Sunday, December 31, 2006

Out With the Old

Welcome to the last day of 2006. It's amazing, how fast the years go by, especially since I'm out of school.

So, I didn't accomplish all the things I wanted to last year. But as long as life keeps going, I'll keep having a shot at it. If nothing else, I am slowly traveling along the trail to my own independence (and I mean in terms of where I live and being able to afford it not being at home with mom and dad). This is a process and I have a time-frame to strive for. If nothing else, I put myself on this track and it does seem to be the right direction.

One day, I will be able to leave all of this behind me and still retain a sense of security.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Today started out pretty normally. Some last-minute shopping for Monday's New Year's dinner, taking advantage of special after-Christmas coupons, with a little bit of talk about dead presidents and the weather.

But our quiet pizza dinner was punctuated by loud and regularly occurring booms. So, we know they're calling for rain tomorrow, but it's too early to have fireworks. But that sure is what it sounded like. My dad and I went outside to investigate the house-jarring sounds. As soon as we recognized they were coming from the West, we knew what it was. Gerald Ford had landed at Andrews Air Force Base for his final tour of Washington. What we heard what his 21 gun salute.

It was kind of surreal. I know nothing about Ford's presidency other than his then unpopular pardon of Nixon. If for nothing else, he is deserving of honor for that. His staff was against him to the man, but he did it anyway. He new in his heart it was what the country needed. In hindsight, the country knew that too.

The TV went on, and we watched the happenings taking place maybe five miles away, moments ago. I think we should all hope to leave this incarnation that way. Surrounded by people who respect us for the decisions we had to make. The arrival ceremony was somber but not mournful. This was about honor. How strange it is that so few people ever come close to attaining it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Let's See....

Today, I'm going to have happy things to report.

I will report that my voice is coming back (friggin' cold), that I've got the energy to exercise again, that it is in fact not going to rain on Sunday night, and that I get to leave work at 1130.

Doesn't that sound like a good day? Well, that's what I say today will be! Let's see....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Not Much Better

I ended up going home early yesterday, and sleeping a lot. I still feel pretty crappy, but a little better than yesterday. I have to be at work today and tomorrow because acting supervisor is out, and I won't get paid for the holiday if I'm not here.

I would like to be in bed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


That's how I feel today. I probably should have stayed home. I guess I'm stubborn that way.

It's only 0900. It feels like it should be 1400 or something. *moan*

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

For What It's Worth

Christmas songs have been playing through my head all day, I even had The Nutcracker in the car on my way to work. But for some reason, this song popped in my head while I was trying to think up a title for today's blog. I happen to like it, but I have no idea why it's there today.

Almost half of my day has gone by and I just want to crawl back into bed. I think I'm getting a cold, which didn't make for a great holiday weekend anyway, but I do feel a tad miserable today.

It's nothing incapacitating, and I don't have a fever or anything like that (at least, not one worth mentioning to any health service professional). I'll just stuff myself with Airborne and Zicam and lots of water, which I actually haven't touched yet, and get better.

I haven't exercised in about a week. That's what I really hate about not feeling well, I don't feel like doing things that I know are good for me. Then again, I don't want to strain myself or any of that.

I don't think I go to bed early enough. 2100 or so is not enough. Especially with my wake-up-twenty-times-a-night sleeping pattern. I haven't been wanting to wake up early to exercise anyway, regardless of not feeling 100%. So, maybe I should try to be in bed by 2000. Yeah... I can try....

Is it time to go home yet? Oh, and hey! The Nutcracker got back in my head too!

Monday, December 25, 2006

We Wish You A Day of Nothing

For that's what today was. For me, it's a free day off of work. Actually, if they had offered, I probably would have gone in to work.

But I'll take a free day off. I spent the morning finishing part one of the back door. It looks pretty good. I need to make some shapes to do the other door, though, as we've seen, it's going to take a good 4+ hours to complete.

Then we watched some movies and had cheese fondue and salad for dinner. What a great way to spend a day. My mom likes her new pink golf bag, dad needs to check the size on the spray skirt, and I got a pretty ring (with pearls and all of our favorite gemstones) and a shiny new GPS to play with in the kayaks.

It was too rainy and yucky out to play with any of our new toys today. I guess there's always the weekend. And I can take the GPS to work and try to learn how to track my route. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Oh Joy

Today was our Christmas (Eve) dinner. My brother and his wife came up from Harrisonburg (which is like 150 miles from my home, far, but not too far) and they were driving back Christmas day so we had to do the family thing tonight. It was a little odd, because they left early in the evening to go to church, and I've always considered my brother agnostic. They were going to the church they were married in, so I guess they were going to be with her family.

Anyway, I didn't get any of the direct "why are you not married" stuff I was dreading. I got it all indirectly. Everyone was saying how glad they were that my brother and his wife have each other, how good they are together, how they work so well together, how their life together is going well, yadda yadda yadda.

Don't get me wrong, I love my sister-in-law. She's a wonderful person, nice and artistic (we were in the same violin class in middle school) she's good to my brother, and frankly, she is very good for him. So, yes, my family is right. I'm also very glad they have each other. With the car accident that nearly killed them both a couple years ago, my brother being out of work, the surgery to help his shoulder, taking the job in Harrisonburg. They needed each other too.

