Saturday, April 26, 2008

Overheard in Meanwhile Manor

You know those times when you are operating in autopilot and at some
point during the task you rise to some higher level of awareness and
you have little to no idea where in the process? A good example of
this might be the morning coffee routine. Many times I come to mid-
making and have no idea what number scoop I'm on.

Anyway, last night after our inaugural spring bike ride, I was making
iced tea and almost made an auto-pilot boo-boo. Let's listen in:

Me: Whoa! I almost put 1/3-cup of salt in the tea instead of sugar.
That would have been less than refreshing.

The T: Yes, but think of the electrolytes you would have replenished.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 25, 2008

Yum vs. Ick

Here I sit in what I've taken to calling The House of Changing Prices.
You may recall a previous post about this bagel shop that sells milk
for market price. Well the new thrill in this capitalist funhouse is
the random pricing. Three days in a row I ordered the same thing: a
toasted bagel with cream cheese. The price went from $2.05 to $1.95 to
$2.05. I assumed the first change was due to the alignment of the
stars or coffee beans or somesuch. When the price increased again, I
decided to question it.

The asst. manager's comment to me: we depend on you guys to tell us
about these differences.

I have no idea how this place stays in business.

And should "lemony" be a descriptive term in a coffee?!?

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Day +2

I missed the official holiday by two days but I still managed to do something nice for the planet. I ventured where few brave souls will go (at least that's how it is in my mind): the toilet tank. Both toilets have been running slowly but oh so constantly for some time now and I finally decided to stop ignoring it. The T was aware of the issues also. For some reason both of us thought the repairs were going to be a much bigger deal than either turned out to be.

Toilet 1 involved turning the floaty-ball-thingie two or three times in a clockwise direction so it would get higher sooner and shut the water off before it began flowing down the overflow pipe into the bowl. In retrospect: well, duh!

Toilet 2 involved directions that called for an actual tool, pliers (not used), and a sponge and the dismantling of the water filler system thingie. There is something disconcerting about directions that say "hand tighten only." Whose hands? Have you ever seen a plumber who does not look like he might be able to crack walnuts with his bare hands? I'm not delicate like a flower but I'm not crackin' any nuts with my hands.

And speaking of plumbers and cracks ... oh, never mind. We avoided that stereotype, gang.

We're back to non-running toilets and feeling all good about ourselves. Sorry we didn't do it sooner, Mother.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What I Learned Before I Went to Bed

"I'm just going to check my computer to see what kind of trouble it's getting me in." This is often the last thing heard in the house before I disappear for an hour. Here are this evening's gems which I found over at Treehugger.

If you charge a return deposit, beer tastes better. —OK, maybe that wasn't the lesson I was supposed to walk away with but it makes me wonder why this method isn't the norm for dealing with recycling of more types of things.

I've been saying this for awhile, albeit less succinctly and with more spittle flying from my lips: "You've gotta love a world where the food that's been sprayed with toxic chemicals is normal and the other stuff gets its own tiny section of the supermarket." Organic may be cheaper than chemical-bathed. Check your labels closely, gang.

Eat your burger and/or the wrapper it came in! —I'd like a Whopper, hold the brain-wasting-disease-carrying-hormone-ridden beef, the bread with HFCS, the chemical-washed lettuce and tomato and the mystery condiments. I just want the wrapper and a non-bleached 100% post-consumer recycled napkin, please. Thanks.

Once again, I'm experiencing "whatamIsupposedtodonow?" syndrome. BPA has been banned in Canada and I have a cabinet full of BPA-laden Nalgene bottles. Now it turns out, cans may be a worse culprit of BPA poisoning. OK, whatever. Tomorrow I'll start dealing with the cabinet full of canned fruit I bought in an effort to avoid purchasing pre-compost. But here's my question: what the hell am I supposed to do with all these Nalgene bottles that are not recyclable in my municipality?!?!?!?! Can't live with 'em, can't toss 'em. Swell.

Enough rabble-rousing. I've lost my appetite to ever eat again—except for maybe food wrappers and beer in Copenhagen—and I'm going to bed.

