Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

As I woke up this Thanksgiving morning, with one cat on my bladder and one cat pawing my face because she was hungry, I started contemplating what all I had to be thankful for.

In no particular order of importance,...

I'm thankful that my precious fluffy baby girl has recovered from near death, potential liver failure, and a life of diabetes. She is one healthy fluffy baby and I praise God for the joy these four-footed critters have brought into my life in the past several years.

I'm thankful for my job. I do not enjoy having to work for a living, but then who does? :) But in this economy, not only do I have a well paying job, but a job working with people I like and respect -- for the most part, that is!

I'm thankful that I have a warm happy home to come home to every evening. Each morning on the way to work, I pass homeless-looking men wandering around downtown Evansville, and I am reminded how fortunate we are.

Speaking of our warm happy home, I'm so very thankful for the wonderful family and friends who have helped mom and me both move into our new condo and get the house in Wadesville prepared for sale. My sisters and parts of their familys have been down several weekends in the past couple of months to help pack, paint, clean, transport stuff, put stuff away (Holly, we're still looking for stuff!) and my aunt Chris and her family came up and painted, cleaned, and worked on the plumbing, and a whole crew of people from our church came out to the house at 4pm on a Friday, packed all the furniture, including a piano, 3 filing cabinets, 6 dressers, three beds and trekked it all out to the condo, caravan-style and then carted it all up to our second floor condo. I'm pretty sure the piano almost made a few of them lose their religion! :)

I'm thankful for mom. I come home from work each evening to her smiling face and, usually, a home-cooked meal. Having lived by myself for 14 years, I truly appreciate what she does for me. I probably take her for granted, but hopefully not too often. I know that someday I will live alone again, and I will miss her twice as much.

I'm thankful for my general good health. Yes, I'm too heavy and yes, I have high blood pressure and cholesterol, and I have this weird wooshing in my right ear, but generally, I'm pretty good. Or at least things could be worse. I'm also thankful that mom is in pretty good health. I worry about her, with her rhuematoid arthritis and she's almost 70, and she's exhausted herself throughout this whole move. But now that we've moved, she can just spend the winter in our lovely new home resting and taking care of herself.

I'm also very thankful for elevators. The elevator worked through the evening of the actual move, but pooped out the next day. Since then, we've had to cart boxes up the stairs, along with groceries and other stuff. Meanwhile, we've been collecting trash like no one's business, and we've been having to trek to all down. But praise God, the elevator man came and got the elevator working yesterday. This morning, we rode the trash downstairs in the elevator and mom was singing "Praise the Lord!" the entire trip!

I'm also thankful for hot chocolate with tiny marshmellows. This afternoon, mom and I went to the house in Wadeville to clean out the garage. Of course it was 40 degrees and pouring rain, but we did it. I forced mom to stay in the garage and just bring me things while I, wearing my bright yellow rain poncho from when we went to Disney World with Mickey Mouse on the back, drug all the trash over into the trash dumpster. We worked about an hour until we filled the dumpster - my clothes were soaked down to my undies, and my fingers and toes were frozen. When we got back home, I changed into my warm fuzzies, mom made hot cocoa, and I sat here on the couch with my big fluffy girl and drank my cocoa and we watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on HBO (for some reason we have it for free at the moment - but I figure the cable company will figure it out and turn it off soon, so...) We discussed turning on the fireplace, but we'd have had to move the stuff sitting on the hearth in front of it, so we ixnayed that idea.

Long story short, Rose has a lot to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Road Trip!

About a six weeks ago, shortly after Glen Beck's rally in Washington DC, there was an uprising on the internets that Steven Colbert should have a rally.  I thought that sounded fabulous and decided that if it were to truly come about, I should see about going.


When Colbert and Jon Stewart returned from their Labor Day vacations, they eluded to an announcement that would be coming shortly.  My hopes jumped.


After two weeks of hints, they finally announced Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity and Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive.  I immediately emailed my sister, Haley, the only person I thought I might be able to convince to join me in attending a crazy event such as these, and she was game!


So we are off!  The rally is this coming Saturday, Oct. 30th, on the National Mall in Washington DC.  We have a hotel room in Arlington, VA, just a couple of blocks from the Metro station.  I am going up to Indianapolis this afternoon.  Haley and I will jump in her buggy on Friday morning and be D.C. Bound!


I've never done anything as crazy as this, and I'm sure I'll never have the opportunity, let alone the nerve, to do it again.  Frankly, I'm sort of nervous – I'm not good with crowds, you know, and they're expecting a whopper!


Today, I found the preliminary schedule for the event online:


10:00 a.m.: The pre-pre-show begins with videos and music on the jumbotron to keep the gathering crowd friendly and entertained.
Noon: The pre-show starts with a performance from The Roots.
12:40: A comedian (to be determined) warms up the audience.
12:57: A video countdown with a show introduction.
1:00: The show kicks off with the national anthem by a musical guest (to be announced).
1:05: Mr. Stewart welcomes the crowd – whose projected size is ballooning daily. Currently, there are 200,000 sign-ups on the official Facebook page alone.
1:20: Mr. Colbert enters, and two actors – Don Novello [Fr Guido Sarducci] and Sam Waterston – perform readings.
1:40: Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staple perform for 10 minutes, followed by Stewart and Colbert until 2 p.m.
2:15: Sheryl Crow performs for five minutes, followed by speakers and guests (to be determined).
2:30: Musical guests (also still being lined up) come on.
2:40: The show turns to a pre-taped sequence – The Sanity and Fear Awards.