BUT DO I HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT ALL NIGHT?!?!?!? Like it doesn't make me think that I'm the one who isn't going anywhere?

Alas, I still love my family, my brother, my s-i-l. I know they all mean well. And I'm still taking my friend to the holiday office party. She's already got her dress. Now I need to pick something out.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Last Day

I hate shopping on this day. The two or three days before Christmas are always awful. I refuse to go near a store of any kind on Christmas Eve, and the day before that is about just as bad.

But we had to go. I needed some jeans since my last pair got a mysterious tear in an irreparable location. We also needed some last minute things for dinner and a gift for my grandmother that included food items. We went all over the place, to Annapolis in the early morning and then to Waldorf later. That's a long way, really, my home is somewhere in the middle and both towns are 20-some miles from home in opposite directions. It wouldn't have been so bad if Trader Joe's opened before 9 am. Say, 0800 when we got there.

We managed to avoid mall traffic in both towns by either getting there early, or going around it altogether. This time of year is just not fun for shopping!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Now's the Time

This was going to be yesterday's rant!

Commercial holidays - I hate them. Except Halloween, but that's a different kind of holiday. I'm talking about the ones that occur between the end of November to about halfway through February. You know what I mean, the gathering-with-family and couples-only holidays. There's nothing like getting together with your family to remind you why you live apart. And I can't even take comfort in that last bit.

Don't get me wrong, I love my family. I enjoy spending holiday time with them. What I don't enjoy are the "Why are you not married" tones in everything they do around me. I can't do anything with the lot of them without it coming up at least once. I'm the failure in my generation. The only one who went to college, and the only one who still lives with Mom and Dad while 30 starts to rear it's ugly aging head.

Christmas time is the worst of it. Because what I don't get from my relatives I get from the advertising industry. Every commercial break, there's at least one "Diamonds are Forever" ad. And if it's not diamonds, it's a couple exchanging neatly wrapped shiny packages in front of a blazing fire, the picture of domestic bliss. It's all about what to get your honey or your kids or your in-laws. And why do you think I go with gift cards? Because it's a quick stop in the grocery store or the gas mart and all my shopping is done, without the endless sales tables piled high with things to buy your S.O.

Wait, New Years is pretty bad too. Whatever gathering, shindig, or hootenanny I go to will have me surrounded by happily coupled people who know they'll have a guaranteed smoochy when the ball drops. This leaves little single me rocking on my heels failing miserably to will time to pass faster for the crowd of two-headed monsters to detach. Sure, I get hugs, but that's secondary. I'm the afterthought, the one who gets told "you'll find someone this year" with pity-filled post-smooch voices. This is why I prefer the Twilight Zone Marathon on the SciFi Channel.

January has OBC's annual a-month-after-the-holiday-for-more-free-beer party. This is kind of fun, because I get to see the CEO drunk every year, and I was welcomed to be there even before I started working here. But everyone is allowed to bring a guest, and everyone is expected to be introduced to the person who owns the arm that you've got the hold of death on. Who do I bring? My friend, who happens to be both female and not my S.O. This creates new problems for me, because I have to explain to people who are expecting current or future domestic partners that it's perfectly ok for single adult females to take advantage of dancing and free beer and gambling with fake money. The difference this year is that my friend will get to tell me all about her new boyfriend over dinner and/or blackjack.
And speaking of the office, I also get the short end of the stick because I don't have to go out of town to visit in-laws, or take a week off while the kids are not in school. Coupled and kid-toting folks get holiday vacation priority. Leaving us single unattached and unburdened peeps to pick up the slack. Oh joy.

Do I even have to talk about February? Fluffy bears holding fluffier pink hearts, boxes full of chocolate covered calories, more diamonds. The day when if you're not coupled, you're not alive. Thank goodness this isn't a dinner with the fam kind of holiday, or I'd never hear the end of it. Crawling under a rock wouldn't save me from this most wretched day. What was I thinking? Christmas has nothing on this holiday.

It doesn't stop there, because then we have the fertility festivals, a plethora of coupling ceremony anniversaries, and then, inevitably, more diamonds. And I haven't even touched on the people who want to set me up with the stranger they sat next to on the airplane. Yup, there's nothing like the holiday season to make you hate your life.

It's ok, it's almost time for Probe 7, Over and Out.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Different Tune

I was going to rant about something today, but I've decided to say


instead. The rant can wait.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Anything But Work


Ok, maybe not anything, but you know what I mean.

I was feeling like this yesterday afternoon. And today I had to be at work at 5am (my dad had to update something). I actually felt pretty good and mostly awake today. Go figure. It was probably the peppermint coffee I had this morning....

The United States Postal Service is stupid. Apparently, they can deliver a package whenever they please, whether you pay for 2-3 day shipping or not. And it doesn't matter if it's shipped two weeks before Christmas or not. I don't care if I can't consider it lost until it's been 14 business days, I want it to get there! Fortunately for them, it arrived yesterday (THANK YOU, YE GODS!), or I would have had to go to the local USPS office and verbally take out my frustrations on the poor sap behind the counter. You want to know what was in that box? Update to my website coming soon™ (after the recipients open it, of course)!

