Monday, December 10, 2007

The Office Guest

You know it's Monday when you walk into your office to suddenly discover you now have a roommate. A furry, winged one. People thought I was crazy to just be sitting in there with it, carrying on with my day. But what else was I supposed to do? Scream like a little girl? Go into hysterics? Better a bat than wasps, which are also frequent guests to my office. If life gives you bats, take pictures--my philosophy of the day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

If a Tree Falls

The philosophical question for the month is, "If a tree falls in your side yard and nobody is home, does anyone notice?" Or perhaps more accurately, "If a tree falls in your side yard and nobody is home, how long does it take anyone to notice?"

Several weeks ago, I came home from work and thought that this tree in front of our house looked a little different. I stood and looked at it for a while, but couldn't really figure out what was different and gave up. How I knew anything at all was different, I can't say (see first picture). I just figured a branch had fallen or knocked down another one or something.

So a good week later (possibly longer), I actually looked into our side yard and noticed that an entire tree had fallen and hit the branches of the tree in front, thus making it look "different." This is a twenty or thirty foot tall tree. (See second pic with big, yellow arrow. I can't estimate height, or as the case would be now--length, with any accuracy.) Must have happened during the day while we were at work is all I can say, and luckily it went in the best direction possible! Just one of many examples of the truly odd, strange, and even bizarre stuff that happens at our house. (And yes, I know, the ivy is bad. I do what I can, but there is far too much of it for one person to deal with. Feel free to come help me try to contain it while cursing the neighbor who originally planted it.)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Isn't It Ironic

I recently read a book about the carving of the memorial on Stone Mountain by David B. Freeman called Carved In Stone: The History of Stone Mountain. Despite one of the worst editing jobs I've ever seen, it was a really interesting book about the 'discovery' of Stone Mountain and then the decades long struggle/debate about the Confederate Memorial on the mountain. However, I couldn't help but be struck by the irony in it. It seems like there has always been controversy on how the mountain and the land around it should be used. But here are a couple of comments that really struck me (see previous post about another book to get an idea on what I think of the way the park has gone).

During a debate in the 1920s on which sculptor should be given the task of finishing the carving, the members of the association tried to get Gutzon Borglum dismissed stating that he "allegedly tried to organize a stock company to operate road houses, drink stands, and other money-making schemes which "would have converted the whole mountain and its environs into a carnival of cheap amusements."" (Check out the park's current website to see how that eventually turned out.--Stone Mountain Park)

Then the Association got upset about another guy, R. J. Spiller who wanted to lease the top of the mountain. They were concerned "that Spiller would build "a regular hunky dunky which will be an ever-lasting-disgrace to the Stone Mountain memorial."" Again, see my previous post for my feelings on said memorial, as well as the link to the park for how we honor this memorial. Can you say lasers?

And one of my favorite parts. In 1928, the Association was (once again) totally without funds to complete the project. George F. Willis, president of the Association, proposed charging money to view the carving to raise the funds to complete it. Sam Venable (one of the originators of the original idea) "strongly objected. He always maintained that the public should not have to pay to see a memorial."

Even after saying all of this, it really is a great park. I just wish it had been left as a natural area instead of having been slowly transformed into the second most visited theme park in the country behind Disneyworld (according to the book).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My cat is a bigger freak than your cat, Part II

(aka--The cat toy industry is a big, fat joke.)

The other night, my husband and I were sitting in the computer room, minding our own business. He was playing a game on his computer and I was reading or cross stitching. Thrasher had wandered off somewhere, but suddenly came back in, pouncing on something and batting it around. I sort of glanced over at the cat. I couldn't see what he had, so I figured he was just playing with an imaginary bug (if you own cats, you know this game--they chase things that aren't there). In any case, he definitely did not have anything that he shouldn't have.

Well, Thrasher continued to play with whatever this was for a really long time. At least 20 minutes, which I believe is the human equivalent of 2 1/2 weeks. He'd go out in the hall with it, back into the computer room. Out into the hall, into the bathroom, back to the hall, back to the computer room. He even managed to get the whole way out to the living room and then back to the computer room. At this point, I'm getting really curious about what on earth he has since I don't ever remember him playing with something for this long. So I look down. The big, giant goober has (I swear, I'm not making this up) a 1 centimeter square piece of toilet paper.