So after I get off work, all I have to do is hit a gas station for fuel and munchies, and I'll be off!  I have the iPhone available for pics and status updates on Facebook.  I can also blog from the road, although typing on that thing isn't convenient, so any blog entries will be short and to the point.  I've got my camera and almost no hopes whatsoever of getting very close to my heroes, but maybe I'll have pics.  Wish me luck!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Merle - A True Man

I have come to the conclusion that Merle, although some parts may be missing or nonfunctional, is a true man. 
His appointment for his calendar photograph was Saturday, the 16th.  The last time I saw him was Monday, the 11th. I went outside each morning, lovingly carrying his bowl of Meow Mix and called in my not-quite-so-dulcet-it's-7-AM-voice for him to come to breakfast.  I would place it on the porch and call him until my voice cracked or the cold concrete made my feet run inside on their own volition due to frostbite.  Nothing.
But that was ok.  I knew that he would show up on Saturday morning, like a normal man, all "what!?"  Looking innocent and handsome and making me want to punt him to Poseyville and give him loving scritches at the same time. 
Each morning, the tone of my voice grew more frantic and my feet were able to withstand higher levels of hypothermia because I knew that this was an important mission.
Saturday morning.  His appointment is at 8:15.  I've timed the trip and I know it will take 30 minutes to get there.  I wake up at 6:00 - I SET THE ALARM FOR A SATURDAY!  I don't do this often and generally it's for important things like meeting the Pope!  Not that I've met the Pope, or am even Catholic, that is not the point.  Not only did I set the alarm for 6, but I actually got up at 6.  I got ready and did a little farming, because a girl has her priorities, and at 6:45 I went outside just knowing that the handsome devil would be there. 
He was not.  I called.  And called.  Nothing.
I went back inside and played solitare on my iPhone.  (Have I blogged that I went ahead and got my iPhone? - more on that later, I'm sure.) 
7:00 - I went outside and called.  Nothing.
Have I mentioned that I woke up with a sore throat and aching head?  I would have given anything to say screw it and go back to bed.  But I KNEW this was important, damn it!
Back inside.  The indoor bunch think I've gone mad... and I'm not sure they are wrong.
7:15 -- outside - nothing.
7:30 -- ditto.
7:45 -- I call the photographers and reschedule the diva's (is there a male diva?) appointment.  Now he has an appointment for tomorrow morning.  But I'm not overly concerned because I've talked to the paper and if he doesn't get his picture taken, they will print the picture we submitted.  And frankly, I don't care how good Bob Straub is, I've met Merle.  I've taken Merle's picture.  I don't see Bob Straub getting a better picture than the one Haley took.  So we'll see what happens.  Now that we have a contingency plan, I'm guessing he'll be sitting on the front porch looking at me all handsome like tonight when I get home.  Sigh.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We're Movin' on Up!

Things have been busy for Rose the past couple of weeks.  I can't recall if I've mentioned this before, but I made a comment to mom at one point over the summer, while we were working out in the yard, that at some point she was going to have to accept that she's almost 70 and isn't/ won't be able to maintain the place and I'm lazy and I have no desire to.  I pointed out that if she wasn't ready yet, it was fine, but surely it would be better to make the decision to move/sell the place on her own terms rather than out of necessity.  She nodded and said "yep," and I went on trimming the forsythia bush.


Like a week or so later, she brings home a "for sale by owner" magazine from the grocery store just to see what is out there.  Says she thinks we can aim to put the house on the market come springtime.


A Sunday about a week later, we see that the condo association across the road from our church has an open house that afternoon, so we go.  I LOVED it.  Hard wood floors, three nice bedrooms, a 2-car garage.  But mom said, probably correctly, that it was too much – money and room – for us.  Besides, we need to wait until the spring.  So we drove home.


A couple of weeks later, she comes home from a Tuesday morning bible study telling me that there's another, smaller condo, in the same place having an open house Sunday.  So we go.  This condo is in a building containing eight units, and is on the second floor with a "bonus" room (i.e. 3rd bedroom) on the third floor.  It has a balcony overlooking the woods and the lake.  It is marvelous!  I LOVED it on sight.  I figure the cats will fully enjoy chasing each other up and down the stairs to the 3rd floor.  The price is better, but…   Also, in that Sunday's paper, there's a condo for sale by owner listed... we go.  It had its niceties, but I preferred the first one of the day.  By the end of the evening, mom is having a "heavy feeling" in her chest and thinks we should wait until spring.  Ok. 


The next weekend, Haley comes down ready to look at condos.  But we're waiting, so all she gets to see is the outside of both of them. 


Mom has me print off all the info from the county assessor and treasurer websites about the condo, but she still has questions about buying real estate that I can't answer, so I hook her up with Jennifer, my mentor in all things legal, and she has a nice phone conversation while I watch Glee on Tuesday.  After she's done talking to Jennifer, she tells me to contact the bank about getting pre-approval on a loan and Mom'll make an appointment for the weekend to see the condo.  We be back on!  So I called Holly, (Haley having just been down I didn't figure she'd want to come back the next weekend), to see if she (Holly) might be interested in coming down to see the condo on Saturday.


Saturday, Mom, Holly and I pack up the party van and go to town to see the condo.  Holly LOVES it and tells us to go for it.  By the time we leave it, we have an appointment to come back in the next afternoon to fill out the papers for an official offer. 


Sunday, after church and lunch, we go and make the "official" offer and my headache starts.  (And the headache didn't go away until much drugs, both Rx and OTC, and a good night's sleep later.)  But just a few hours later, we receive the news that the offer was accepted as written!


Monday, my instructions were to find a home inspector and arrange for an inspection AND to call the woman at the bank…. Not OUR bank, mind you, because that woman NEVER (and still has not as of this writing) returned my initial phone call.  I talked to Steve about his recommending an inspector and he tells me to call the guy on the other side of the big arbitration case we had a couple summers ago.  We ended up with an appointment for Friday morning for the inspection and Friday afternoon for the bank to fill out the loan papers.


Saturday, mom and I met with the realtor about asking the sellers to fix the few minor issues the inspector came up with.