And I'm sure you want to know how my toy kitty is working out. It works well. There's just something about being in a car for 3 hours trying to get home that's better with a cat (even a toy one) on your lap. A real live one would be better, no argument there, but this works.

Sorry, everyone! No one is getting a holiday card from me this year. I could not for the life of me get my printer to cooperate. It kept printing starting at the bottom of the image, ignoring all the white space that I had to keep the 4-fold card straight. I don't know why it was doing that, it sure was annoying. For the record, here's this year's holiday image that didn't print correctly!

And here's my new kitty companion, Frisky, who doesn't seem to mind the 50 mile commute. (Showing here with the real kitty, Callie, watching Miss Luna creep up on her.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Tragic Hero

So, I was sitting with my parents at a meal the other day, and we started talking about Harry Potter. My mother was talking about the movies, I was talking about the books (and how I plan to take off work and stay inside and not talk to anyone until I'm done reading it, lest someone tell me the ending like someone did for the last book.)

We inevitably started talking about the much-discussed eager-fan speculation: will the beloved boy wizard meet his end with the end of the series?

If you haven't read all of the current Harry Potter books and plan to, stop reading now and come back after you have done so, spoilers will follow, suddenly and without any other warning.

One of Rowling's reasons for killing Sirius Black, that also applied to the death of Albus Dumbledore, was that (note this is probably misquoted) 'people need to die.' Sure, maybe they do. Death is a part of life, after all. And Rowling's world does exist within *most* of the current laws of physics and biology. (Magic notwithstanding, but we all know magic has its own laws.)

Harry is a tragic hero. He's talked about it himself. He will either win, and therefore be a murderer, or he will lose, and therefore die. This looks a lot like lose/lose. Harry is a good guy, so Rowling needs to ask if he would be able to live with himself having killed someone, even the evil Voldemort. But he has killed someone before (remember Professor Quirrell?) and seemed to be alright with that. My, what a dilemma! (He's also already killed a piece of Voldemorte, he's already on his way.)

You'll notice I'm not answering the 'will Harry die' question. I, of course, do not want him to. I think Harry is a wonderful character, he's gotten children and adults to read, and often read together. I think he needs to live because of hope. People need to have hope, they need to believe that someone more extraordinary than Joe Public fights for what is right and comes out triumphant in the end, all the struggle was worth it for the success. What a dark world it would be if all the fighting did not bring the good people out on top.

But on the other hand, Harry is a good guy. He's going to his final show-down knowing he will have to kill someone. Would Harry, as we know him, want life after that? Has he had enough time to square with the reality of what he is expected to do? Will he make the ultimate sacrifice for Wizards and Witches everywhere?

Unlike The Matrix, which ended the only way that series could, I do believe there could be life after death for Harry. Harry could do the service to the magical world that he is expected to do and be ok. Then my mother thought this one up; it doesn't have to be the end if Harry dies either. People have been putting protections and enchantments on Harry since his birth. There's bound to be something that could protect/save/resurrect him if the final battles goes ill. I'm not sure if I agree with this particular train of thought, but there's a possibility.

The thing is, there are really two options here. Harry wins and we all live happily ever after, or Harry wins but dies in the process. The third option, that Harry dies and Voldemort lives is unfathomable. Then what would be the point? An elaborate and well-loved series where evil wins the day? Rowling may find herself reprising Stephen King's Misery if she's not careful.

I think us fans are going to continue to talk about it until the last book comes out and we all find out what happens. Just remember, I'm not going to converse with any person in any way whatsoever from that moment until I'm done reading.

Monday, December 18, 2006


All you people who spend your days working for other people know about those days when you just don't want to be at your desk (office, store, whathaveyou). Heck, I'm willing to bet even you working for yourself people feel that way sometimes.

Maybe it's the unusual Spring-like weather, the beautiful sunny day and me without a window, that I have a handful of craft projects I'd rather be doing, or that I just installed a ton of awesome content for Poser.

Yeah, it's probably Poser and how much I want to play with my new toys (and find out why the lion's mane is white and green striped). It's easy to go broke getting content for Poser (the best models can be found at, if you want to know), and just wait until the new version of Vue comes out. This new content that I just installed are actually things I've purchased (mostly with vouchers) and downloaded but just never set up to use, with a few new things bought in the mix (like the new Victoria figure, which is really impressive). It's like Christmas before Christmas.

But, alas! I have to be at work, and I can't design my Yule cards and play with the Shroomcastle and Giant Chess set and drool over all the things that I can't wait to get more vouchers so that I can have them (like more clothing for V4, and the clothing converter, some hair, the Oriental scenery, the Melinnium Horse and Dragon. You know, simple things). I wonder if DAZ does gift certificates? I think I need to start asking for those. You know, all the nifty things in my webstore are a result of those two programs, Poser and Vue.

I think I'm still a novice in the world of 3d digital art, and there's a lot about my expensive programs that I don't know how to do, but I love them anyway. I love creating with them, and figuring out how to make the programs do what I see in my head. Yeah, I want to be home playing with my computer.