Herding Cats

It snowed yesterday so today's sunshine is that much brighter.
Everybody wants to be outside--including two members of the Paw Posse.
How to give them some sun while keeping them safe and in the non-
fenced yard? So far, this is working out just swell. The grrllzz can't
agree on anything so I doubt I'll see them strolling down the street
side by side.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction

You may have noticed that the reading list to the left has dragged to a halt while the titles listed in the books on bytes section seem to be set on fast forward, no pun intended. Well, the sun hangs around longer and puttering around in the yard is easier to do with buds in your ears than with a block of paper in tow. And when I crawl into bed at night, I fall asleep without the energy to reach for a book from the pile. So the bytes fly by while the paper collects dust.

Here is the historical trivia of the day. During her lifetime, who performed in a Paris cabaret, tamed lions in L.A. and London with the Ringling Brothers Circus until she was mauled by a bear in Peru, Indiana, then took up a rivet gun ala Rosie in a Miami shipyard? Yes, the daughter of the Mad Monk herself, Maria Rasputin. She rounded out her days as a retired Floridian, occasionally babysitting. Kids you make sure you mind the sitter now or ... or ... where exactly do you go with that thought?

Rasputin's Daughter is an fictional account of the final week or so of Rasputin's life, as seen through the eyes of his eldest daughter. It was the final 5 minutes or so that grabbed my attention last night when the afterword described what happened to all the people depicted in the story. My shallow knowledge of history was given a firm kick when I was once again reminded that history is made up of real people. I'm off to the library today to see if I can find some tome that can fill me in on the Russian Revolution, you know, briefly. I'll let you know what I find.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well, duh

From the department of: Why Didn't I think of This?

So there I am, surfing the net, contently and quietly belching as the evening's salad digests. Tis true, fair reader: I managed to eat a salad while the veggies were still in their pre-compost form. It's a rare event but it happens.

Anyway, I come across this brilliant idea:

found at Neat-O-Rama

Well, duh. My kingdom for a chopstick!! Single portions of massive amounts of meat. All in the same bag.

This is great! It cuts down on the number of plastic bags I'll use in a lifetime, it's quick, efficient, and so damn simple! Ugh. I never would have thought of it. I've been spending my time studying the best way to stack sausages, bags of grated cheese and bagels while maintaining the primo access space for the coffee. Moving on.

Wait, before I go there's one more thing. The woman behind this idea, according to her blogsite is: I'm Biggie: avid cook, speedy lunch packer, mom & former expat fluent in Japanese. I'm tripping over the former expat part. It's almost worse than a double-negative. Does she live in the States now and didn't at one time? Is a former expat now just a pat? Is she even an American? Perhaps she's Canadian. What does one call a maple-leafian who lives away from the tree? An expuck? Oh, ponder, ponder, ponder.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A New Milestone

It's finally happened: I'm living a statistics joke.

This quarter, I'm teaching a night class for the first time. This requires more organization at my end than I've been used to in the past. It's easy to prep for a 12-week course in a general way and than tweak as the quarter progresses. For instance, plan for 4 exams but leave the dates open. Well, you can't do that when a course only meets 11 times. I realized very quickly that if a student misses a class this quarter, he or she will be in serious trouble. I plan on presenting a chapter per week. The particular chapter may be 5 sections long or 10 sections long. Miss the preview/lecture and fend for yourself.

Well, a student missed the first week of class. Since 90 minutes was spent getting organized, I didn't think this miss was too big of a deal. But I made it very clear to the student that her confessed excuse of "laziness" was not a good idea from this point on. She agreed and was happy to hang on to her seat in the class.

Well, she called an hour before the next class and said she was getting teeth pulled in a few weeks and would probably miss class again so she was going to drop the class.

Yup, she would rather get teeth pulled than take statistics.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Onset of Reality

Cancun is only a week ago and it seems so very far away already. It was awesome, folks. We've never taken a vacation before that did not involve staying at a house of a friend or relative. We've never traveled (together) outside the contiguous 48. We've never before stayed at an all inclusive resort where your every need is met with a smile, you're fed, liquored, entertained and bedded while the exotic birds chirp, lizards scamper, waves crash and the sun toasts you ever so lightly. ...sigh...

Once more for time for those in the back row: it was awesome. It was more sun in a week than I've seen for the past six months. It was more heat in a week than I've experienced in the last three years. It was more fresh fruit in a week than my digestive system knew how to handle. Odd, isn't it, that I could pace myself with respect to alcohol but not fresh fruit?