So, here it is, Tuesday.  Mom is out of town, gone to San Diego with Aunt Chris to visit their other sister Bonnie for 10 days.  I'm left here herding cats, preparing for our office's bosses day luncheon/celebration, and waiting for word from the bank (re: the pre-approval of the loan) and the realtor (re: sellers' response to inspection). 


Home/property ownership seems to be the final hurdle for me to jump before I land squarely in "adulthood."  And I'm not keen on that jump.  I've been happy being a (relatively) obligation free, child-like soul all these years… I figure it's what kept me young at heart.  But now I'm going to have a MORTGAGE!  Yikes!  I can foresee future blogs regarding the property tax issues and zoning questions and filing the LONG form for taxes!  I shudder at the whole idea!  I need a nap and am really missing kindergarten right now. Sigh..

Monday, October 11, 2010

Merle - The Rest of the Story

As promised, I'm letting my "out of town" followers know the outcome of the "election"/calendar contest.  Merle got 968 votes and placed #12 (top 14 go in the calendar), so he's in!  We are all very excited for Merle.  Merle, however, remains stoic on the subject.  So the beautiful picture that Haley took that shows off his beautiful eyes will be in the calendar, right?  Wrong.  Friday, as Mom and I are driving to the bank (more on that later) I get a call from a woman at the Courier congratulating me and Merle on his getting in the calendar and telling me that I need to call Bob Straub Photography to make an appointment for Merle to get his picture taken for the calendar!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?  I haven't had the heart yet to tell Haley as I know it'll break her heart that the picture she worked so hard to get and is so, rightfully, proud of will not be in the calendar.  But take heart!  My thoughts are there is still hope.  Frankly, Merle is an outdoor cat.  Merle isn't fond of strangers.  Merle is not the easiest subject to work with.  Merle likes to go on walkabouts, so it isn't even guaranteed that he'll be around on Saturday (the day of his appointment) for me to even attempt to nab him (by myself, as mom is in San Diego this week) to get him there.  So in my mind, there is still a possibility that they'll (have to) use Haley's picture… so I haven't told her yet.  Sigh.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vote for Merle!

The Evansville Courier Press is having its annual “Pet Idol” calendar contest to benefit the Tri-State Newspaper in Education Foundation. I’m not sure what this is or what they do, but…a couple of weeks ago, Haley was down and she took a picture, at my request, of Merle. I had tried, because he is so handsome and those eyes are so incredible. But it wasn’t a one person job. Every time I’d get ready to snap the pic, he’d walk toward me or walk away. I thought with Haley handling the camera, I could herd Merle. The result is photographic history.

So, I entered the picture of Merle into this contest. The top 13 vote getters will have their pic in a calendar (sold for donations to this foundation) for 2011. The official pictures came out for the first time in Sunday’s paper – in black and white. WHAT!? How can his adoring fans get the true feel of those eyes in BLACK AND WHITE!?

As I’ve written before, Merle has got to the point in a young male (mostly) cat’s life when he roams. Probably since spring, he’s spent more time away then he’s spent at home. But since his picture was in the paper, he’s been there every morning when I open the door. Frankly, I think he’s keeping it close to home to avoid his groupies. Not that he could do much with said groupies… or could he? Do the parts still work? Hmm… In retrospect, it’s too bad we “fixed” him, he could have passed those eyes on to another generation (or six.)

I got to work Monday and promptly emailed Merle’s picture (in color) to everyone in my email address book… whether I’ve spoken to them in the past 10 years or not!... and asked them to vote for Merle. I’ve received a variety of emails back from people, it’s been fun. My cousin Sara asked me if he was named after Merle Hazel (a little old man who is somehow related to us, or at least he always comes to the Barger Family Reunions in July). I wrote her back with the following story of how Merle got his name:

He was one of three boy kittens and I drove out to Wadesville early one morning before work to help corral them because Mom and Dad had an appointment for them with the vet to be fixed. They still had not decided on names for the kittens, so I tried one last time and pointed out that the vet was going to want names. So Dad say, “Ok, Willie Nelson”. And I was like, “Uh for all three of them??” And then he said “Willie, Waylon, and the boys.” I said, “You’re going to name this one, ‘The Boys’?” (Especially since ‘the boys’ were the reason for the visit to the vet!) So finally, we ended up with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard. Of course, none of us are country music fans, but that was beside the point. (Willie just disappeared as male cats of a certain age tend to do in the country. Waylon was run over in the road -although I think it would have been more fitting for Willie to be run over so I could say he was playing “on the road

Merle is entry #17 in the contest, and as of Thursday (the last time they updated the stats on the website) he’s in 2nd place!! I think it’s a wasted opportunity that you can’t vote online (and wrote the paper and told them so), so I set up “Vote 4 Merle” Headquarters at my desk at work.

I’m collecting fundage and will take care of turning the money in for Merle. Greg even donated the contents of the “Curse Jar” into the fund for Merle. (Since most of the money in said jar was FROM Greg, this was nice.)

Voting runs until Friday, October 1st. And the winners will be announced on Sunday, October 3rd. For all of my many fabulous readers everywhere, IF you are interested in voting for Merle, he would appreciate your vote. You can call in your vote to 1-866-683-1724 and pay by credit card – votes are $.25 per vote. Either way, you KNOW I’ll let you know the election results after October 3rd.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Inherit the Wind

I am my father’s daughter. I impressed Mom the other night when, about 9:00 pm, I opened up the box that my new Dish receiver came in (the old one had been having problems and what with the new TV Season coming up, I had to get it fixed), hooked it up, and got it working correctly in about 30-40 minutes. It wouldn’t have taken that long, but it involved me getting down on the floor and unplugging the old one, while removing the cats from the area where I was trying to work, then getting up and dusting, then getting back down, removing the cats again, and plugging the new receiver back in, all while continuously fighting to keep the cats, specifically Gizmo and Cleo, out of my way. I’m pleased to say the problems have been resolved. Cats aside, Dad had his way with electronic equipment. He worked for 25 years as a TV repairman. Now, I’m not one to open up something and work on the innards – Haley inherited that trait – but I do seem to be able to get things to work without having to read much, if any, of the instruction manuals! (This bodes well for the advent of my iPhone!)

I inherited another trait from my father. No matter where he went, he liked to back the car/van/truck/whatever into his parking spot. At home, at church, at the mall. The man loved to back the car into parking spots. I seem to have got this from him. The other morning, I was getting out of my car, in the “big boy” parking lot, and the partner beside whom I park happened to be arriving at the same time and he noted that I always seem to be backed into my spot. I responded that it aids in making a quick getaway. He looked at me oddly… they never seem to know how to respond to me. And then I said that I inherited it from Dad and how it always drove Mom nuts (in a good way) and now I continue his legacy (in both ways – parking and driving Mom nuts!)

I wrote a couple of blogs ago about my having inherited from Grandpa Hollis the quirk of getting up and going to bed 15 minutes before the show is over. There are a few other things I seem to have inherited from my ancestors.

Granny Barger had a way with African Violets, or so I’ve been told. I only vaguely remember, but mom tells me that she had a window with lots of African Violets (does that need to be capitalized?) growing in her kitchen. Mom has a black thumb where indoor plants are concerned and I sort of assumed I got it from her. But several years ago, at the Secretary’s Day lunch, there were African violets on each table and after the lunch, I ended up with one. I named it Bob. Nowadays, Bob is big. He blooms about every three months (I assume that’s normal), and I have to repot him periodically. I also have Jeffrey, who was a part of one of the floral arrangements we received for Dad’s funeral. Jeffrey should be a nice big, blooming dude, but when I moved in with Mom, Jeffrey moved in with us and after about two weeks, someone (I’m assuming said someone has four legs, as Mom disavows all knowledge) ate all but one of his leaves. So I took Jeffrey to work. He is slowly recuperating, but so far, no blooms. I think poor Jeffrey is still in shock – but come on, it’s almost been a year, dude! Get over it! Then there was Ted. I rescued Ted from one of the attorneys here (Ted, as the case may be) and brought him back to health and repotted him. But he kept growing weird and I think there was something wrong with the potting soil I repotted him in last time because it started molding, so I cut off some good looking leaves and stuck them in some water to grow roots. After a couple of months now, they’ve grown roots, been potted, and so far so good. I assume they are continuing to grow good strong roots because they aren’t doing anything above ground, but they appear to still be healthy.

Finally, one of my odder quirks, I got from Great-Grandpa Hindman (Grandma Hollis’s father). According to Mom, he, like me, did not like to co-mingle his food on his plate. Which I don’t find weird at all. Who wants their baked beans oozing onto their potato salad? I would much rather have several small plates or bowls. Of course I tend to take it a step further and generally eat all of one item before moving onto another items, saving the best (the meat) for last.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Beginnings

This past summer has been grueling, and not just because of the weather, although it has seemed like a living, breathing entity bearing down on everyone for several weeks now.   A couple of weeks ago, I told my mother that the only good thing about July is my birthday and that since I became an adult (about thirty minutes ago), even that pales.  She pointed out that we have a family reunion and the Fourth of July in July.  I repeated myself by saying that the ONLY good thing about July is my birthday.


August isn't very good either.  It doesn't even have my birthday going for it.  It's just hot, the grass is dead, and we're still several weeks away from cooler weather and Christmas shopping.


But then all of a sudden, it's September.  September!  MANY years ago, I began to look forward to September as a month of new beginnings – a new school year, new school supplies (I LOVED going shopping for school supplies – still can be found roaming those aisles at Target in August), and a new teacher.  I've been out of school now for several eons, but there is still a BIG new beginning that I can look forward to each September – the new Fall TV Season!!


Now there are some, my fiend Jennifer being a major one, who rant about there now being a fall season and a spring season with several months of repeats in between.  My thought is that there were always first runs from September through November (a sweeps month), then the month of December was reserved for holiday specials (i.e., the Grinch and the ubiquitous day of "Christmas Story" airings on TBS) and repeats, the first part of January usually had repeats too, but then by the time the kids were back in school until May (another sweeps month), you could plan on there being mostly first run episodes.  Last year was unusual, because of the Olympics, and the "spring" season didn't start until March.  But so what?  During the months of December through February, I was scurrying to watch the stuff on my almost full DVR to make room for the upcoming "spring" season. 


Of course, now there is a "summer" season, with all of the cable shows like Psych, The Closer, Burn Notice, Eureka, etc.  So again, I don't seem to ever be without first run episodes of my TV shows.  I still have half of last year's episodes of The Middle to watch before the new season starts!


Last year, I could look forward to the return of faves like 24, Heroes, and Lost.  This year they are all gone.  Of course, Heroes really tanked there in the end, don't even know if I'll bother to get the season DVD, and I was hit by the fifth-year curse regarding 24.  See, generally, about the fifth year of a show, I just get sick and tired of it and drop it like it's hot (drop it like it's hot!).  With 24, I made it to season eight, but about 4 or 5 hours into the season, I just didn't care if Jack Bauer saved the world anymore.  Don't get me wrong, I still think Jack Bauer rocks!... just didn't want to watch the show anymore. 


Steve had problems believing that I could just drop Jack mid-crisis.  (Frankly, I think he was just miffed that we couldn't have what had become our traditional Tuesday morning discussion/dissection of the previous night's episode.)  I believe it is a gift I inherited from my Grandpa Hollis.  I never met the man, well, technically we met, but I was like four months old at the time, so I don't think he'd be offended that I don't remember him… although there is very adorable photographic evidence of that meeting.  I digress, though…  hmm…chickens..  hmm.. oh, yeah…  Mom tells me that Grandpa Hollis would watch a show or movie on TV and then get up and go to bed about 10-15 minutes before it was over. 


The first new thing I have to look forward to is the Fall Preview issues of the TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly.  I'll probably have to call in sick just so I can devote the necessary time to researching all of my choices.  There's The Event – which looks interesting, so I'll start watching it, love it, and it'll be cancelled.  Then there's the new comedy Outsourced – which seems to take place in an Indian customer service phone bank type place.  Of course, after I spend a couple of hours on the phone this weekend with Dish Network's customer service department trying to figure out what is wrong with my receiver (not mom's, just mine), I may not feel the same way.

Betty is Gone. Long Live Clarissa.

Yup, Betty is gone.  And although I had my issues with Betty, personality-wise, I feel sort of bad about her leaving.  First, I gather that her boss… he needs a name… let's call him Dr. Jekyll.  Anyway, I understand that Dr. Jekyll did not make her last month or so here very conducive to her feeling welcome.  But she was here through a temp agency, so she was going to fulfill the three-month contract.  Then her mother had a stroke and she took a couple of weeks off to go be with her… up north somewhere, not sure where.  Then, just when mom got to the point where she could be moved to a rehab facility, and Betty could return to us, mom had another stroke.  So at that point, Betty officially was not coming back.  Frankly, I wouldn't have either.  If my mom has a stroke or anything equally bad, God forbid, I'll be out of here and Steve and Carrie will just have to call me to find their filing and other stuff. 


We keep talking about having a going away lunch for Betty, but between making up time for doctors appointments, condo appraisals, meetings with photographers, we haven't been able to find a time for a good portion of the group to be able to take a full lunch hour.  Maybe next week.


I sincerely do hope that Betty's mother gets better and that Betty finds a new position some place that his a better fit for her. 


That being said, now we get to meet "Clarissa."  I was able to sit in on the get-to-know-her-personality portion of Clarissa's interview with a couple of the other assistants, and we all think we have a winner.  (I was late to the meeting, though, so I'm not sure if anyone discussed her feelings regarding meat.)  She has a teenage daughter and has previously worked for "difficult" attorneys, so she feels dealing with Dr. Jekyll cannot be too different.  Everyone within ear-shot of Dr. Jekyll's office wishes her much success and longevity in this position.
As always, I'll keep you informed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's Annual Review Time (yeah!)

The HR person at the Firm is gathering input on much needed changes to the form used for annual reviews of support staff.  She sent around a proposed form today and my first thought was, UGH!, these questions might require thought on my behalf (as opposed to the current form which requires none.)  However, after thinking about the questions (ironic, eh?), and since my annual review is underway, I went ahead and filled in my answers.
1. List the top three to five highest priorities of your job as you understand them.
1. Supporting Steve and Carrie (i.e. phone, dictation, correspondence, pleadings)
2. Supporting Collection Department
3. Entering time and then (once a quarter or so) filing the freaking time tickets
4. Filing
5. Propagating African Violets
6. Providing M&M's
2.  What do you consider to be your greatest strengths or accomplishments this year?  I showed up on time (relatively), performed my job (relatively) with a (relatively) positive attitude and outlook.
3.  Complete the following sentence:  I believe I make the greatest contribution to the firm by being the person that almost everyone (attorney and staff member alike) goes to with questions about their job (or life in general), complaints about their job (or life in general), and for M&M's.
4.  What could your supervising attorney/s do to help you in your job?  Go on more vacations.
5.  What could your co-workers do to help you in your job? 
1. Support Steve and Carrie (i.e. phone, dictation, correspondence, pleadings)
2. Support Collection Department
3. Enter time and then (once a quarter or so) file the freaking time tickets
4. File
5. Propagate African Violets
6. Provide M&M's
6.  How could you perform your tasks more efficiently?  From home, in my pajamas.
7.  In what area would you like to gain more experience, training or education?  I would like to learn a foreign language (specifically, Spanish, so I know what Ted and Angelli are saying about me when they talk to each other), how to cook like Julia Child, and small engine repair.
8.  Complete the following sentence:  I believe my goals and objectives for the coming year should be to show up on time (relatively), perform my job (relatively) with a (relatively) positive attitude and outlook.
9.  How do you feel your performance over the past year has contributed to the department you work in and to the Firm?  I provide comic relief in the face of, well, having to work for a living.
10.  Do you have any suggestions or comments that you would like to share? 
1. Being able to access my FarmVille farm from my computer, so I could plant quicker growing crops, like raspberries, and not have to depend on my neighbors to provide me with bushels of them, therefore allowing me to make certain products at my spa.
2. Being able to come to work in my pajamas – I think my Sylvester and Tweety robe and the bunny slippers would look very professional.
3. Having the following items provided in the kitchen at all times:
   a. McDonald's sweet tea
   b. Easy Cheese and canned frosting, to dip my pretzels in
   c. fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies
   d. fresh off the grill steak (or veggie burgers for the veggie-tarians)
   e. fresh from the bar margaritas
4. Shorter work week
5. Shorter work days
6. July and December off
7. Hunky cabana boys to serve the aforementioned margaritas.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Belated Birthday Bobbles

So, Haley has been boasting that her gift (and it was from Holly, too) for my birthday and Christmas would surpass all previous gifts. She's lucky the iPhone didn't actually happen because there'd have been some hard deciding re: which was better. The point is, she FINALLY got my gift to me this past weekend, and it was ok, I suppose. (tee hee!)

So I'm now preserved for posterity in bobble-dom. Bobble Rose will fit in nicely on my desk at work with Bobble Darth and Mr. Bones. Thank you Haley and Holly, this probably even beats the iphone.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Books I Have Read/Listened to – Summer 2010 Edition

Children are going back to school so the summer is officially over, even if the calendar and the thermometer disagree. I’m not in school anymore and even when I was, I don’t recall having a summer reading list, like I’ve heard kids nowadays have.

