quite getting that it was filled with yummy goodness, while Boogie ran from hers like it was chasing her with guns blazing (sigh, I should have known ...). That first time it took each about three hours to clean the Kongs out.

Today was the fourth time the girls have had them ... and the love is totally there! They doggie laugh! They doggie chortle! They doggie giggle and show & tell! They do everything but doggie kiss (with which I am totally cool, seeing as I'm not all that big into a face full of doggie slobber). These things are the perfect shape for being able to grip well enough to carry around, but not quite well enough to bite through. P'awesome!

Bear figured it out right quick and, after running all over the yard showing her prize off to every blade of grass, bird flying overhead, cloud in the sky, tree in the yard, and the next door neighbors, she lumbered back up on the deck and had a lie-down to get. every. last. bit. out. She is the living embodiment of the slow glean.

Kaia, on the other hand, after also parading her prize to all and sundry (real and imaginary), gave it her all to chew the thing apart for the goodies, "got to get to the nom-nom" ... "someone help me out here" ... "there's peanutbutter, can't you smell the luscious peanutbutter, someone HELP ME GET TO THE PEANUTBUTTER!!!!"

OMGoodness, I laugh out loud! I sit on the deck and guffaw ... actual belly rolls! These silly dogs, I love them to bits.

Boogie here, exhausted by her Kong ... too tired even to get that last cookie bit. No worries, though ... Kaia got it right after I snapped these two shots.

Kaia, completely done with hers, just before she snooped and saw Bear's still had a morsel for the taking.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

AND ... I Have Math-Catletes (Cat-Mathletes?)

I've pulled out my 2nd edition Elementary and Intermediate Algebra from MTH208, just to see if there actually is any hope left for this lump I call a brain.

I opened it to chapter 1: Real Numbers and Their Properties.

Sigh. Lost already.


So, I've pulled out my notes from MTH208, blah, blah, blah, blibbity blah (good thing I kept them).

Now, I'm off to relearn math, my all time favorite pita (for reals ... nothing else gives me such agita working it out, then such satisfaction once I've done it).

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday

Chocolate Math

Let's sum it up: I cannot add.
Finding a difference drives me mad.
I hate remainders and it's true,
Multiplication makes me blue.

Those plastic sticks just don't do it.
Who thought that up really blew it.
We'll do well with a new device,
These M&Ms will be real nice.

This subject now will be a treat
As Chocolate Math is really sweet!
I'll be an adder who never misses
While adding piles of chocolate kisses.

Here's a device found at the store:
Ten Tootsie Rolls, and I'll eat four.
Then I'll say, "I still have six."
With Chocolate Subtraction Tricks.

Now division can be done in haste
When it's done with a little taste.
With remainders I'll have a ball,
I'll pick them up and eat them all.

To multiply we will be able
To put some chocolate on the table.
Two candy bars times four are eight. (ate)
That product we'll assimilate.

If teachers would not preach and nag
But assign our homework from a bag,
All students could be math fanatics
By using Chocolate Mathematics.

-Bob “Grandpa” Tucker

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm Greedy, Pleased to Meet You

Sunday afternoon AC and crew came to pick up Lonnie on their way home from the airport, after having been in-transit a bit more than 23 hours.

They. Were. Exhausted!

So much so that I rushed them out of my house to get back to their house (yet another hour of driving) for some much-needed rest before work the next morning.

In the rush to get them out, I took the gift bag AC proffered and set it on the stove, her explanation of, "I didn't know what to get so I brought them all" barely registering with me (other than my lame, "oh, such a neat bag" exclamation, because I truly do think the bag is kind of cool, being from halfway 'round the planet and all).

AC sort of blinked at me, then we got on with the rush of packing Lonnie up and trekking everything out to the car and taking leave. Then I went back inside and after awhile opened up the bag and took stock of these treasures. And was frankly appalled at my behavior! Among the items in that bag were:

This double set of handmade ebony sandalwood chopsticks from Taiwan. Gorgeous!

And these engraved wooden cup & bowl sets from China. Beautiful!
As well as this elegant handmade glass dragon head from Taiwan. Magnificent!

So I'm looking at this bonanza of loot from Asia and I realize ... I took all the gifts AC had brought back!

All! The! Gifts!

For everyone! OMGoodness, how rude! How embarrassing!!

And AC was so exhausted when I did it that she was at a complete loss as to how to tell me they weren't all for my greedy guts, so she just left them with me. I was horrified at my behavior and the (unintended) insult. Just like me, trying to help out and coming off like a horse's ass.

So I e-mailed AC right away (told myself I didn't want to interrupt their homecoming and tiny bit of R&R before work, but really just because I was too embarrassed to talk to her right then):

I really wish I'd had the presence of mind to look in the gift bag before I let you leave, as there is no way on Earth you could possibly have meant all those beautiful items for me. I was just supposed to pick one, wasn't I? I am so embarrassed! My apologies.

Why didn't you say something ... you were exhausted from the billion-hour flight, weren't you? Anyway, I'm bringing the bag into work in the morning so you can have all the gifts for everyone else back. Also you can tell me the story behind them all, because they're gorgeous!

So what happens at work? AC sits in my office and laughs at me. Giggles, even. There were a couple guffaws, and a chortle or two. Apparently my e-mail was found amusing: the entire bag, it turns out, was for me. A bag of swag. A bag of international swag. All for me. Wow.

That is so cool.

I am still too flipping greedy, though.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What About the "Off" Season?

Think they can make a "Not So Deadliest Catch"?

I'm going through withdrawal, people, and it ain't pretty! I've resorted to searching facebook and twitter for some f/v action.

My life is so pathetic at times like this ...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Color Me Sheepish

OMG am I a nitwit!

For weeks (weeks!) now I have been unable to get a volume on anything having to do with youtube, which has kinda stunk, because most video these days seems to originate there.

Anyway, went through the various diagnostics ... repeatedly ... no luck.

Talking to a colleague at work about it couple days ago, and he says something along the line of "have you checked to see if you need to un-mute the application volume?"

And I'm all like, "you can do that?"

... let me admit right here that most things I learn having to do with a computer are because I went and accidentally hit some key (or sequence of keys) at some time that impacted something behind the scenes the results of which I was completely unaware ...

So I took a close look at the next youtube link I came upon (this time from link from today's entry) and there it is.

A bright red megaphone icon with an X next to it.

I click on it, and suddenly all is well in my youtube viewing universe!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin