Monday, March 31, 2008

News From a Past Life

I was contemplating posting something rather silly this morning when an email arrived from my friend MK who still works in the bank office I left a year ago.

More than once I've commented on my total relief at leaving that job. Over 8 years I'd become quie miserable there. Despite my deep desire to escape the job, I had developed strong relationships with several of the people I'd worked with and knew I'd miss interacting with them.

One of those people was our Chief. Don't get me wrong, he was a very difficult man to work for. He had a terrible temper at times, was certifiably OCD and I'd have sworn he was bi-polar from the scope of his mood swings. I'd often ask his secretary which Chief had showed up that day, the good one or the bad one. If it was the bad the one, I'd avoid him completely. But the good one was a lot of fun. He was the king of the practical joke and could often be found acting ridiculously silly with employees when the mood struck. He was the instigator of the Christmas Fun Committee, for better and for worse. Despite his craziness, I always felt like he took care of me when it was necessary - from getting me promotions to offering to drive me home the day I found out my grandfather died. I certainly don't miss working for him, but I do miss being around him.

Two weeks ago I had an email from MK letting me know that the Chief had been hospitalized after his wife found him unresponsive. Over the course of that week they did a variety of tests to rule out a heart attack, massive stroke, TIA, viral infection, etc. After a few days he went home with more tests scheduled. Today's update was a bit surprising. As it turns out, one of the early tests showed a mass in his frontal lobe, the rest of the tests were just to rule out contributing factors. He had chosen not to tell anyone at work, and I certainly don't blame him for that. He was supposed to have corrective brain surgery this morning, but it was postponed because his doctors decided they wanted him to get a second opinion with another specialist today.

What compounds my sadness over this news is that it came a week before they were set to announce that management had hired a new Chief to replace him when he retires next March. The new Chief was supposed to start soon and train with him for the year as he gradually hands over the reins. Obviously, they've postponed the announcement as nobody knows exactly what's going to happen at this point. I know how much he has been looking forward to retirement. He has several grandkids who are quite obviously the highlights of his life. He's very active, hiking, boating, swimming, and competing in all kinds of physical competitions. The man hiked the Grand Canyon a few years ago, for goodness sake! I can only pray that however this turns out, it is successfully managed and he's able to continue doing all the things he's planned during his retirement. Despite being a bit crazy, he meant a lot to me.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Picture Collage - Weekend Whirlwind

Mobile, AL - Surprise! Happy 60th Birthday, Rick! Jen and her mom did a great job of planning the surprise party. And that's my new little friend, Danny, chilling before dinner.

Gulf Shores, AL - How can we be so close and not visit our favorite sandy hangout? We left Mobile this morning and drove on down for a quick visit. Ok, so it's not Ft. Morgan, and it was entirely too crowded, but it was close enough for an hour's walk and of course...

Lunch at Bahama Bob's Beachside Cafe.

I opted not to stop in Robertsdale because the photographic opportunities there are overwhelming and deserve a the attention of a day when I have time to get the giant chicken, bear, metal flying bee, library-church, AND the row of American flags, but we did stop in Loxley, home of Robin Hood (how did he get to England from Alabama???). I got my picture made in front of the giant strawberry outside of the Buress Market. I also insisted on stopping in Magee for a shot of the statue of liberty in front of the Super 8 hotel. Been wanting to photograph that old girl since I first saw her on our way down for our honeymoon, but circumstances have always led us to drive past. There were quite a few people mulling around, so we just did a drive by snapshot instead of getting out and posing with it. Maybe next time.

Have I mentioned that I love the fact that I married a man who would gladly stop in every rinky-dink town in Alabama to take pictures of the most random local landmarks imaginable, just because I find them funny?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sounds Familiar...

A lady in another department just emailed me to ask me for my name, title, phone number, and email address.

Um, it's the name you looked up in the email address book, listed right next to my title and phone number. As for my email address, I'm sure if you look hard enough in the email you just sent me, you can find it.

I suspect this person might have either just transferred out of billing after dealing with Stacey or is currently applying for a job with Supermom.

A Few Updates

1. Clucky is one of the coolest people I know. There's nothin' trashy about it.

2. I actually had one resident show up to take their rotation exam this morning. Since I only had two who were required to take it this month and one had already rescheduled for Monday, that's 100% of the expected attendance. And she was early. I was very impressed.