Besides, odds are I wouldn’t have wanted to read much of what was on any suggested reading list. My taste in books is much like my taste in movies. I like the “popcorn” type of books. I like smutty romances, mysteries, and smutty romantic mysteries. Throw a healthy dose of humor into that mix and you have a great book, in my humble opinion. I consider these books to be “popcorn” because I used to be able to read them at the rate of 3-5 a week.

That having been said, due to a variety of changes in my life, starting about 4-5 years ago, I haven’t been able to read much. The first culprit that I noticed was the cats. If you don’t have cats, you really can’t understand, but I quickly learned that if I put anything in front of my face (book, magazine, newspaper), someone, mostly Sophie, would come and either sit on the newspaper, chew on the book, or just plum plop herself between it and my face. Another culprit is the DVR. If there is no commercials, and there isn’t because I generally skip right through them, there’s no time to read, is there? Also, due to the DVR, I have the ability to watch a lot more stuff, thereby reducing reading time. Another major factor in the dearth of reading time for Rose is Facebook. As I’ve discussed, at length, previously herein, I spend too much time farming, killing vampires, digging for treasure, etc. The final piece in the lack of reading time puzzle is that I am on some prescription meds which make me incredibly sleepy. Nowadays, if I sit down to relax, I nod off. So that equals about two pages read before I can’t keep my eyes open.

So in my old age, my steady diet of popcorn is slowing morphing into more substantial food/books. Don’t worry, it’s still mostly fast food (to continue my food analogy), but I do throw in a veggie here or there. Also, with the addition of the iPod to my toy box a couple summers ago, more often than not, I do my reading by listening to them on audio. Haley turned me onto this file-sharing website that has tons of books on audio. I do most of my reading/listening on the drive to/from work. That works out to be about 45 minutes a day, sometimes more. Or, if Steve (Boss #1) isn’t in the office, I might plug in my dictation headphones to the iPod and listen to it while I work. I know that sounds like I’m screwing around and not getting any work done, but I truly get more actual work done that way because my focus is devoted to what I’m doing and people who come by to chat or otherwise be a chicken to my easily distracted attention span see the headphones and me typing and assume I’m busy doing work (which I am, but not in the way they think) and they go away.

So all of that having been said, here is the list of books I have read/listened to this summer of 2010: (I know!! You can’t wait either, right?!)

Hamlet by William Shakespeare – this would prove that an occasional veggie gets into my reading diet along with the fries and McNuggets. I DVR’d the movie, the version with Dr. Who and Capt. Picard in it, and sat there reading the book along with the movie – shut up! It counts! BTW, did you know that if you go to the library to check out this book, it is not in the fiction section? It’s in the non-fiction, under plays. Who came up with that logic!? I bet it was that guy, Dewey Decible!

Lavendar Morning by Jude Deveraux – the author of my favorite time-travel, romance, A Knight in Shining Armor. Have it in hardback, never read, so downloaded and listened to on audio. It’s the first in a new series, and the next one is out, and I want to read it, but, you guessed it, I haven’t been able to find it on audio yet. Sigh.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – very enjoyable. There’s just something about the dry British wit that I adore. Spent about a month trying to read the actual book and only got about 1/3 through it, so gave up and finished it on audio.

Bite Me! by Christopher Moore - #3 in his vampire love story trilogy. If you have the chance to read these (Bloodthirsty Fiends and You Suck! are the first two books), do it. But don’t worry; these are NOT your Twilight-esque vampire love stories. Book one is the story of Jody, a new vampire, and her minion, Tommy Flood. By book two, Tommy’s a vampire and we get to meet their new minion, Abby Von Normal (not her real name). In book three, Abby and her manga-haired love monkey, Foo Dog (again, not his real name) have to save the city from Chet the extremely large cat who was turned into a vampire at the end of book two. Have both read and listened to these books. If you can listen to them, do it, because the way the narrator voices Abby Von Normal is spewing-milk-out-of-your-nose funny.

Contest and Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly – this guy’s books are good, as long as you agree to suspend reality – sort of like James Bond and Indiana Jones, his heroes get into unimaginable fixes and manage to escape with little more than a hair out of place. Otherwise, each book is like stepping onto a rollercoaster of fun.

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett - read and enjoyed this when it first came out - it's a great spy novel, World War II, Nazis, it has everything to make a great thriller!

Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King – read and enjoyed this when it first came out in the late 80’s – still had the book, but didn’t remember if it just because it had a dragon on the cover (i.e., was a part of my dragon collection) or if I really enjoyed the book. So I gave the actual book to Hollian because she’s decided to collect King’s books in hardback, and I downloaded the audiobook. Long story short, was a pretty enjoyable book.

Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – a long time fave. Have read it several times and just decided it was time to give it another whirl. Also, I got the movie version, with Chris Sarandon, on DVD this spring, so that whetted my appetite to reread it.

There may have been one or two more audio books in there, I think I listened to a couple of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books, but can’t remember if that was in the summer time frame or not. I finished Tale of Two Cities this morning on the way into work and started Undone by Karin Slaughter. Meanwhile, I’m slowly working my way through Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich and Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett, a feline behavioralist to see if she has any suggestions for keeping the peace in our multi-cat household.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Identity Crisis

To bring you up to date, Mom brought Oscar home from the vet last week with a bag of prescription meds and the information that Oscar was in fact a girl.  At first, I polled my peeps and we were all in agreement that Oscar was still a fine name, even for a girl.  After all, our family does have a history of (to paraphrase my sister, Haley, here…) not conforming to society's gender-based rules regarding pet names.  Recently, we had George and Butch who were Merle's mother and sister, respectively.  Holly's family adopted Fred and George (named after the twins in the Harry Potter books, since I'd just finished reading book seven around the time we found them) and they both turned out to be girls.  Years ago, we had a black male cat named Morticia and his sister was named Gomez.  And at least 75% of Larry, Daryl, Darrell, and Darryl were female.  My point is, as a family, we aren't generally worried about such things.


But Mom really had issues with the whole Oscar thing.  And frankly, I was having problems remembering to call her Oscar.  (Remember I was instantly a whole year older during this time frame.)  About that time, the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. came out with their list of the top 10 most unusual cat names from the roster of their insurees:  1) Purr Diem; 2) Bing Clawsby; 3) Cleocatra; 4) Admiral Pancake; 5) Optimus Pants; 6) Chairman Meow; 7) Boo Manchu; 8) Watts in a Name; 9) Chenoa Azure Marshmellow-Puff; and 10) my personal favorite, Senor Nachos.  I intended to mention these names to Mom, but before I could, she suggested naming her Gracie.


Gracie was fine; in fact, I got a wee bit of a thrill saying "Goodnight, Gracie" each evening!  Although my fellow crazy cat lady/co-worker, Deborah pointed out that Lucy would be better because when we got home we could call out, in a sort of Spanish accent, "Lucy!  I'm home!" and if there were a hairball horked up, we could look at her and say, again in the Spanish accent, "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!"   And she has red hair, so Lucy would have been a purrfect fit, but Mom wanted Gracie.


The next few days, she was Gracie.  Until yesterday morning when Mom says that she doesn't know… she just doesn't LOOK like a Gracie.  I pointed out that most 16-week old people don't look like their names either, but most parents don't change horses not once, but twice, in the middle of that stream.  I suggested that she take yesterday to think about it, and come up with a name.  But that by the end of the day, she needed to have a name and we were NOT going to change it.  Mom agreed.


I had lunch with Jennifer yesterday and she said she really liked Cleocatra.  I said I'd suggest it to Mom.  Meanwhile, Shawna (a girl at work) mentioned the name Uniqua… I don't recall in what context, but it was work-related, and we loved it.  I said I'd suggest it to Mom, too.  When I got home, Mom had not come up with another name.  I suggested Cleocatra, and we could call her Cleo for short.  Mom liked it.  (I forgot about Uniqua… more than a few chickens had crossed my path since that conversation.) 


So it was official (again), Oscar was now Cleocatra, Cleo for short.  And we were happy.  Although I found the hard "ka" sound to be disconcerting.  So this morning, as we're taking our walk, Mom asked me to remind her what Cleo was short for… Cleopetra or Cleocatra.  I said, well, it was Cleocatra, but now that she said it, I really like Cleopetra. 


So now it is REALLY official, she is Cleopetra, Cleo for short.  And we've short of waffled our way into deciding that she should be brought inside.  I mean, if the Lord provided her as a companion for Merle, then we have issues because Merle hasn't been around since his hissy (literally) fit the day Cleo showed up.  And I feel SO bad shutting her outside at night when we go to bed.  She just sits there on the welcome mat and looks inside with such hope in her greasy little eyes (greasy from the medicine we've been putting in them twice a day).


This weekend, Cleo will be done with her meds.  She will get a good bath – may have to use Dawn to tackle her greasy face!  She will then be quarantined in Mom's bathroom (don't worry, it's a big bathroom, and she's a tiny cat) until we can get the current residents used to her presence in the house. Last night, I stopped and bought her a litter box and a fluffy pillow to sleep on.  She is now 4 months old, and she should be 4 pounds soon, if not already, since we've gotten rid of the fleas, mites, worms, and respiratory infection.  So we can get her fixed and before we know it, our little family will be back to (semi?) normal.  (And once we get her greasy face washed, I'll get a better picture posted.  I'd love to get a family portrait, but it's difficult to get everyone to light in one place long enough to focus a camera.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Found a Tick!

A year ago or so, I was at Holly's house, and she showed me her cats' tick cat toy.  I was jealous (on behalf of my kiddlies, of course) and we looked at her Petco store, but were unable to find.  So today, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I thought about said tick and decided to Google "tick cat toy" and found/ordered my kiddlies one.  They probably won't be in the least bit interested in it, but…

It's too cute, so I decided to share.

Rose Knows Toes

I love my toes.  I think I have very cute footies.  I go on vacation to the beach and I have to take the ubiquitous photo of my tootsies in the sand.  Hopefully, I have a good pedicure at the time.
I have this friend, Donna, who got me hooked on getting massages.  I'm poor, though, so it has to be a special occasion, like when my boss got me a gift card.  And for a while there, I was getting them semi-irregularly, like once or twice a year, because he was on a gift card kick.  But then he got me a gift card to Absolute Beauty and I wasted time and never got around to using it until it was almost expired.  So I called to schedule the massage, which was not going to use all of  the gift card, and I scheduled my first (of many) pedicure to blow out the rest of the money.
I made the mistake of getting the pedicure before the massage, because the pedicure was so good the whole massage experience was now sloppy seconds.  PLUS, my footies looked faboo!  Since then, I got Jennifer hooked on the massage experience and now, for our mutual birthdays, we take an afternoon off, have lunch, then go to Absolute Beauty for a massage (her) and pedicure (me). 
Our birthdays were last week, and Friday was the day.  The temperature outside was 150 degrees Fahrenheit (okay, that's an exaggeration, but it was hot, and humid).  The temperature isn't relevant except for when I drove home, I had the air conditioning on high and aimed at my feet because my toes looked great and I didn't want the polish to melt.  Seriously, I once had nail polish melt off my toes.  But I get ahead of myself.
I had my fingernails already polished a lovely color - Sally Hanson Blackberry Frost... or it might've been Blackberry Forest.  I can't recall .  I'm sure it involved blackberries, though, and I don't have the bottle near me to double check.  Anyway, I decided that this color would look great on my toesies, so I took it with me in case they didn't have anything similar.  But then when I got there and looked over their colors, found that they had the exact same shade (OPI shade - I'm Not Really A Waitress - although if you look it up on the OPI website, it's much lighter than it is on my toes - I mean, if you've seen my car, you know what I mean) in their brand and why not use their product, instead of my own, eh?   So my decade (look it up, "any set of 10") of digits now match my fingers AND, it turns out, my car!  AND, it would appear, per the OPI website, I could even get a DELL laptop with the case the same color.  Super cool, eh?  Hmm...I do like this color.  I may have to think about this.
Ok, so that chicken just got me totally lost,.... and now the thought of chicken is making me think of lunch.  Dang!  I guess I'll just take my gorgeous toes out and go see what we can find.  But long story short, if you want a good pedicure... OH, the chair!!  I almost forgot!  I don't know how other pedicure places are, but at Absolute Beauty, you get to sit in this chair that all but gives you a massage while your piggies are being beautified, so for the price, it's like you get a two-fer!  Anyway, if you want a lovely pedicure, go to Absolute Beauty - tell them I sent you (I'll get points for referring you).  Now, I'm off for nuggets!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thanks for All The (Birthday) Fishes!