By the way, support your struggling artist! The link to the store is on your right -->

The better I get with the software, the more neat things you'll see there!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Even Closer to Done

I had this great idea for a gift for my mother, and my dad was going to help me with it. We had a chance to go to the store to get it today, and I think we managed to successfully conceal it in the car even with mom there. It's not really a big secret, she knows what she's getting because I asked her if she wanted one and needed some specs from her, but I got to pick the color!

I also changed my mind about what to give my aunt and my grandmother, so I got supplies to make them something else. I was going to paint each of them a wooden cross, but inspiration to paint just wasn't coming. I've recently started painting glass (the kind that makes it look like stained glass) so I'm going to make each of them a jar that could be used for flowers or candles or whatever. This is a fun kind of paint, I even have permission from mom to do the backdoor. Should be fun. And with all this warm weather we've been having, I don't have to wait!

While the glass paint needs a little time to dry, I have one scarf to finish (and eventually get in the mail) and then I'm done and done.

So, while we were out yesterday in the last Sunday shopping rush (yuck), my parents and I also found time to run to the movies and see Eragon. It was ok, having not read the books before seeing the film. I did feel like it was rushed, we didn't have a lot of time to get to know and care about the characters (and I really feel they didn't have enough time to get to know and care about each other). But what can you expect from an 1 hour, 40 minute film? Visually, it was very well done. There was very nice scenery, and the dragon was very very well integrated (she was oh so cute as a baby!).

The books are on my list of things to read, and will probably serve to fill in all those things that the film didn't take the time to do. Otherwise, it was good. If you like dragons, go see it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Last Minutes Here

Ok, so I really don't like the hustle and bustle that is this time of year. Everyone is hurrying here and there, so bent on getting that special gift for that special someone that everyone else just gets in their way. The spirit of giving makes them blind to the fact that it should apply to everyone, not just friends and family. The longer they wait, the worse it gets. Have you ever noticed how this time of year just brings out the worst in people?

I vowed this weekend to finish whatever residual shopping I had to do so that I don't need to go anywhere near a shopping center of any kind in the coming week.

This weekend isn't exactly the last minute, but it's pretty close. To that I will admit. But all I had left (that wasn't waiting to be made) was something for mom and something for dad. Well, the store didn't have the something for dad, so I had to order it online. I hope it gets here on time! Really, on time is late Spring, so no worries there.

Then I just need to finish a scarf and what I am making for my aunt and grandmother, and I still have mom's gift to get, but then I'm all done. It's nice to be all done! Mostly.

And shopping wasn't too crazy today, though we didn't get to Trader Joe's (probably a good thing since that's over by the mall).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Soul's Worth

I enjoy Christmas music. Not the jazzed-up, modernized stuff, but the traditional carols or instrumentals thereof that you might hear at midnight Mass.

Those who know me well might think it strange that I do. But I have my reasons, and you can bet that I'm here to share them with you.

The first is simply fond memories. I have so many of the late nap on Christmas Eve before we woke up to go to the 2330 Mass. My parents were in the church choir, you see, and they always sang these beautiful songs before Mass started at midnight. I love that choir, I loved sitting in the loft with them, listening to the beautiful music and longing for the day when I'd be old enough to sing with them. Now that I think about it, I could have been singing with them all along, after all I had been singing with the school chorus since I was quite young. Anyway, I did love listening to them throughout the year. (I did get to sing with some of them about a year ago, I blogged about it then, check the archives.) Dottie and Joe would sing O Holy Night, Barbara sang Mary's Boychild, and I just loved it when all the voices came together for Carol of the Bells. I think the Christmas program was special mostly because the Mass was at a special time.

I also love testaments of faith. I was near in tears when I went to Notre Dame five years ago. That people can love their gods so much to be willing to build a temple to them knowing full well they would not live to see it completed is an amazing thing to me. It's the same with music, though in a different sense. People are so strong in their faith that they create some truly beautiful sounds as a tribute to that faith. I think it is something to be honored. And when you hear someone performing it with the same amount of passion, even if the words are not a part of your faith, you can still be moved by them.

It's just one little part of the Human Condition.

PS: this is my 300th blog post! Woohoo!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


So, did everyone catch the Geminids last night? It's a good time to see them because of the moon phase. There was too much light pollution for my dad and I to see much, but there were a handful streaking across the sky. There should still be some to see tonight; look to the East around 2100, the radiant is the constellation Gemini (which should appear to the left of Orion if you're in the Northern Hemisphere). Happy gazing!

I'm trying a few things today.

First, I mentioned that I don't use my spiffy new prayer beads every morning, but I'd like to. I've been staying up late and sleeping in a lot lately, so I don't have much extra time in the morning anyway. Today, since I wasn't driving to work (I carpool with my dad, remember), I took my beads with me in the car and recited my affirmations for the day on the way to work. I feel pretty good today. Maybe there is hope for starting every day with something positive.