The resort had a pool system, a vast array of swimming holes that may or may not have been connected to one another, but all of which had access to at least one swim up bar. One of these pools had a large area for water volleyball and trite games like Simon Says or water aerobics. We did not visit that pool but we could hear the daily festivities from our deck chairs. One day, on my way to the loo, I happened to see bikini-clad women scampering across the pool deck kissing strange men (read: men not known to them) while being trailed by a handler ... er, another gent who was counting planted pecks, I suppose. I'm glad it was a large pool and I was nowhere near these events. Yes, we staked out terrain that had both sun and shade, had easy access to the water, and was both on the main path of the circling waitresses and directly across from the swim up bar. All my needs for the day were met: sun, water, and libations, deliverable and fetchable. When I felt a little hunger creeping up, I wandered to the deckside grill or a little further to one of many restaurants.

That was how I told time: what beverage am I holding and what meal is this? If the liquid is coffee, it must be morning and this fruit must be breakfast. If the liquid is beer, it must be around noon and this fruit must be lunch and it requires a side of meat. Of course, if this liquid is beer and I am no longer in my swimsuit, then this fruit must be the side dish and that pile of meat and veggies must be dinner so it is evening. If the liquid is beer and I am lying in bed, it must be nighttime. It was quite the system and I have no tan lines from using this particular watch.

It was decadent and well-deserved. I started the quarter refreshed and recharged and not worn down from the previous quarter (which was my condition the day the travels started). It was exactly what a vacation should be: something that does not take place here and is a break from any routine. And it had sun and beer. I'm already looking forward to the next time.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

In between

What is the time between being on vacation and arriving at home
called? How do I designate the last 20 hours or so since it was clear
I was not going to make my connecting flight yet vacation had ended
with the last walk on the beach Saturday afternoon? I've slept and
showered and eaten and waited and waited and waited for more stasis. I
have traveled for 2 hours and changed time zones, as well as the
state, yet I am seemingly no closer to home. Where is this place and
how is the time spent here noted?

Sent from my iPhone

It's 9AM, do you know where you are?

Greetings, fellow carbon units! I hail thee from... from... Denver?!?
Ugh. This vacation just will not end. Of all the family units
congregating in Cancun, The T and I were the last to arrive and the
first to leave. Alas, we may possibly be the last to also arrive home.
Yesterday--I believe it was yesterday; after a week of not telling
time it is hard to do so again, even with big units of time like
'days'--we began the journey north from Paradise. Every single flight
on the departure board was delayed, regardless of airline or
destination. Every single one. Since we knew we had only a 55 minute
layover in Denver, we realized we would not be home on Saturday night.
Frontier Air claims the delay was their fault so they gave everyone a
hotel voucher and some meal money but what would a Frontier mechanical
problem have to do with every single Cancun departure flight being
delayed? I smell some good old-fashioned customer service here. Me
thinks Frontier may have just ponied up the vouchers rather than deal
with 60+ passengers on our plane and who knows how many on the one
that trailed behind us. How many times would you want to have to
explain to a very tired, very tanned, very irate individual why it is
not your fault they are stranded? And can you imagine being the single
employee who had to deal with that mob? I think Frontier did a very
good thing and I am grateful to have had a bed under me last night.
Today's itinerary has us traveling to Seattle via Billings, MT with a
final arrival sometime before the next solstice. I kid. I think we'll
see the Paw Posse around 11 PM, once we drive home from the aeroport.
OK by me.

Similar arrangements, however, were not OK with the very first woman
in line who was offered the same deal. She said that it was
unacceptable and she could not be expected to lose two days like this
and--here's the comment that frosted my chickens--she's a professor,
by golly, and I want to speak to the supervisor. The prof line almost
caused me to begin polling my fellow strandees as to their job titles.
Why on earth did this woman think her professorship entitled her to
anything beyond what was available and possible? It is the end of
spring break, for pete's sake. Two other folks who volunteered to go
stand-by were told that if nothing came available for them today, they
could not expect anything until Tuesday. And the 'losing two days'
mentality is also ignorant. The travel days are part of the vacation,
honey, that's why it is called a week of vacation. The T and I left
Paradise before the rest of the clan for just this very reason. Since
we built in a disaster day, being stranded in Denver is not such a
hardship. If for some strange reason I blog this evening from Billings
rather than the home front, I may be a bit angry but at the moment I
just want coffee. More later, gang. I'm going to go show off my tan in
the dining room.

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