Today is my 42nd birthday.  I decided years ago that 42 was my favorite number.  Mostly because I like to be unique and who chooses a number in the 40's to be their favorite??  Most people choose 7 – but how dull is that?!


42 is all around, if you keep an eye open for it.  I think there are a lot of geeks who participate in the production of today's pop culture that have read and absorbed Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. 


For those of you who have not read those books and are thinking, "huh?":  In the first book, near the middle to end of it, the number 42 is revealed to be the answer to the ultimate question of "Life, The Universe, and Everything" by a supercomputer named Deep Thought, specially built to come up with the answer to the ultimate question by highly intelligent beings. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and double check the answer, which, as I've already let out of the bag, is 42. Unfortunately, no one thought to ask Deep Thought what the "ultimate" question was, so they aren't happy to hear that the answer is 42.  They ask Deep Thought was the question was and he says that he can't come up with it, but he can help build another computer that can.  They build this computer (the planet Earth) and it takes 10 million years for it to compute the question, but seconds before it finishes its computations, it gets destroyed to make way for the construction of a planetary superhighway. 


The above snippet is, of course, only a small part of the story, and is also only what my increasingly aged mind can recall of the story, as it's been a while since I read the book. 


My regular readers know that I've always seemed to be easily distracted (those darned chickens, you know) so the lights were on, but you couldn't be guaranteed that anyone was home, you know?  But since the day I turned 40, I mean down to the minute, those lights started flickering a lot – in fact I think one of the bulbs went out completely. 


However, my main point is that today is my birthday and as of this moment, I've had a very nice day.  I slept in, mostly due to the fact that I'm fighting a sinus infection and mom hasn't been waking me up to walk since I've been sick.  We dosed Oscar up with her meds and she was a sweety to deal with and I went to work.  I made my usual stop by McD's for some iced tea, but since it is my b-day, I allowed myself to get sweet tea.  uhh…, sweet tea...mmmm....


I got to work, and there was a spread set out on my desk of cookies, donuts, a fruit tray with some yummy dip, and cheese and crackers.  And for dinner, Mom, BK (regular reader Becky), and I went out to Western Ribeye.  I am nothing if not a carnivore, but the incredibly good steak at WR is almost secondary to the salad bar.  See it's just your usual salad bar, but at the end of it, there are two things that I could fill myself up on... 1) a mondo wheel of cheese - although looking at the mondo wheel of cheese, it seems smaller in real life than it is in my memories.  Sort of depressing.  But I carved off quite a hunk and chowed it all down.  ummm.... cheese!  oh, and 2) the tub-o-apple butter along with the butter and bread.  In retrospect, I could (and should) have did like Mom and BK and just had the salad bar, but the prospect of a good hunk of beef had been what got me through the week, so I couldn't resist.  I suppose I could have taken the steak to go.  I'll have to consider that next time.
So now here I am, home, stuffed with beef and cheese, and happy.  I'm trying to post this, but my computer isn't cooperating, so I'm going to have to go to bed and post in the morning.  Don't let the posting date fool you, though, this is my O-fficial birthday posting and we're off to a good year, I can tell.  By this time next year, I will hopefully have my new iPhone, a new vehicle of some sort, and will have just got back from a trip with Mom and the Sibs to England.  Good things all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet Oscar

Ok, so I get home last night, not feeling well, and mom asks me if I saw a little orange kitten outside. I said no, but then I barely made it up the sidewalk with my eyes open (I'd promised myself that I could immediately climb into bed if I stayed awake long enough to get home without killing either myself or someone else.)  Anywho, we trotted outside and there, ambling up the sidewalk is this adorable little orange fluff ball… sneezing and snorting, and its eyes looked sort of mucky, but ADORABLE. 

Mom had been concerned that Merle was lonely now that Blackie was gone.  I told her I didn't think Merle missed him all that much, but… we left it up to God – told Him that if He felt Merle needed a companion, then He needed to provide one for him.  Lo and behold, here comes Aunt Marilee, yesterday afternoon, with this kitten.  It had been hanging out and driving Buddy up a wall – I gather it was hanging just outside of Buddy's invisible fence… sort of like the way Boots (our cat from the 80's) would lie just outside the perimeter of Brandy's (our dog from the 80's) chain.


This thing is so small, he sits in Merle's food bowl and eats.  Too cute – not sure Merle is overly excited about him. 


I say "him", but he could easily be a SHE – we'll find out this morning, since mom took him/her to the vet to be checked out for THE TEST that Blackie failed, and fleas, and worms, and ear mites, and for whatever is making him sneeze and snort, and his rheumy eyes.  Either way, his name is Oscar.  Mom asked what if she's a girl and I looked at her and said, "asks the woman who named a girl cat Butch!"  She said she saw my point. 


I think he'll grow into a good sized cat, too.  His legs are incredibly long and his paws are huge!  And I'm happy to say that his head looks normal sized too.  This is reassuring, since Merle has an unusually small sized head and gets ridiculed frequently (usually by me) for it.