Tuesday August 31, 2004

Back to School

The school across the street started the 2004/5 school year today. Some schools in the state started a week or more ago. This seems very early to me; when I was a kid, we didn't start till after Labor Day. In fact, the school system I went through (in State College, PA) still starts the day after Labor Day.

Several people were talking about this at the Company Where I Work today. We all remembered starting later when we were kids.

In honor of the occasion (across the street if not in Central Pennsylvania) I thought today would be appropriate to respond to a web meme from a few months ago. This was posted in the Saturday Slant on May 1, 2004:

You’ve been offered a full college/university grant, all expenses paid, for the school and study program of your choice. You can go to any school, anywhere, and study anything you want, without a single cent out of pocket for education, materials, or cost of living. Would you take the offer? Where would you go? What would you learn? Would you pursue a course of study related to your current occupation, or would you explore something all together new? Get your pencils and notebooks, let’s go back to school.
...
       Continue reading "Back to School"

Back to School ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry , Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 31 Aug, 16:42 Pacific

Monday August 30, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 23 - Sunday Aug 29)

As I type this, two soft balls of fluff relax nearby... the 40-pound marshmallow (aka the 20-pound pink Maine Coon) is sprawled tummy up on my desk. The Big Red Cat is by my elbow in "his place".

The weather has been interesting this week. It was cool and foggy until Thursday. Thursday through Saturday it was hot; it was 85 F in the kitchen (and 101 on the screenporch (with the windows open)) on Friday! The cats avoided the screenporch and hunted cooler climes... Sunday, it started to cool down again; we saw wisps of fog to the northwest in the afternoon. At least our heatwaves rarely last more than a few days.


I've been getting in to The Job by 7:30 am. I can do it and it gives me a good hour and a half before anyone else shows up; it also gives me the opportunity to head out earlier or run an errand and not feel like I've shortchanged the project.


We had dinner at one of our local Mexican restaurants on Monday night. They have great chile verde. Unfortunately, they also have a waitress with an attitude. On any given night, her English is proportional to her mood. She must have been in a pretty sour mood on Monday night. :-(

I ordered my usual dinner — a chile verde super burrito, wet, and a side of chile verde, ala carte, no rice, no beans. I got a chile verde super burrito, wet, no rice, no beans. It was good but strange... kinda ... narrow. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 23 - Sunday Aug 29)"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 23 - Sunday Aug 29) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 30 Aug, 22:02 Pacific

Saturday August 28, 2004

Not So Friendly Skies

I don't fly much anymore (hey; I don't travel if I can help it). But I used to fly at least twice a year — to conferences, mostly, and sometimes to visit relatives. I can remember at least half a dozen times that we called the airline the day before we were supposed to fly home and changed our flight (usually to fly home earlier). The only hassle was making the phone call and sitting on "hold for a few minutes.

Those days seem to be gone, at least if you fly USAir.

My parents flew into San Francisco on Thursday night. The plan was that they'd fly back out (to Las Vegas) on Saturday, to visit my mother's sister for a few days, then return to SFO and stay with us for a week. So far so good and they did fly to Las Vegas on Saturday. But there was a glitch in the plans. ...
       Continue reading "Not So Friendly Skies"

Not So Friendly Skies ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 28 Aug, 22:57 Pacific

Friday August 27, 2004

Treasures 2004_35

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_35"

Treasures 2004_35 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 27 Aug, 21:58 Pacific

Wednesday August 25, 2004

Envying Snow White

Do you recall the scene in Snow White where she's singing and the bird comes and sits on her hand and they do a duet?

We have a bird feeder in our back yard. I filled it this evening and the birds were delighted. Sparrows, finches, a happy chickadee (who landed at the feeder and chirped at me just after I filled it) and even two nuthatches. They all visited again and again while I watched, after I came inside. Nuthatches are adorable; they hang head down from the wire around the feeder.

Behind the building where I work, there are little Oregon juncoes. I see them every day, flitting about. They're very cute with their little black hoods and russet vests.