3. DirecTV is trying to make things better. They've said they'll credit our account for the extra $100 they charged us, and they're supposed to be coming out Tuesday afternoon to fix the DVR that doesn't work. On one hand it's good that they're willing to work with us, on the other hand it just frustrates me more because, for one, why is one rep authorized to give us a credit when two others weren't? This really shouldn't have required 3 or 4 phone calls, but I guess the lesson learned is to keep calling until you get somebody willing to give you the answer you want. Second, one of us (me) has to leave early again on Tuesday to meet the guy to fix the DVR, which will probably be the same guy who was so horribly late last week that he didn't have time to get it installed correctly in the first place. Seriously people, if we aren't at work we won't be making the money to pay for the service. Think about that.

4. I haven't given an update on my basketball brackets because I really don't want to hear from Benji. And Tennessee pretty much killed me last night, as I had them in the Final Four. That leaves me with one Final Four pick left in that group, Kansas, who I picked to win it all. In my MRBA bracket, I still have both of my championship game teams in the running, Wisconsin and Texas. My other two Final Four picks are out. I think my coin misunderstood what I was trying to accomplish.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


In this time of advanced technology and innovation, why am I still hand washing some of my clothes?

(No, I don't want an answer to that question. I know there are new fancy schmancy machines that have a hand wash cycle, my mom just bought one, but I can assure you my second hand, $75 for the set, washer and dryer do not have that capability.)

Define Healthy...

With our recent attempts to be a bit healthier we've been paying a lot more attention to the things we eat, meaning less bread/pasta and more fruits and veggies. A couple of nights ago we saw a commerical for the V8 Splash fruit flavored drinks and Greg made a comment that maybe we should try those and see how they taste, since eating enough veggies is one of the barriers we've had a hard time getting past.

I noticed this morning that they have the drinks at our cafeteria, so I picked one up. It tastes pretty ok for a vegetable/fruit drink. I'm thinking this could be doable. Then I read the Nutrition label. I've learned to read the labels very carefully. It's become a hobby of sorts.

The first thing I noticed was the ingredient list. What are the first two ingredients in my V8 Splash Berry Blend? Water and high fructose corn syrup (one of the least healthy ingredients on the planet). Before any mention of vegetable or fruit juice. I'm not impressed. So I move on over to the Nutrion Facts box. 70 calories, fine, 18g of carbs (all sugar, 6%DV), 40mg potassium (1%DV) and 50 mg of sodium (2%DV). The only vitamins listed are A, C, and E. I can get that in a bowl of cereal. And oh look, it contains a whopping 10% juice**! The rest is water and syrup. I wouldn't exactly call that healthy, people. After reading all of that I couldn't even finish drinking it. I think I'll go home and make a salad.

**Note: To be fair, while typing this I decided to look up the info on the original V8 juice, which I do use in soups and sauces when I don't have enough tomato sauce or just need some more liquid. According to the V8 website, those are 100% juice, and so are the V8 Fusion drinks, which I should probably try instead of the Splash. What I couldn't find is the actual nutrion label information online. You bet I'll be reading those before I actually buy one!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why I Hate DirectTV

First, let me say this isn't my deal. It's my husband's deal, and that's a good thing. I'm just commenting on the situation as a bystander.

Second, let me say that I really didn't realize exactly how much I am like my father until yesterday. I now understand why he has my mom take care of these types of things. I do, indeed, have his temper.

As most of you know, we took a step back into the 19th century about a year ago and canceled out cable TV service. It wasn't an easy decision, but it was a good one that resulted in that much more money going towards our mortgage payoff each month. Now, after a couple of months of research and discussion, we've taken the step back. Greg found a way to make it budget-neutral by shifting money from some other places, so it's all good. Having said that...

I had DirecTV one many many years ago before I moved to Jackson. I was in a tiny town so I wasn't able to go through DirecTV directly, I had to go through a local provider. At the time I officially declared the local company to have the worst customer service ever.

Then I moved to Jackson and had to deal with Time Warner Cable.

Which was then changed to Comcast... (shudder)

By the time we canceled our cable service I had a whole new appreciation for that original local company. I thought I knew what real bad service was. Now, after yesterday's incident with DirecTV, I'm wondering if Comcast is really so bad.

I won't go into details. Anybody with a pay TV service has been there. Besides, I realized this morning that in the spirit of Easter I should get over it. Yes, Easter is technically over but the grace of Easter never ends. And even DirecTV employees deserve forgiveness. I don't really believe that it was any one individual's intent to be a liar or cheat or disrespectful, or incompetent or stupid. I think it's a problem with the company as a whole. The lack of communication - not just with the customer but among their own employees - creates a large part of the problem. The company's policies and inflexibility create the rest.

See, I feel better now. Good thing I didn't post this last night when I was mad enough to throw things, cuss some people out, and probably get banned from ever having satellite television again. Although if this was my deal and I was handling it, I'm pretty sure that would have happened. Since it's not, I'll just say that I am not a fan of DirecTV as a company and if anybody is thinking about subscribing to their service, I beg you, find an alternative. They lie. And cheat. And are disrespectful. And borderline incompetent/stupid. Thank you.

(And no, I can't name a better alternative. When did we, as a culture, give up on demanding good service? We accept being treated like dirt by all of the pay television service companies because it's standard and to be expected, but that shouldn't be good enough!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Birthday Joy

UPDATE: It's 7. I was close. And I'm glad it's 7. That's plenty. Not wanting to rush anything here!

Today is Parker's birthday. Sadly, I can't remember exactly which birthday this is. I think it's 8. Could be 7... but I think it's 8. Really. This is sad. He was the first of my 4 boys (Lynn's two and Lauren's two) and the one I first leaned how to spoil. Taught him to blow straw wrappers in Arby's, then how to blow bubbles in his drink. Sigh. I don't see any of them enough anymore, haven't seen Parker and Dalton since August, haven't seen Edwin and Ian since last June. I miss all my boys, but today I miss Parker the most. My little guy isn't so little anymore. Happy birthday, Park-N-Go! (Parking Lot, No Parking Allowed, Theme Park, Ball Park... heh. We had dozens of them while driving up to Atlanta one time!)

The picture is from Dalton's birthday party back in August. I'm planning to make a flying trip to Arkansas for Parker's party in a couple of weeks, hopefully I'll get a bunch of new pictures to hold me over!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Time Off

My extra days off last week ultimately led to me taking time off from a lot of my routine activities, inlcuding being online. I hardly turned on my computer Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, except to find a recipe or two, walk my mom through the basic navigation of blog-land, and, of course, check my basketball brackets. To be honest, I barely looked at email and I don't think I read hardly any blog posts for three days. I was just busy doing other things and enjoying the nice weather. It was the most productive I've been in months, and I loved it. I hung out with my husband. I played in the dirt. I threw meat (and pineapple!) on the grill. I spent some time with the in-laws. I played a good bit of pinball on the Wii. I cleaned part of my house. I watched more basketball than I have in my entire life. I even learned to understand some of it. It was the first time I've ever taken time off and stayed home to do domestic stuff. All in all in was a perfect balance of things I needed to get done and things I wanted to do.

Now on to five weeks of constant motion, travel, events, and weekend plans.


There is one button in the elevator in my building that doesn't light up. Inevitably I end up in the elevator with a patient or family member who gets quite confused/irritated with the button. They keep thinking that either they didn't push it hard enough or that perhaps it went out when the elevator stopped on another floor.

I realized today how ironic this is. The button is to the phychiatric floor. Perhaps it's done on purpose as a mental test for patients. Or to increase business.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Hi Mom. =)

(Sorry, Mom just called trying to figure out how to get to the blogs so that she could share the Peep pics, so I thought I'd leave her a message.)

Oh, and Mom, if you need to get back to Sandi's blog you can click on the underlined colored words in the Peep post and it'll take you back there quicker. They should be in either red or blue, it changes depending on whether or not you've already clicked on it or not. Just a tip.

Props to the Peeps

Who's yo' peep? I'm yo' peep!

That's right. The winner of the 2008 Peep Show is... Basil's Peep Farm!!! (Insert Super Bowl winning cheer audio track here.) Here's the link to Sandi's announcement post, complete with pics of some of the seriously cool competition. The Larry Craig peeps should have gotten the most hysterically creative award. That's just darn funny.

And of course I forgot to take more pictures before I handed them over (for those who forget after a while of being showered with my totally impressive togetherness, I'm nothing if not ADD), but Sandi has a group picture on her site (click to enlarge) and I did have these two that I took when I emailed the llama to Sandi earlier in the week:

I didn't get a close up of the bull. Sorry.

Credits: Mom made the pig-peep. She rocks. This is why I took them to do at her house in the first place. As Greg put it, "So, it is hereditary..." Meaning the gooberiness, of course. The llama and the bull were both made by me. The llama was actually supposed to be a sheep and the bull started out as a horse, but sometimes Peeps have a life of their own and their inner llama/bull has to show through, so I went with the flow.


That sound? That's Spring. It sprung yesterday, I'm just a little behind. Had enough work stuff to go in for on my day off that I didn't want to start playing in the dirt yesterday. My work events were spread out just enough that by the time I would have gotten good started I'd have had to stop and get a shower. So I just bought a few more supplies, motivated myself with a trip to the new mall in Ridgeland, and am ready to get seriously dirty today.

Speaking the mall, one of two stores we actually went in was Fresh Market, and geezum petes! Anybody else ventured out there yet? There weren't as many people as I expected walking out the mall, Barnes & Noble had quite a few shoppers, but Fresh Market was packed. After fighting our way around the store to browse we realized why. Having lived in small Mississippi towns and cities all my life, I've never seen a selection of fresh food like that in a store. They had apples the size of my head! (Greg would like to point out that the apples have gotten quite a bit bigger every time I've talked about them. But they were huge.)

They had fresh meat like I've never imagined - no plastic wrapped meat here. It was all under a case with multiple attendants. Whole chickens, bright, fresh ground beef, a variety of fish steaks - the swordfish steak was the biggest piece of fish I've ever seen. I just stopped and stared with my mouth hanging open. We stalked a guy giving out pineapple samples and oh my goodness I am so going back for one of those (there was no way I was waiting in that line to get one yesterday, although I did break down and buy a whole one at the grocery store last night. I know it won't be as good, but it's better than canned!). Greg was also impressed that they served the sample pineapple on a pretzel stick instead of a toothpick. No waste. They also had a very tiny selection processed food and a small freezer section, but I didn't get to explore it very closely. And there was a bakery section, but with Greg and I avoiding bread for a little while after our risk assessments, we made an effort to get out of there quick. I'd hoped they would have a fresh grain bin where you can grind your own meals like Rainbow has, but I didn't see one (they did have huge bins of coffee beans!). They easily could have had one and I missed it, considering the number of people in there and my rush through.

But I digress. It's a good thing the store's in Ridgeland, because if it was on this side of town I'd either become clinically depressed or clinically broke very quickly. Greg said something about letting me shop there as a Christmas gift. Heh. The store seemed very small, which I'm sure has to do in part to the fact that they weren't sure exactly how well it would be received here and in part to the fact that they couldn't possibly keep the stock that fresh if they kept much more of it! And it may seem bigger with less than four hundred people in it. The produce section was just amazing. Many of the same types of produce I can find at Kroger, just bigger, fresher, and better looking. The artichokes... oh wow. They looked like real artichokes, not brown and getting mushy. And they had different varieties of asparagus, not just one small pile. And the apples.... I'm telling you, the size of a beach ball...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gone With the Wind

One of the main things I remember about Katrina, the actual storm as opposed to the aftermath, is standing at my back door looking at the trees in the back yard and praying for them not to come down on the house. We have 3 trees that are either dead or on the way to dead, two of which could easily have fallen on the house. They didn't, thank goodness. Crazy as this sounds, a few weeks ago, during a storm while Greg was out of town, I had suddenly had this bizarre fear that I would come home and find one of those trees down on the house. There was no real reason for me to think that, it was out of the blue. That same tree I was worried about then happens to be the one that took a dive during today's strong winds. Lucky for us, it chose to fall backwards instead of toward the house.

You can kind of see a where the upper branches start if you notice the "V" shaped limbs at the top of the picture. That's the part that would have been on the house if it had fallen forward, instead of falling on the supposed site of the new library.

I had Greg take this one with me in it to get an idea of how big this stupid tree was.

Now we just have to figure out what to do with it. And contemplate getting the other two dead trees taken down. But that will probably have to wait a few months, unless somebody is willing to do it for free firewood!

Pimped Peeps

I forgot to post this link yesterday, but Sandi posted a picture of my pimped llama peep, one of the residents of Basil's Peep Farm, which will be participating in the Peep Show at a blogger lunch on Thursday.

Of course, I can't actually go to the lunch because of the stupid meeting I have to be at, but Sandi said she'd take my farm so my peeps could represent. I'm going to get some pictures of the other two inhabitants before I hand them over, but I won't post them until after the Peep Show on Thursday.

Day Off?

After looking at my schedule for the next couple of months, I decided to go ahead and take a couple of days off at the end of this week. I won't have another free weekend until May, so I figured I might as well take a four day weekend while I had the chance.

Except then a meeting I have to be at got rescheduled for this Thursday at noon.

And of course I didn't think about the fact that our monthly evening conference is Thursday night, which I have to go to.

I thought about just switching my day off, but Greg is off Thursday, too, so we decided to just make the most of it. He'll drop me off at work for my lunch meeting, go play for an hour or so, and then pick me up so we can go explore the new mall in Ridgeland that's opening this week. I saw the new bookstore on the news last night and it looks huge. Friday, I work in the yard and maybe throw some meat on the grill. And hopefully our brand spanking new Pinball game that has been ordered will come in the mail Friday, which will suck up the rest of my long weekend!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Coin Doesn't Lie

I've made my basketball bracket picks. I actually ended up in two different groups, the MRBA group and one other, where my bracket is titled, "Must Defeat Benji." Heh.

I'm taking my responsibility very seriously. We watched the selection show. I researched each team, their rankings, their records, their superstitions, their passion. Then I sat in the floor with my laptop and shiny quarter and started flipping. The first round games were decided on one flip, all rounds after that were decided by best of three flips.

The results were a little unexpected, but the coin doesn't lie. Even when it has a second round game between an 11th and 12th ranked team. The coin doesn't lie. Even when it has a 13th ranked team beating a 4th ranked team in the first round. The coin doesn't lie.

What I don't understand is how my two different brackets ended up with totally different results. The two final teams the coin chose for one group bracket both lose in the 2nd round of the other group bracket. But I must trust the coin...

Good Times

We spent the weekend visiting family and I have to say it was a pretty excellent weekend. I got to hang out with Grandma Saturday while flower shopping. I don't get to do that enough, and I enjoyed it tremendously.

Meanwhile, I may have missed the Garden and Patio Show here in Jackson yesterday, but I did get to enjoy my own personal Butler Family Garden Show at Mom's house. I took a bunch of pictures of her first round of blooms before the battery in my camera died and hope to get a few of them up on Flickr tonight (done). I did manage a nice trunk-full of flowery goodness to bring home with me.

Mom hooked me up with several herbs from her garden as well as a pot of Granny Stuart violets (so named because they are from the ones my great-grandmother, Emma Stuart, grew in her yard that have been passed on through the generations). On our trip to Lowe's on Saturday Mom found the Encore azaleas that I want to plant this year and we examined them to decide which colors we wanted. I inquired as to the cost, so I could budget better for buying them later, and the incredibly nice lady told me that they were $9.99, but if I wanted to buy them that day she'd let me have them for $6.99. They were getting ready for their big spring shipment this week and were making deals on just about everything on the lot. Mom decided I needed a birthday present anyway and, since they were on sale, bought me four. Sweet. The bright red and yellow flowers are some we came across at Walmart and decided to get on a whim. We'd never seen anything quite like them and they were quite striking.

All in all, I'd say my own garden show turned out way better than the one here. I scored a bunch of free plants, and got personal lessons from two incredible gardeners. It was a good day.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Coin Flip

I've joined my first ever NCAA Basketball bracket group, courtesy of an invite from the MRBA. Now let's review everything I know about NCAA basketball:

1. It's the college sport played with the orangey-colored round ball.

2. The men where baggy shorts.

3. Whichever team is referred to as "UT" or "Longhorns" should win.

Well, that just about sums it up. And I will give credit where it's due - the full depth of that knowledge came from my dear husband's teachings. Football I get. Baseball I love. Basketball... I don't think I've ever been to a game. That aside, I feel pretty good about this group. Unless some of the more knowledgable boys sign up, the ignorance/humiliation ratio should be pretty good, despite Commissioner Supermom's motto: 'Cause we're smarter than the sports bloggers.

Now I need to go do my research before the picks open on Sunday. I have to find just the right coin to flip that is least likely to cause a repetitive stress injury.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mostly Not Dead Yet

I had my follow up appointment for my Heart Risk Assessment today. There was good news and bad news. The good news is that they calculated a zero percent chance that I would develop heart disease in the next ten years.

The bad news is that I'm dead. Guess that would help my odds at not having heart disease.

One of the leads on my EKG was flatlined. This could be what Boss #2 meant when she said she thought there was a "slight abnormality" on my EKG.

(And for the record, I scored a "B" overall on my assessment. Not too bad, but considering my family history and current numbers, we'll be working on some more cholesterol balancing techniques going forward!)


The Jackson Garden and Patio Show is this weekend. Last year I intentionaly avoided the show with every bit of willpower I had. I knew I couldn't buy anything and didn't need the temptation. This year I had decided to go.

Except, we're going to see my parents this weekend. It's our last chance to go until May.

I was a little bummed about this, until I realized something. We're going to see my parents this weekend! My mom's yard is garden show in itself, except at this show I can get plants for free. Perhaps this is the better plan after all!

In related news, I mentioned several weeks ago that I'd been browsing around on a nifty gardening website, but I'd totally forgotten how I got to that site to begin with. I'd gone there to get free seed samples! I remembered when my seeds arrived in the mail this week. I got two packs of flower seeds (assylium and cosmos) and two packs of vegetable seeds (curly-leafed lettuce and carrots). I'm pretty excited. This means I can satisfy my urge to play with seeds this spring without actually buying seeds, so when they don't grow I won't feel stupid. I have never gotten anything to grow well from seed, but for some reason I keep thinking I can.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where's the Cape?

Am I the only one who hears the term "Super Delegates" and expects to see a Democrat in tights and a red cape come flying across the screen? The local CBS coverage was just interviewing one at the Obama party downtown and I kept thinking, "Suuuuper Delegate, AWAY!! (whoooosh!)"

A New Twist on Old Spam

I had an email tonight informing me I'd won another lottery. This one was from the (and I'm cutting and pasting this so you won't think it's a typo):

Yahoo/Msn Lottery Incoperation

What did I win from this American company? Half a million Brittish pounds. Nice. Clearly scams aren't very profitable, as the scammers can't afford spell check or somebody to research the local currency.

Good Fortune

Greg and I had fortune cookies with our lunch today.

Mine said:
You need to recharge.
Spend time alone in nature.

That sounds fantastic. I could get on board with that plan.

Greg's said:
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Wonton or Dumpling?


Monday, March 10, 2008

ODAR Trivia

Every job description has that famous final line - Other Duties As Required. It's become quite the joke around here that most of us spend more time work on our ODAR's than we do the rest of our responsibilities. That has been exceptionally true for me today. I have a new project that involves combing through hundreds of computer generated search terms and determining/monitoring which would be most useful to generate productive (read: money-making) hits on our department's web site. What does this have to do with administering the fellowship training program? Nothing. That's why it's an ODAR.

While at first this sounds like a project that would make my eyes bleed, it has in fact been quite educational. You see, I know very little technical terminology when it comes to the procedures and diagnostics that we do, so quite a few of the search terms on the list are totally foriegn to me. Every time I come across one of these suspicious terms I end up Googling it to see if it is in any way related to cardiology. Some of them are indeed relevant terms that I would learn if diagnosed with a particular cardiac ailment. Others are not.

Did you know that "pacemaker" can refer to:

A brand of boat
A model of hot water heater
A type of portable DJ system
A race track in Ohio
A Brittish rock band from the 1960's

Heart Transplant is also the name of a band, although they only appear to have had one popular song, and "bleeding heart" is a type of flower (which I already knew because I tried to grow one when I was in high school. They do not like our hot summers).

There is much interest in both Regis Philbin and Bill Clinton's heart surgeries. I didn't know either of them had gone through heart surgery. Meanwhile, online virtual heart surgery has become quite the popular game.

I've made my own game out of the list. Every now and then I'll email Greg a term and he has to guess if it's cardicac or not. The best was "heart transplant lyrics" for which he started guesing songs such as Achy Breaky Heart.

Election Issues

With our primary election being tomorrow, and for the first time in my lifetime we actually have candidates visiting Mississippi, it has occured to me that there's one issue that's being completely ignored. Nobody asked Chelsea Clinton about it at Sal & Mookies last night. Nobody will ask Obama about it at JSU today, nobody grilled Bill or Hillary while they were here last week. And let's face it, McCain isn't coming this way because he's moved on to more important things already.

But if I could get all three candidates together in a room and grill them about one issue, here's what I want to know:

Since all three of you are members of the Senate, can you tell me exactly whose idea it was to move the time change back to March, and which of you voted for it???

That alone could decide my vote in November. Because this, my friends, was a really, really bad plan. And whoever thought is was a good plan doesn't deserve my vote.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Pain of it All

I woke up hurting this morning. I must have slept crooked because my neck hurt so bad I couldn't move it.

Here's where I should stop and point out that this isn't a post whining and complaining about how much I'm hurting. Just the opposite. I spent much of the morning curled up with my heat sock and then soaking in a very warm bathtub and by 1pm was feeling much better. You see, the muscles in your neck and even some in your face run all the way down across your shoulders and some down parts of the back. Sometimes the pain in the neck and face is actually caused by a tight muscle or spasm further down. Anyway, I'm still hurting right below both ears a good bit, but can move around and even sacrificed a couple of pieces of meat to the grill, which are cooking as I type.