I could have saved a lot of money on cat toys and just bought a roll of Charmin.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Why I love Georgia, part 2

The fact that the cover picture on a book entitled Natural Wonders of Georgia is the image of a perfectly good granite outcropping (mountain, dome, whatever you want to call it) ruined by a carving of Confederate "heroes." 3,000,000 more beautiful images that could have been used, and the publishers chose that one.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Strange urges

We went out to eat the other night at one of our favorite restaurants. I ate enough of my dish to be full but not in danger of bursting. Then I packed up the rest to bring home for a lunch later in the week. For whatever reason, as we were leaving, I had the strongest urge to grab a spring roll from the plate of some customers we walked by. Strong as in I seriously had to restrain myself. I've had their spring rolls. They're fine, but nothing special. And without the dipping sauce (which I had no desire to grab), they are nothing. But I wanted that lady's food! So, a note to anybody who goes out to eat with me.... You might want to blindfold me before we leave the restaurant as I obviously have little self-control.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mindless fun thanks to a touch of jet lag

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Entitlement, Part 1

(Not originally meant to be a series, but by the time I got home after this experience, I realized that this likely will be a series. Oh well.)

To the guy at the library who got a call on his cell phone and announced to his caller (rather loudly) as he was leaving the library that he "HAD" to leave the library to take his phone call--Get over yourself!!! If you don't like the library's rules and expectations for customers, then maybe you should go to an Internet Cafe and pay for your Internet access rather than complain about having to leave a building to take a call, particularly when that building is providing you a service for free. I highly doubt that you are so much in demand that you couldn't have turned your phone off for the one hour that you are allowed to be on the library computer. I have no doubt that this man went back inside after his call and tried to get the librarians to extend his computer time because he had to step outside for a minute. Computer access at the libraries is a privilege, not a divinely given right.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

1,000 Miles

Early this year, I set a goal to bike 100 miles per month. I am happy to report that I am ahead of schedule and that I hit 1,000 miles while out riding last Saturday. And the more exciting part is that over 700 of these miles have been real, outside riding and not sitting on my bike on my trainer in the living room. Go me!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

My cat is a bigger freak than your cat, Part I continued

Let's add Pop-Tarts to the list of foods Thrasher eats. But raw carrots he's afraid of. Kind of like the reaction I get to pickles. Go figure.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My cat is a bigger freak than your cat, Part I

(what I'm afraid is going to be the first in a series (a long series) of posts about my cat)

If you know my cat, you know that he eats some really strange things--at least things that are strange for a cat. Ok, some are just strange for any sentient being. These things include, but are not limited to: apples, broccoli, chick peas, cantaloupe, lentils, Doritos (all flavors), yogurt, applesauce (a favorite), green beans (canned only), peas, pop ice (but not usually Popsicles), bread, Rice Chex, dryer sheets (we only use liquid fabric softener now after a near death experience with these), mandarin oranges (see photographic evidence), cheese doodles, ice cream, soap (ok, he just licks that), Pup-Peroni, potato chips, cooked carrots, and some types of poppadoms. Again, this is not by any means an exhaustive list. And somehow, he has an uncanny ability to know when anyone in the house is eating or is about to eat any of these things (except soap, dryer sheets, or Pup-Peroni--we humans don't eat those).

Among the list of things he does not eat or eats only under great duress: fresh meat and my husband's odd dried Chinese seafood products.

So tonight, I feed the cat and am trying to find something for me to eat. I can hear Thrasher crunching his kibbles in the background. I look in the fridge. I find the plastic container with part of a can of chick peas. Still more crunching in the background. As I am opening the plastic container, I hear the cat start running toward me in mid-crunch. The little beast actually left his cat food and followed me around the house until I gave him some chick peas. And you don't even want to know what would have happened if I had opened a container of yogurt. This is what I have to live with. On a daily basis. Why me?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I don't want to scan