The other thing I'm trying is going to sound silly and maybe even a little childish, but it's worth a try. Since my days at work tend to be highly stressful, the first thing I want to do when I get off is hug one of my sweet kitties. (This urge for some feline comfort does happen every day.) The thing is, I have to wait 1.75 to 2 hours before I can do this, and sometimes my tricksy little kitties like to run from me (it's actually a little chasing game that we do, but Miss Luna always wants to chase when I just want to hug her) so my urge to pat them a little goes unappeased. So today, I brought a little stuffed animal kitty with me, so that I may pet it on the way home and unwind a little from my day before I have to chase and be chased by the real kitties in my life when I get home.

So, you're all probably laughing right now, and that's fine. Have you ever noticed that things that you loved from your childhood have this incredibly huge power to de-stress you? When I've had really bad days, I'll read to my cats some of my favorite stories from when I was a child. My sweet babies usually purr away while I'm reading, and then we sleep through the night. Also, coloring with crayons has the same calming effect. With all of this knowledge, why wouldn't a stuffed animal do the same thing? Yeah, keep laughing, but when I get home all calm and successfully leaving work at work, you won't be laughing anymore.

And now that I've said all of that, here's today work rant.

Yesterday, one of my coworkers was out because her daughter was ill. I have to back up one of the (very important) things that she does daily, so I need to know when she won't be here. Yes, sometimes people don't know until they don't show up, but at that point someone should have told me. It wasn't until 1000, when I said to WAM, "I guess she's not coming in. It'd be nice if someone would tell me these things" and proceeded to do the work she was not here to do. WAM simply agreed and went on working. Apparently, an e-mail was sent to my little group at 0702, but our acting supervisor (who also wasn't here yesterday or today) misspelled my name and so it never got to me. But wouldn't you think, if you were an intelligent and logical person, that if someone was complaining about something important that they should have been told and was not, and you knew because you had the e-mail, wouldn't you have said something like, "but there was an e-mail, didn't you get it?"?!?!?!?!? But we all know that WAM is neither intelligent nor logical. I do hope I get a chance to ask WAM why the e-mail wasn't mentioned, because it makes me look like I'm just complaining, when I really did have a reason to.

Oh, there are other things happening at OBC that are upsetting my little department greatly, but I sure don't feel like going into them now. Methinks it's time for a one-on-one with my acting supervisor.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Your Call Will Not Be Answered Anytime Soon

OBC has a lot of telephone lines: one for each full service FI, two for all the other FIs, one for sales, one for payments, two for merchant issues, among others.

One of those Merchant lines goes direct to my department. When I first started working here, no one answered it, nor the voice mail box attached to it. A few months into my employment, they decided that I should answer the voice mails. A few months after that, I said that there would be less voice mails if someone actually answered the line. They agreed, and assigned a team which included me to answer. For reasons unknown, everyone eventually dropped out of answering, but the bosses would always yell at me if the phone wasn't getting answered.

For most of my 3+ years of employment here it has been like this. Me and occasionally one other would answer all the calls, and I would also still answer the voice mails. Eventually, the one other person who answered with me started just signing on when I was at lunch. Frankly, the volume is so much that we can't do anything else if we're taking calls (and don't forget me and the voice mails).

With the lack of an Adolf in my department, Boss² and the Acting Adolf decided that we needed more people on the phone. Huzzah! They took me off the voice mail (thankyouthankyouthankyou!) but I still had to answer incoming calls. The person on the voice mail does not.

Now, there are only 5 people in my group. First they wanted 4 of us on the phone (sans the VM answerer), then someone decided that they had too much work to do to be bothered with it. Then someone decided that WAM had important things to do and could only be on in the afternoon. So, now we're back to me, and the person who was on when I went to lunch.

Speaking of lunch, and here's the source of today's rant, I get a 30 minute break. It's a good deal, it means I can sit in going-home traffic 30 minutes earlier. WAM tends to take lunch around the same time I do, but gets an hour. Sometime during that time when both WAM and I were at lunch, Boss² (who is "working" off-site today) called the line to see if we were on it. The person who was not at lunch was on the line, in the middle of a call, actually. So, Boss² gets all upset because no one answered.

As I am walking back to my desk from my lunch one of my coworkers told me that Boss² tried to call but couldn't get through. "I was at lunch," I said. Then the three of us who are supposed to be on the phone get an e-mail from the only supervisor left in the department (not my supervisor, mind you) saying that Boss² couldn't get through and we all needed to sign on right away. I said the same thing, I would have been on, but was at lunch. Then WAM came back and said the same thing. And the other person got off the phone and said they were on a call and so couldn't take another one. Then the person who answers the VM said the volume has not been bad at all, so it's not like we're way behind.

None of us believe that our phone line is that dire that we need to be on it 24/7 (or we'd be staffed 24/7, right?) and with 2.5 of us taking calls all day, the VM volume isn't bad and could stand to take a few while people are at lunch.

My point, the source of today's migraine, is that I've been virtually the only one on the **** phone for about 3 years and now, when I was at lunch, is when they decide to ********* about it not being answered. I guess I'm supposed to send an e-mail to the group whenever I get up from my desk so everyone will know that I won't be there to take a call.

Forget place of employment, hello elementary school.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Truth Be Told

You know, I think variety is what keeps people liking their jobs. Here, they've given me some other work to do because my regular stuff is all done, and I'm ok doing it. I don't have an urge to sit around on the internet or anything like that (though it would still be nice). It's not so bad that I'm doing something different today. Actually, I'm doing something different of the entry-level variety, but still. Not so bad.