This is more a reminder to myself to be grateful. Up until about a year ago I had this kind of severe pain across my back and shoulders pretty much every day. I went through 12 doctors in 5 years trying to deal with varying levels of pain. It started out being once every few weeks, with a sharp stabbing pain near one of my ears. After four years of that one of the 11th doc sent me to physical therapy, which solved the sharp shooting pain behind my ear. But afterwards I started having dull pulsing pains in my back and shoulder. There was only so much they could do for that. Ironicaly, it drastically reduced within a couple of month of changing jobs. Hmmm. I still hurt from time to time but nothing like I used to. I'd kind of forgotten how bad it used to be, until this morning when I couldn't move. Now I'm sitting outside feeling like I should be grateful for this little reminder. And now the steaks are done, so I'm going to go be grateful insde, with a knife and fork.

(I am a little sad because Greg and I were planning to visit a new church this morning, and I was up in plenty of time despite forgetting to change the clocks. I just couldn't move, thus we didn't make it.)

Friday, March 7, 2008


I knew this time would come.

As you know, I've been very carefully allocating my weekly stuff money to pay for gardening supplies. It's a good plan and has worked well. I still have to buy a little more dirt, mulch, and save up so I can buy all the plants at one time. It's very feasable if I stay on track and put aside money each week.

But then Greg picks up the new Pinball Hall of Fame game for the Wii at Blockbuster this week.


Greg and I both love pinball. We've been know to go to the bowling alley down the street from our house to play the Spiderman 3 table. We searched out an arcade with pinball when we were on vacation at the beach. One of us is actually very good. The other likes to watch the shiny ball chase the bright flashy lights around. I'll let you decide which description fits who.

Anyway, I've killed many brain cells and wasted entire days playing the old Pinball Hall of Fame on the PSP (it's what keeps me awake in the car when we road trip anywhere) and the Wii game has a whole pile of different classic tables. It's all I've done for two nights in a row. It was so bad last night while Greg was gone bowling that I totally forgot to feed my pup until it was time for bed. Which was much later than I should have been in bed. It's an addiction. I need it. I don't need food. I don't need sleep. I need Pinball Hall of Fame.

But it costs more than a whole week's stuff money. So now I have to decide. This has been the most valuable part of budgeting for us. There are two things I want a lot. I can only get one at the moment, one will have to wait. I've learned much patience from this. And right now having patience is the absolute worst thing in the world.

Damn you, Pinbot. And you, Gorgar. And you, Whirlwind. And yes, even you, Space Shuttle!

Note to Jennifer

Hey Jen, look! It's supposed to snow tonight! You know what that means... Post some signs and break out those stickers, it's garage sale season! Quick, think we get one put together before 5am?*

*Insert heavy dose of sarcasm. We sold a garage in the snow last Spring and my new motto is, "If it snow, I don't go."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Silly Things Boys Say

And in this case by "boys" I mean my husband. In the past 24 hours I have done a double-take over the following (unrelated) comments:

Last night:

"Pin-Bot's good, but I like Bride of Pin-Bot better."

and today:

"I like to keep my peeps happy."

Strangely enough, the Pin-Bot comment was the less bizarre of the two. Greg doesn't use words like "peeps" on a regular basis, especially not when referring to coworkers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Doing Without

The couple on the radio this morning were talking about taking a "virtual break" from electronics for a day, and whether or not people could do it. No phones, no TV, no computer, no radio/mp3 players, no video games. Oh yeah. I could do it. Easily. I hardly ever use my phone anyway, except to text my husband to coordinate where we're meeting for stuff, and the TV and radio are more for background noise than entertainment most of the time. The computer? Yes, I'm online a lot, but in truth I spend much less time online over the weekends than during the week, and could easily take a day or two without it (and I think we all know that Stacey can do it!).

The thing they kept asking callers was, "What would you do instead of watching TV, etc.?"

That's an easy one for me. And answering it makes me realize that I should probably make a serious effort to do other things more often. During the week I'm too tired in the evenings and on the weekends I feel like I'm always trying to catch up on housework or shopping. But if I really had a break, with no electronics or household to-do list...

I'd read. A lot.
I'd cook some new fun things.
I'd play in the dirt in my yard.
I'd start quilting again.
I'd start cross stitching again.
I'd finish 2 scrapbooks I've started.
I'd do some fun things like go to the zoo or take day trips to nearby fun places.
I'd take my pup for a walk and throw more squeaks.
I'd exercise. Maybe even start playing tennis again.

The list could go on. Maybe it's time to stop making excuses and start doing some of those things.