When I was younger, we knew some people who had tamed the chickadees aorund their property. They could call them and feed them out of hand. Even I could feed chickadees that way when I was with them. Wow.

I want to be like Snow White. I want the little brown birds to come and sit on my fingers. That would be such fun!

Envying Snow White ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 25 Aug, 17:47 Pacific

Monday August 23, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 16 - Sunday Aug 22)

The weather has been mostly warm this week. It even got hot in the car one day! I moved the car to a shadier part of the parking lot.


Rich was out of town last Thursday - the weekend but he got home in time for supper Monday night. Our favorite diner had Mahi Mahi (the one fish I'll eat an entire plate of). Poor Rich had managed to crack his knee on a rock on Saturday; it took him longer to get home because he kept stopping to walk around and loosen his sore knee. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 16 - Sunday Aug 22)"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 16 - Sunday Aug 22) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 23 Aug, 18:11 Pacific

Sunday August 22, 2004

Treasures 2004_34

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_34"

Treasures 2004_34 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 22 Aug, 12:08 Pacific

Saturday August 21, 2004

Sing a Song for Kitty

It didn't seem like such a weird question, especially considering that I was asking people at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, a center of pet obsession. At Point Isabel, 21 acres of off- leash dog park, the value of pet accessories exceeds the gross national product of Lithuania, and half the cars in the parking lot sport "Dog Is My Co-Pilot" bumper stickers. So I was a little surprised when people nervously edged away from me, as if I were asking about a perversion.

But, honestly, what is so very weird about singing to your pet? I will fess up first. I happen to sing a new and improved version of "Que Sera Sera" to the dog. I know it's fantastic because everyone who hears it cringes in paroxysms of jealous agony. Surely, others as musically gifted as I provide amusement to friends and family by serenading their pets.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association's Ninth Annual Pet Owner Survey, about 65 percent of pet owners sing and/or dance before their pets, but park patrons were declaring that oh, no, they would never act so weird! Sorry, but when you refer to yourself as "Fifi's mommy" or "Madison's daddy," I'll bet real money that you're doing the macarena in the kitchen for your multilegged companion.

[ excerpt from Dog Ditties , the lead article for the Home & Garden section in the Saturday, August 21 SF Chronicle.]

...
       Continue reading "Sing a Song for Kitty"

Sing a Song for Kitty ( in category In The News , Nature/Cats ) - posted at Sat, 21 Aug, 21:29 Pacific

Friday August 20, 2004

TGIF 2

The problem with a Full Time Job (especially one outside the house) is that there's so little time left over for Real Life. Sigh.

I make myself little notes throughout the day of things I want to remember to do that evening (or some evening) or the coming weekend. Then, when I get home, none of those things seem very important or urgent anymore. My primary interests when I get home are cats, nap, book... maybe I'll check my email. Sometimes I have an iChat with my Dad. I try to get in at least a half mile on the treadmill. I do laundry some afternoons... And of course, then Rich comes home and we figure out what to do about dinner.

My favorite evening activity is sitting on our La-Z-Boy couch in the living room with Rich on the matching La-Z-Boy chair across the room. We each have our feet up; we each have a book to read.

If we're lucky, we each have a cat. If we're really lucky, one of us will get two cats!

Although Mezzaluna does tend to disturb the reading (that book is in my way. Pet me; I'm here!), still, I look forward to her gracing me with her fluffy presence. I get a little less reading done but I feel better for it.

Tonight all six of us were in the living room. Rich and I were reading. Bebop was melted into the opposite corner of the couch. Raven was on the table by the window (just past my elbow). Mezzaluna was upside down on her favorite end table. Squirrel was sogged into the remaining armchair. Now That's what I call a Good Night at Home with Family.

TGIF 2 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 20 Aug, 23:55 Pacific

Thursday August 19, 2004

How Many Carbs in Baklava?