And speaking of truth, a friend of mine sent me an awesome quote from Benjamin Disraeli this morning. "Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth."

Well, I'm still not the happiest OBC worker around. I do wish I was home with my sweet kitties who seemed to like the company yesterday.

We have had Miss Luna for 2 years. It was a cold November when we first spotted a stray black kitty. I was very concerned about it, so started leaving cat food on the porch. One night, before I went to bed, I opened the door to see if anything was there, and a short-haired little black kitty was eating away. He looked up at me and backed away a little. He had white paws and a cute little white chin.

I didn't want him out in the world in Winter, so I set up the garage door to shut at the push of a button and put the food in there. I gradually moved it back further and further into the garage. I saw him in there once, and he ran out before I could hit the button. I saw him in there again, but there was something wrong with the door, and it bounced back open when I hit the button. But the food kept getting eaten.

On Thursday, December 9th 2004, my mother called me as I was driving home. "I caught the kitten!" she said. She told me she just peaked in there and saw its little ears and hit the button and the light came on and the door came down and the kitten was frantic. So, I went in to the garage to say hello (this probably wasn't such a good idea, there's so much junk in there!). The kitten was sitting on top of a barrel by the garage door watching me. When it saw that I saw it, it climbed up the door and sat on the roll track. Guess what? This was not the same kitten I had seen! This kitten was long-haired, and had a white crescent on her nose. Her fur was all matted and wiry.

She was the tiniest kitten I ever saw (that wasn't newborn, that is). She fit herself into a small space that I can't even describe, but we did manage to get her out of it and into a cage to go to the vet. Thankfully, our doctor pronounced her disease-free, and 6 months old! (judging by her size, everyone guessed something more like 6 weeks.) We moved her from the garage to my brother's closet. Then eventually to the room. Soon, she had run of the whole house.

This was the first truly wild feline I have ever come across. I worked with her several times a day; holding her and petting her and letting her get to know me. As she got comfortable, I stopped using gloves when I handled her, and she started taking care of herself. Her fur got all silky and soft, and she hasn't had a knot since.

That little cat is a little terror now. She claimed the house as her own, much to Callie's dismay. She runs for cover whenever strangers are around. She still plays like a kitten, and can be oh so sweet when she wants to be.

And what of that first kitten I saw? I had seen him about the neighborhood every now and again. But sadly, he met his end on the road about a month ago. I felt bad because I didn't save him. But relieved, because that could have been my sweet little Miss Luna.

Oh, now I really wish I was home hugging my kitties!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Day Off

And what a fantastic day it was. I finished a project. um...well... other than laundry, that project was all I really wanted to do today, and it did take all day. But anyway, I did exactly what I wanted to do with my day off.

We were looking at temperatures in the 60's today. What happened to December? I know I shouldn't ask, we'll get the ice we always get soon enough. But it was just as beautiful today as it was yesterday, and even warmer.

So, remember when I talked about this strange whim to make prayer beads? Here they are!

I've been trying to use them every morning (that doesn't work most mornings, though). I tend to just repeat the Reiki principals and add an affirmation or two for the day. I have more beads to make more sets, I don't know what I'm going to do with them, actually, but I just might keep putting them together anyway. I used 27 beads (a division of the 108 in standard prayer bead sets) and one to join (making 28 total beads, which is common among non-denominational prayer beads). Yeah, it was an odd impulse, but I did it anyway!

So there you have it! My day. And I have to go back to work tomorrow. Oh, joy.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Frozen Bay

Sorry I'm without pictures.

My aunt took my parents and I to brunch in Chesapeake Beach today. We used to go here all the time, and this is the same place where we sometimes have Thanksgiving dinner. For the record, the food here is better than any brunch I've ever been to. I'll actually eat the pot-o-scrambled-eggs, the grits were not runny, and the cream chipped beef was more beef and less cream. Perfect. The cooks of the brunch we go to monthly in Annapolis can learn a few things here.

But anyway, the bay was frozen. Parts of it were. When my brother and I were young, the area in front (or is that really the back? More on the side, maybe) of the Rod'n'Reel Restaurant was beach. There were a couple jetties of rock that we could walk out on, and there were always sharks teeth to find. Now, there's a hotel, docks, breakers, and no sharks teeth. The beach has silted in so much that some of the spiffy new docks are unusable. This little area, between the rock jetties and behind the breakers, was all ice this morning. The gulls were standing on the water. They were really cute when they landed on it; all of them would slide a little bit on the ice. And the sky was so clear, we could see the islands on the Eastern shore. Almost clear enough for my $4000 eyes to count trees. Mmmmmmm....

It's kind of sad to see the development that Chesapeake Beach has endured over the years. Maybe that's why we stopped coming so often. Don't you sometimes wish people would just stop building? Like all the forests that are turning into half a million dollar houses that would cost about that much a month just to heat or cool. And my aunt, who used to have a cottage at Plum Point (have you ever seen the film Patriot Games? We passed that house to get to her cottage), said that flood insurance is near impossible to get. What's the point of building and living there in these expensive houses if it can all be washed away so easily?