I think it's fitting that today is my one year anniversary at the U. Yes, it's crazy insane busy right now, but I can always look back on March 5 and say, "It could be worse." Yes. I could still be at the bank. As it is, I'm busy, but feel like I'm being productive and making progress with a system that's been bogged for more years than I can imagine. Small steps, but it's still progress.

Even better, the MRC cafeteria, which has been closed for renovations since November, reopened yesterday and will be the site of our usual Wednesday lunch today. There are 5 of us who usually go out to eat for lunch on Wednesdays as a treat. We've been sort of floundering without a Wednesday lunch routine since they closed. Today we go back to our favorite on-campus lunch spot to celebrate my first year on the job.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I've learned not to read too many news articles regarding politics and government-related financial matters. It usually just frustrates me and makes me frustrated. Today I made the mistake of clicking on this article about our Fed Chair opening his mouth in public again. Here's a quote with the primary idea that I find offensive:

One of the suggestions Bernanke made was for mortgage and other financial companies to reduce the amount of the loan to provide relief to a struggling owner. "Principal reductions that restore some equity for the homeowner may be a relatively more effective means of avoiding delinquency and foreclosure," Bernanke said.

So the basic idea is to forgive a portion of the mortgage debt on loans that are behind and about to go into foreclosure. Meanwhile, the people who have been struggling, scrimping, sacrificing and working extra jobs to pay their mortgage on time every month get a pat on the back and the opportunity to continue struggling to pay off their full debt. They aren't trying to find solutions to the underlying problem, they're trying to band aid the problem to keep voters happy in an election year.

I'm not even talking myself on this one, I know we're weird for paying off our debt. We scrimp and sacrifice by choice because security is a priority for us at this point. But clearly we'd benefit more from not paying our mortgage and letting the government force our lender to knock thousands of dollars off our principal balance. While we're at it, we should not pay the enormous tax bill we owe and let one of those absurd lawyers on TV settle our tax debt for pennies on the dollar. Seems like not being responsible pays a lot better than actually following the rules.

(Disclaimer: I'm sure getting our taxes back didn't contribute to my level of irritation over this. It's not like we owe the IRS more than half of what we owe on the house, due in part to the fact that we worked so hard to make extra money to pay off the darn house!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

No Bad Weather Here...

This is what Jen would call having a Susan moment.

In keeping with my life-long weather paranoia I threw our little weather radio/flashlight (we have two) in my bag just in case it got nasty before we left today. Since I work in a cave I have no idea of what's going on in the outside world. I thought once the rain moved in I could turn it on and at least get updates.

I went to turn it on just now and realized there are no batteries in it.

Up and Down and Out

So despite all of the insanity of last week, it turned out to be a good one. Both of the big meetings I worked so hard on went very well, better than expected even. I was worn out by the end of the week, but felt like I'd made a good bit of progress.

And that's the excuse I'm using for having slept somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 hours yesterday. It wasn't exactly on purpose, as evidenced by the fact that at one point I ended up sound asleep for several hours in the middle of the hardest, least comfortable living room floor known to man. I woke up a few times long enough to think, "I really need to get up off the fl... zzzzzzz." Don't ask how I ended up in the floor. All I know is I was getting up from the couch to go work in the yard and then I was asleep in the floor. I didn't really become completely awake and functioning until around 7pm.

I absolutely hate it when I do that, but every now and then it happens and I seem to have no control over it. I blame the fact that I wore my self out last week at work, but then I have to wonder why I didn't crash on Saturday. I dunno, but I feel like I wasted a perfect day to work in the yard and get some cleaning done.

And, of course, my apologies to Stacey. I hate that I missed your one day a week online.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gold Medalist

I am the gymnastics queen of the Wii!

Since we defeated Mario Galaxy, we used the last of out Christmas gift cards to buy Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games last night. My best event is the trampoline. So far I have gold medals with 8 different characters. I really really wish I could record the video to post. You just haven't enjoyed the Olympics until you've seen Bowser do a 9.5 trampoline routine.

Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom

A conversation between my husband and I, while leaving the grocery store where we went to buy tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion (nice, healthy veggies) and were accosted by evil Girl Scouts who forced cookies upon us:

(After reading aloud the nutritional content of the three boxes of cookies)

Me: It's not too bad. It could be less healthy.
Greg: Yeah. If you covered it in powdered sugar...
Me: hmm...
Greg: And then battered and deep fried it.
Me: A deep fried Tagalong... you know, I think I could do that...

(No, I didn't try it. But I'm still contemplating it.)