I hate U-scan lanes. I really do. To me, they are just another sign of the depersonalization of society and the on-going death of customer service. Supposedly, they are there to make our lives easier and get us out of the store faster. Most of the time when I've used them, just the opposite has happened. Like, for instance, the morning a Kroger employee basically pushed my into a U-scan lane. So, I had an entire shopping cart full of groceries, including stuff that was on sale and a couple clearance items. And coupons, of course. So first of all, there wasn't enough space for all my bagged stuff on the little shelf, so the machine kept getting mad at me. And then for the clearance items, I had to summon the U-scan helper to key in the price. And then some of my sale items didn't ring up correctly. Another summoning of the U-scan helper to correct it. Except she actually entered the exact wrong price, which I had no knowledge of until after I paid. So then it was a trip to the customer service desk to fix that. Three hours later (ok, it was more like 30 minutes total), I'm finally walking out of the Kroger. Had I stayed in the regular lane that I had chosen, I would have been out in 10 minutes. So, they don't really save us time, unless maybe you're buying two items at regular price and paying with a credit card (don't get me started on feeding cash into those things--or coupons for that matter).

I also hear rumors that they are supposed to 'save money.' Well, they may be saving the stores money, but I sure am not seeing those savings passed on to me. My proposal is, if you voluntarily use a U-scan lane, you should get an immediate discount off of your total. Doesn't have to be much, just a little something. And if you have to use a U-scan lane (and it is becoming more frequent these days that at certain times, the only lanes open are do-it-yourself), then you should get a bigger discount. Until that day comes, I will continue to avoid those U-scan lanes.

As a side note on saving money, what the heck has happened to the price of milk? The soymilk I buy is now cheaper than the store-brand lactose free cow milk. It's jumped like $.60 or more in the past two months! I'm going to have to get a goat or something.

Friday, June 22, 2007

True Colors

Well, something like 25 years later, I've managed to cross something off of my To-Do list. Last night, I finally got to see Cyndi Lauper in concert. She has organized and is headlining the True Colors tour in support of the Human Rights Campaign. Overall, it was a very good show. I just wish that Erasure and Cyndi had played much longer sets. The Dresden Dolls were quite amusing. Debby Harry was not good--very stiff and boring. But then Erasure came on and played an amazing set. And, of course, Cyndi was wonderful. She is such an entertainer and it was such a thrill for me to finally get to see her live!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Encounters with wildlife

While riding my bike this past Saturday, I had a very unexpected experience. I live in metro Atlanta, so my rides are on surface streets in the suburbs. No place exotic at all. I had just topped a little hill and was on my way down the back side of it when I saw an animal run across the street onto the grounds of this big church about a quarter of a mile away. It looked like a cat from that distance, and I wouldn't have thought anything else of it. However, a car coming from the opposite direction honked its horn at about the same place which got me paying attention and trying to figure out why they were honking and disturbing the peace on a perfectly good, quiet Saturday morning.

So as I approached where the 'cat' had crossed, I could see it running down the drive into the church. What stood out first was how long and bushy the tail was. "Hmmm," I said to myself, "that doesn't look like a cat's tail." Then I noticed its head and ears. Very small head, very large, pointy ears. And then it dawns on me. I think that's a fox. So I quickly crossed the road and biked into the church. I was actually able to get to within about 10 feet of it on my bike and, sure enough, it was a fox. It actually let me bike by it a couple times so I could get a good look. Sadly, I was on-call that day, so I had the on-call phone and not my cell phone which has a camera. It would have been a perfect photo chance, and I think the little fellow would have stayed still long enough for me to take the picture if I had gotten off my bike. Oh well. At least now I'll be keeping my eyes open on future rides in the hopes of seeing him or her again!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why I love Georgia, part 1

(Being the first of what I'm sure will be many sardonic comments about the state of Georgia)

In October of 2006, I spent two fun-filled days in a training session sponsored by an entity of this state. Two days of training that made up over one-third of my required training hours for the calendar year. At the training, we were all asked to self-address an envelope that would be used to mail our training certificates/CEU credits. In order to submit my training hours to my corporate office, I have to have this certificate.

Well, six months to the day of that training, I finally received my certificate. And let me just say what a fine quality certificate it is--plain white (cheap) copy paper with a copied signature and my name printed (I'm guessing by an 8-year-old) in ball point pen.

Yes, this is your state government at its best. I guess I should just be happy I got the thing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Where I've been

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I'm actually pretty amazed by how many states I've visited. Of course, there are a couple that I visited when I was really young (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana), so I don't remember much of them. And it's absurd how close I've gotten to Florida, but I've yet to make it over the border. Oh well. Looks like I need to work on the middle part of the country.

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's one of those days where I really wish I were a dragon.