Well, it's also near impossible to hold on to something you once loved when the world makes it go away.

The purpose of today's writing was not to get all nostalgic, but to say that today was a beautiful day, I got to hear the waves, and then I came home, finished a doll, and did a lot of knitting. Time slowed down a little today. It doesn't do that very often.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday of Nothings

As in, nothing really eventful happened today.

My mother and I went shopping, mostly for groceries and yarn for gifts and things. I probably shouldn't have, but I did buy a ring to replace the platinum and Tanzanite one that I lost years ago (it was a gift from my mother, so I needed another). This new one isn't set in platinum, 14 k white gold instead, but has much more brilliant Tanzanite and bigger diamonds (also with a larger sticker price). Really, I'm sure that once I've replaced my old ring, it will turn up. So I have an ulterior motive. And before you start yelling at me for spending money I shouldn't be spending, it was on sale, more than half off. So, here's to the reappearance of a special keepsake.

Fox and I were going to go riding tomorrow, but poor Fox has a cold. Feel better soon, Fox! We'll try out that new place some day.

Yeah, that's about all I can say for today. Cheers!

Friday, December 08, 2006

It Took me Four Days to Hitchhike from Saginaw

There's a major AT&T/SBC/Ameritech processing center in Saginaw Michigan, and every time I see it in OBC's lovely database, the above line from Simon & Garfunkel jumps into my head.

I happen to like that song, so it's mostly ok.

I actually did 45 minutes on my elliptical last night. I crawled into bed, but it wasn't so bad. There's nothing like feeling like you're actually doing something good for yourself.

By the way, I know some of you are also trying to make healthier choices in life so I'm going to give you a tip. I am by no means an authority, but I have found something that works for me. Keep an exercise journal. In it, you can write the date, periodically record your weight and measurements, and right down what you did as far as physical activity. For example, my entry for last night will show that I worked on the elliptical on level 1 in the evening, and records how many minutes, the distance, and calories burned from the machine's read-out. Somedays, I'll have an AM entry (like 25 minutes on the Pilates machine) and a PM entry (like 15 minutes on the elliptical and the stats).

Keeping a journal kind of keeps me moving, as in "I really need to work out, I haven't updated my journal in two days." And you can also use it to track your progress, like how your weight and measurements might change week to week.

Anyway, just a thought.

Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, they've all come to look for America.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Today is a Day

Here's one of those days where I don't know what to write.

I know way back when I started this blog I wanted a safe place to rant about work. Recently work has been so dreadful that I don't even want to rant. They're treading on a thin line right now. Things have gone so out of control that I could walk out at any second. Except there's that little thing about bills to pay and houses to someday buy and the need to be making money to do it and all.

I'm off on Monday, I only need to get through one more day.

Here's a question: if my job makes me so miserable, and has done for some time, why don't I even attempt to find another one?

Maybe it's because change is sometimes not worth the effort. Almost any job falls under the shit job category anyway. (Good gracious, I just swore again!)
Maybe it's because job hunting is hard.
Maybe it's because I plan to move away from the area soon (not soon enough) and so don't want to start something new that I'll just be leaving in a few months.
Maybe. Who really knows.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Something I Haven't Done in a While

I didn't go to any non-work related website during work today.

I know *gasp*

I never used to navigate to other sites when I first got the job an actually enjoyed what I was doing. Alas, things at OBC started to suck and I had to find other ways to keep my brain stimulated. Since I still had to work, playing around on the internet was the next best thing to what I really wanted to do. And now that I'm window-less, it's even more necessary.

So, what did this little experiment do? I got up from my desk less (this is not a good thing, I barely get up from my desk anyway). And my eyes burned more. My attempt at early bed might have to work tonight. Oh, and you, fair readers, had to wait longer for my update.

Don't expect it to last, it was just something to try. Until they start yelling at all of us, they can't single me out, so I'm not worried. If they give me the window back, I may have less need of the internet. But, the way I've been going lately (Boss² seems to be in a bah humbug mood) they probably won't do any favors for me.

All I can say is: the sooner I relocate, the better. And I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not Much Better

I'm much more calm about the arriving to work on time thing though. I was still late today, because I didn't plan for scraping the frost off the windshield, but I still feel better. I also got a new idea about the room project and spent last night when I couldn't sleep making sets of prayer beads.

I'm not entirely sure why I decided to make sets of prayer beads, really. I saw the little wooden beads in the store and that's what I wanted to do with them. There's no rhyme or reason to my beads, so I may have to alter them a little when I get home (as far as number of beads, I mean. I suppose no set number is what non-denominational beads are about, but they still don't make much sense. I'll think about it!). I string them on colored hemp with a pretty porecelin bead and a cotton tassel. They are really cute. I made three last night. The moon is still full, so it won't make much of a difference in my intent even if I have to adjust them. But still, what, exactly, was my intent?

I've been knitting like a mad fool! I still have three scarves to finish. And I have one more doll project to finish (that should probably be done soon, actually). And I think I need to add another scarf. Well, one thing I can say for the cold Winter months. It's a good time to stay inside and be crafty!

