Sunday December 26, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 20 - Sun Dec 26)

Happy Merry Ho Ho Ho

The Lab where Rich has been working is closed for the last two weeks of the year so Rich is home and we can have lunch together. Monday he went down to the chiropractor, then called me and we had lunch at our favorite diner. We haven't been able to do that very often for over a year.

We went into the City for dinner Monday night to a "21st Century Cafeteria" called Plutos. Yummmmmm. It was quite good (and now we know where to go to get real turkey. ...
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Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 20 - Sun Dec 26) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 26 Dec, 21:51 Pacific

Saturday December 25, 2004

Welcome Christmas

And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow...

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

       Continue reading "Welcome Christmas"

Welcome Christmas ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 25 Dec, 08:30 Pacific

Friday December 24, 2004

Treasures 2004_51

"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. ...
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Treasures 2004_51 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 24 Dec, 22:19 Pacific

Tuesday December 21, 2004

Winter Solstice

Today is the day of the winter solstice, the time of year when the sun stands still. The winter solstice, which occurs on either December 21 or 22, marks the shortest period of daylight — and the longest night — of the year. ...
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Winter Solstice ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 21 Dec, 07:21 Pacific

Monday December 20, 2004

Thoughts for the Season

A thought-provoking sentiment for the year-end season, whatever your religious beliefs.

(Original author unknown)

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata,
but do not remember the people around me,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return;
but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never fails.
Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust;
But giving the gift of love will endure.

Wishing you a joyous & meaningful Holiday Season!

Happy Solstice, Yule, Saturnalia, Christmas, Chanukah, Mid-Winter...

Thoughts for the Season ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Mon, 20 Dec, 20:04 Pacific

Sunday December 19, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 13 - Sun Dec 19)

It's been a pretty week overall, in the high 60s mostly.

On Monday I went to the PO to mail some packages. There was an envelope from the second grade class I volunteered with, containing notes from the kids. Awww.

I used up the leftover cranberry sauce from our turkey dinners by making my favorite cranberry jello fruit salad. I gave a quarter of it to a friend of ours who had commented how tasty it is.

The Company held a "white elephant gift exchange". They did it as one of those where you can choose to keep what you picked or trade with someone else. (Hint: Don't get attached to anything). I got stuck with a box of incense sticks. I was mentioning it to everyone I saw afterwards ("do you know anyone who burns incense?"). I found someone who did and I now have a very happy co-worker. I'm happy too.

Actually, I got what I wanted, which was the gift bag for another gift. The person who grabbed that one didn't want the bag so I snagged it. It's got a cute snowman on it.

The woman who ended up with the gift I brought is very happy with it (she traded the gift she "won" for "mine"). It's a small "aquarium" with two plastic fish that swim around and look quite real. She said she wishes she could have real fsh in her cube but is afraid they'd die. So she has fish and we're both happy. ...
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Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 13 - Sun Dec 19) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 19 Dec, 11:26 Pacific

Saturday December 18, 2004

Treasures 2004_50

These are my treasures for the past week.

  • Honk! Honk! Honk! - A flock of Canadian geese flew over the house as I was filling the bird feeder.
  • A clear start-studded night sky.
  • Orion - my favorite constellation!
  • The woman who got the gift I donated to the Company White Elephant Exchange really likes it. (She traded for it.)
  • A HumVee-style pickup truck?!
  • The weather has been lovely.
Treasures 2004_50 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 18 Dec, 14:00 Pacific

Friday December 17, 2004

Consider it a Challenge

I just read an article entitled "How to Work with an Engineer". Rule #2 says " Engineers are natural-born problem-solvers." It's true. Give an engineer a problem (a challenge) and he'll find a way to solve it.

You may consider this the Engineer's corollary to the age-old wisdom, "Be Careful What You Wish For". As an example, never tell your engineering team that industry studies predict that they should be finding a certain number of bugs per thousand lines of code. If you do, tomorrow you will discover that the engineering staff has obliged!

Another case in point — up until the end of October, the Company I work for was providing 10 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts every Wednesday morning as an employee perk. At the same time, the finance team was thinking of ways to save money; the Company would like to reduce spending by $100K this coming year.