The Company I work for does a lunch meeting three Thursdays a month. They bring in "takeout" food for 100 people. The quality... varies ;-) and it's usually all tepid, but I have found that I can usually find some combination of things to eat. There's almost always more than enough food, so the leftovers are brought back up to the break room where people continue to pass through and help themselves throughout the afternoon.

Today's lunch was from a Mediterranean place called Ali Baba that's fairly popular among my co-workers. Not only does The Company get the Thursday lunch from here about once every 6 weeks but there have been several smaller lunch meetings that have had food from Ali Baba. I agree that this is one of the better choices. The restaurant produces a pretty good hummous, decent tabouleh, passable chunks of lamb and chicken., some unidentifiable things that other people seem to like.. and Truly Wonderful Baklava (your choice: walnut or pistachio). There is always plenty of food and there is always Baklava left over.

My cubicle is in a smaller room just off the break room. I have to pass through the break room to get anywhere else in the building.

It's a good thing that The Company doesn't get lunch from Ali Baba's more often. I have a particular fondness for good Baklava.

How Many Carbs in Baklava? ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 19 Aug, 23:38 Pacific

Monday August 16, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Monday Aug 9 - Sunday Aug 15)

Rich has been out of town for much of this week, first visiting friends and then visiting his Dad. So the cats and I have been on our own. Much reading has been done along with much napping and cat snuggling.


The weather has been sunny and warm in the middle of the day, bracketed by fog in the early morning and late evening. That's summer in Beautiful Bay Area California. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Monday Aug 9 - Sunday Aug 15)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Monday Aug 9 - Sunday Aug 15) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 16 Aug, 20:49 Pacific

Sunday August 15, 2004

The Official Sandra Boynton Website

I just love the drawings of Sandra Boynton; I've loved her since 1975! I never throw away any calendars or greeting cards she's designed (and I buy Boynton greeting cards just for me, to keep!).

AUT_2083We have two Boynton stuffytoy hippies, George and Martha, on the headboard of our bed. (George and Martha are named after the titular characters in a children's book by another author/illustrator, James Marshall).

I am therefore especially pleased to discover as well as to announce that there is an Official Sandra Boynton Web Site. Books and plushies are available for your own family to adopt! (Decisions, decisions :-)

Be sure to visit the No-Mind Entertainment page which offers "two portals into hitherto unexplored territory. Behind these doors there are for you unfathomable experiences — although, we regret to say, you will find no ladies, tigers, or major appliances."

sandraboyntonlink
The Official Sandra Boynton Website ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 15 Aug, 11:06 Pacific

Saturday August 14, 2004

Treasures 2004_33

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_33"

Treasures 2004_33 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 14 Aug, 13:22 Pacific

Friday August 13, 2004

TGIF

I like the Job. If I must work outside the house, this is a good job to have. Still, I'm happy to see Friday afternoon roll around! Time for myself is very important to my sanity and stability. ...
       Continue reading "TGIF"

TGIF ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 13 Aug, 17:54 Pacific

Wednesday August 11, 2004

Squishy Squashy Squooshy

pillows Have you tried a huggable therapy pillow yet? They're meant to be hugged... and hugging them feels good!

Pillows come in different sizes, from small to large. They're made by several different companies. All have have brightly colored, satiny, spandex covers. They're filled with microbeads and they are sooooo huggable.

The Sharper Image carries a brand called HugOO; there's also a sleep mask in the same material.

I bought a primary red, tubular Homedics Squish, the other night at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. It was in a bin with a bunch of "square" , mpillows of the same fabric and feel.

I liked the tubular one best. So did the cashier; I almost couldn't get it back from her! She kept hugging it. :-)

Squishy Squashy Squooshy ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 11 Aug, 22:26 Pacific

Tuesday August 10, 2004

A Taste of Summer

August is peach season, the time when peaches are at their peak of perfection. Our local grocery store gets incredible "local" peaches every August - huge, sweet, juicy and delicious. We buy these as often as we can until the season ends.