Recently, my mom and I have been creating to the soothing sounds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. The early seasons were the best. We're somewhere in the middle of Season 2 right now. What else are we supposed to do with all our tv shows on that strange Winter sabbaticle?

And, I'm thinking of cutting my hair when the weather gets warmer. What do you think?

Did anyone else notice that I didn't elaborate on why today is not much better than yesterday? Talking about crafts is a de-stresser, I think!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Only One Reason to Like Mondays

And that's because I was born on one.

I spent the morning bitching at my dad (oh, my stars, did I just swear in the printed word??) because we can never leave the house on time. "On time" to me, by the way, is 0545. That should be enough time to get to the office before my official start time of 0700 and give us time to deal with whatever problems we have along the way.
We never leave the house at 0545. We come downstairs from dressing at that time and still need to get tea or water, gather lunch and breakfast, find coats, bags, and badges, and then get out the door. This can usually be by 0558 or after 0600. Leaving at this time will make me late. Period. If something happens on the road (like an accident in our way or something) I will be later.

Maybe dad doesn't care about what time we show up at work, but I care. They can and will fire me for it. Dad is on salary, so it doesn't seem to matter what time he shows up. They're not going to give me any leeway despite the fact that I've got 50 miles to go to get to them, so I need to get to them on time.

Now, I know this seems like I'm ragging on dad, but I can't be ready by 0545 most days either. I've got some reasons for this, but they're going to sound like excuses so there's really no point in saying them. I suppose the truth somewhere in there is that I'm not that excited about my job to care to do what I need to get there on time. But on the other hand, I also need a job and this seems to be as good as it gets.

Today, I insisted we didn't have time for tea (we didn't) nor to wash my travel mug (that had coffee in it on Saturday and I hadn't washed it yet) for water. I feel like we left the house angry at each other (additionally, I was angry at me) and feeling rushed. The time? 0558. Late.

I didn't fume over it, 0558 should be plenty of time to get to work with a couple minutes to spare. The moon was bright and beautiful and full, and I was well on my way to arriving before 0700.

Then there was a crash. At Route 66 and the Beltway in Virginia (I get off of the Beltway at 66 to get to work). The road was closed, and backed up for 5 miles of barely moving. We decided to go around it. I was going to be late, but thinking it may not be so bad.
Then there was a crash. At Route 28 and Walney Road in Virginia (I get off of 66 at 28 and turn onto Walney Road). We forgot about it and so could not go around. All this adds up to 30 minutes of lateness.

Maybe we would have bypassed all the trouble if we left at 0545, maybe not. Maybe we would have had enough extra time to deal with all the people who seem to have forgotten how to drive, maybe not. But, despite my efforts this morning, I was late. I suppose the lesson could be that it doesn't help to be angry, especially when the powers that be were ensuring that I be late. But that lesson isn't really going to save my job.

So, tonight, we're going to try something. We're going to try to go to bed at 2030 instead of 2100. We're going to try to actually get up at 0415 instead of lying in bed until 0500. We're going to try to be ready and downstairs by 0530. We're going to try to be out the door by 0545. And we're going to leave without dad if he's not ready.

Every month, the people who are never late get on a special list and get a certificate good for 1 hour of PTO. I used to make it all the time, and since we moved to this building, I've made it only once. I wanted so much to do it this month. How's that to start off being late on the first day?

Ye gods, how I hate this place.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Breakfast Time

Our monthly brunch with the RenFaire group was today. It was cold, and I didn't wear enough coat, but our friends live about a mile out of Annapolis, so we parked at their place and walked to the city. There's my exercise for the day!

My mom and I were going to buy some hats, but they didn't really have a color that I liked. We'll just have to check back.

It was much colder for our walk back than it was for our walk there. I guess that means it's going to start to feel like December (if anyone wants to know, we've been in the 70's for the past few days).

By the way, I didn't make it to the Luminaria yesterday because of a crippling migraine. They always seem to happen when I want to do something. I'll just have to post last year's pictures.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Big Shopping Day

Well, kind of. My mother and I have coupons for Chico's that need to be used. (The only time we ever shop a Chico's is with coupons. Their stuff is great, but way out of my regular budget.) We will also get to run by Trader Joe's and the fabric store. I'm actually in the market for some yarn instead of fabric though. I believe my lunch group here at work will be getting nice soft warm scarves from me this year.

That's the plan, shopping! And then home in time to go to the Luminaria at Sharpsburg with my dad.

Oh, and I don't need to specifically exercise today. Shopping is exercise enough.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Not Exactly Slacking

I didn't exercise yesterday evening, nor this morning. I have a good reason though: a big black back of trash and another of clothes to give away. I got in cleaning mode yesterday and I just couldn't stop.

This is a good thing, though. People wonder how I live in my room. Heck, I wonder how I live in my room. That's another of those things that I want to fix about my life. Don't get too excited, this process is probably going to take months. But if I can do a little a day, it won't be so bad. I'll do some more clothes dumping this evening. And I'm going to take the room by sections so I'm not looking at the big picture but just a bit at a time.

And soon there will be enough time in my day to do everything. Well, one can hope.