There was an employee survey; a lot of people said they don't need the donuts. The donuts cost a few thousand dollars annually. The donut purchase was cut.

The donut lovers were not happy. They did not revolt, however. They're engineers. They came up with a solution to the problem. ...
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Consider it a Challenge ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 17 Dec, 18:56 Pacific

Tuesday December 14, 2004

Awww Inspiring

When I finished my five weeks of Junior Achievement volunteering, I sent the class a thank you letter, telling them I had enjoyed working with them and thanking them for giving me the opportunity to come to their class.

Yesterday in the mail I received a response — 20 handwritten Thank You For Coming letters from the students. That was a nice surprise. I really appreciated it.

I may not have been enthralled by the program but I did enjoy working with the kids. It's nice to know they enjoyed it too.

Awww Inspiring ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 14 Dec, 17:37 Pacific

Monday December 13, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Dec. 6 - 12)

This week was much warmer and wetter. It started to rain about 5pm on Monday and rained on and off for the next few days. Thursday and Friday we had heavy fog. Saturday and Sunday were mostly grey but neither rain nor fog.

The parking lot behind the Company was a real mess on Tuesday morning after the rain. The parking lot is surrounded with eucalyptus trees and the storm brought down leaves, pods, and long strips of bark.

Rich brought home half a turkey from his visit to Forestville so on Tuesday night we had turkey dinner. I made cauliflower w/ cheese sauce, baked sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes (in case our friend Gene came for dinner; he didn't; he didn't feel well, so we took a plate over to him afterwards). ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Dec. 6 - 12)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Dec. 6 - 12) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 13 Dec, 00:10 Pacific

Sunday December 12, 2004

Technology Moves Forward at the Grocery Store

Thirty years and more ago, your local grocery store used cash registers. Prices were marked on all items; the checker punched that price into the cash register and the total was calculated much like a desktop calculator with a paper tape.

Although the first patent for a bar code type product was issued in October, 1952, and the first bar code used commercially in 1966, it wasn't until 1970 that an industry standard was set. By 1970, the Universal Grocery Products Identification Code (UGPIC) was written; this evolved into the Universal Product Code (UPC) in 1973. In June of 1974, the first U.P.C. scanner was installed at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio. [ref: The History of Bar Code] ...
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Technology Moves Forward at the Grocery Store ( in category Random Thoughts , SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 12 Dec, 18:26 Pacific

Saturday December 11, 2004

Treasures 2004_49

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. ...
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Treasures 2004_49 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 11 Dec, 11:33 Pacific

Sunday December 5, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 29 - Dec 5)

We had a cold spell this week. We even had frost two mornings in a row! Rich was worried about the jade plants and I agreed. We covered the outdor plants with sheets or plastic for overnight.

Wednesday was my last day of Junior Achievement. I wrote up the whole experience in my other weblog, commentary. ...
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Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 29 - Dec 5) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 05 Dec, 23:06 Pacific

Saturday December 4, 2004

Treasures 2004_48

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_48"

Treasures 2004_48 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 04 Dec, 10:00 Pacific

Thursday December 2, 2004

Junior Achievement (pt. 2)

Two weeks after signing up for the Junior Achievement program, all Company volunteers trooped over to the "sponsored school" one afternoon to meet the teachers whose classes we'd be working with. I had a few new feelings of trepidation, not being quite sure if the teacher was really happy with this program (or confident in me). After all, she asked if I had ever done anything like this before and I said "no."

Nevertheless, we exchanged names and contact information. I gave the teacher one copy of the activity guide and we decided when I would come (Tuesdays at 11am, starting the following week). Then that meeting was over and I went back to work. ...
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Junior Achievement (pt. 2) ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 02 Dec, 21:00 Pacific

Wednesday December 1, 2004

Junior Achievement (pt. 1)

As I have mentioned in my Weekly Wrap-ups, I have been volunteering for Junior Achievement in November. Junior Achievement is a not-for-profit organization, the purpose of which is to "educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve the quality of their lives."

The Elementary School Program is for students in grades K - 6. ...
       Continue reading "Junior Achievement (pt. 1)"

Junior Achievement (pt. 1) ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 01 Dec, 22:55 Pacific