August is also a popular vacation month. When I was growing up, my family took our vacation during the last two weeks of August. From the year I was five, for thirteen years, we spent that time at a friend's cabin in the Adirondacks, in upstate New York. We swam, we hunted toadyfrogs in the back yard, we watched stars... and we ate fresh, ripe tomatoes and corn on the cob and peaches.

Last night I had a perfect peach (with just a small dollop of vanilla ice cream). In that first bite, I found myself transported suddenly across space and time, to another bowl of peaches with a dollop of vanilla ice cream... at a friend's cabin in the Adirondacks, in upstate New York.

A Taste of Summer ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 10 Aug, 20:00 Pacific

Monday August 9, 2004

Well Oriented

I am now, officially, a well oriented regular FTE. Today I attended 6 hours of orientation. Parts of the day were interesting; I learned a few things about the Company that I didn't yet know. We were given several small presentations.

The Company likes to put everyone through orientation (even people who've been onsite as contractors for 3 months :-) simply because they figure there may be one or two things someone has missed by coming in "diagonalwise". It's not such a bad idea. Now I'm "up to speed" and also ahead a bit.

Well Oriented ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Mon, 09 Aug, 22:25 Pacific

Sunday August 8, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 2 - Sunday Aug 8 )

The weather has been pretty nice during the days this week; there's been fog in the evenings. We drove up to Joe's of Westlake in Colma one night and got to use the foglights on the Scion. That stretch of freeway can be nasty in the fog., foglights or no foglights.


I "solved" a problem I've been having with the Safari web browser; I couldn't select from certain form menus. I still don't know what was causing the problem but I made it go away. I pulled out my Library folder and put things back a few at a time. When I was done the problem was gone and there were a "invisible" dot files (including the .DS_Store file) left. I'm pretending they aren't there. At this point I don't care what caused the problem so much as the fact that it's gone. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 2 - Sunday Aug 8 )"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 2 - Sunday Aug 8 ) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 08 Aug, 22:02 Pacific

Saturday August 7, 2004

Treasures 2004_32

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_32"

Treasures 2004_32 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 07 Aug, 11:16 Pacific

Thursday August 5, 2004

Maybe if I Just Ate Half...

I walked by Carl's Jr. yesterday and saw their poster advertising the "Low-Carb breakfast bowl". It appears to be a sausage patty, folded egg, cheese and ... bacon? ... in a bowl. No potatoes, no bun. It looked pretty good.

Last night I looked it up on the web, if for no other reason than to see if that really was a sausage patty or a hamburger patty. I'm glad I looked! I don't expect to be trying one anytime soon. Not unless I can split it with one or two people. ...
       Continue reading "Maybe if I Just Ate Half..."

Maybe if I Just Ate Half... ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 05 Aug, 18:22 Pacific

Wednesday August 4, 2004

Honda Element

If the Scion XB is the offspring of a mini van and a sedan, the Honda Element is the child of an SUV and a small truck. Until this evening, I wasn't very impressed. I don't much like the styling on the Element and I think our Scion has more window. But, if you're the right kind of person, the Element has some very enticing features!

The one we saw this evening was parked in the handicapped access spot outside the restaurant where we had dinner. Rich wandered over to look at it. Our friend Gene and I followed. While we were making comparisons, the owner came out so we asked him how he likes it. He loves it. ...
       Continue reading "Honda Element"

Honda Element ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 04 Aug, 20:59 Pacific

Monday August 2, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 26 - Sunday Aug 2)

We got up Monday morning and went down to Joes for breakfast, then to CitiBank (where I waited in line for 15 minutes and then took another 15 getting a bank check). Then over to Melody Toyota where Alex the salesman had put a big bow on our new car (awww) and a sales manager was there to shake our hands, shepherd us through (the last of the) paperwork, and repeat over and over how terribly sorry he was that things went awry the day before. (We were supposed to pick up the car on Sunday but things got snafued). Miss Manners would have been very proud. I drove away in our new Scion XB a little before 10. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 26 - Sunday Aug 2)"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 26 - Sunday Aug 2) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 02 Aug, 09:56 Pacific