Monday, December 14, 2009

Plants again!

My success with growing (read: not killing) both jalepeno plants and sweet potato plants this year has encouraged me to keep trying. JLR and I recently bought a peppermint plant. This one is going to be tricky. I can't leave it in any of our home's prime windowsill locations because Wally will eat it. So during the day I leave it in the one window Wally can't reach, but this window isn't insulated very well, and with the cold temperatures, the plant has been looking a bit pitiful lately. And by "lately," I mean, "basically since the day after I brought it home."

But I'm hopeful yet.

Come on, little peppermint, you can do it!


Problems with English

I don't know if it's a lack of sleep, a lack of proper nutrition, or just generally getting older, but JLR and I have been having some problems speaking properly. The other night, for example, she told me that she was having breathing problems, "because of the nases." I think she meant her sinus/nasal passages? I couldn't laugh at her because earlier that evening I had made quite a statement of my own.

We were listening to Christmas music on an online radio station. I really liked one song, and JLR told me that it was a Manheim Steamroller song. I was surprised. Not that I don't like any of their music, mind you, but it's not generally my taste. I wanted to say, "Get out!" but my brain was having none of it. It reached for something similar, something that would do, and before I could stop it, my mouth spat it out.

"Go home!" I said with gusto.

Go home. I just--I don't know.


Planning in a Small City

I work for a city of about 7,000 people and about 6 1/2 square miles. Definitely a small city. We're in an urbanized area, however, and are surrounded by larger cities. The city bordering us to the west has about 750,000 people, and the one sharing our eastern border has about 300,000. Many of our problems, then, are distinctly urban in nature. But despite finding ourselves in the midst of big cities, we still have to deal with rural-type problems, and when we do, well, the suburbanite in me is tickled pink. I can't help it.

Today, a co-worker and I were driving around town posting signs about an upcoming meeting, when my co-worker pointed out that Mr. Carter's goats had gotten out of his field and had wandered into the cemetery next door. Mind you, they weren't in the part with graves, but still. It had potential to become An Issue. After all, who would want to see their loved ones' gravestones being nibbled on by wayward goats? I needn't have worried, though. When I drove back by a little bit later, the goats had moved on. They had somehow circumvented the fence and were now calmly grazing across the street in front of the insurance office.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Last month, I went to a professional conference on the coast. The warm weather and beach view were great, as was the break from work--oh, no, wait. There was no break. I took my computer and worked in my hotel room at night. Except--there were two nights when I hung out with other professionals at the pre-arranged evening conference activities and the later trips to local bars. And I had no idea people acted that crazy when they're away from home. See, when I'd been at conferences before, I'd skipped the evening activities. But now I see what I've been missing. This appears to be the typical conference agenda:

First day:
Attend workshops all day. Go out drinking with other attendees until midnight.

Second day:
Get up in time to attend all day workshops. Go out drinking with other attendees until, oh, 1 or 2 in the morning when the bars close. Go to IHOP.

Third day:
Repeat activities from second day, except go to game room in swanky resort hotel to play shuffle board instead of going to IHOP.

Fourth day:
Improve on activities from 2nd and 3rd days by hiring a mini-bus to drive you around so you don't have to worry about drinking and driving while bar-hopping.

Y'all, I have no idea how they do it. I'm younger than most of the people I hung around with, and I hadn't a hope of participating in their, um, scheduled activities. There was no way. I stayed up with them on the 2nd and 3rd nights, and even without drinking I couldn't stay awake as long as they could.

And also, there were so many times when I wanted to say, "Does your wife know you're behaving like that?!?"

They're crazy, y'all.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Tonight, JLR made a delicious tomato basil soup, totally from scratch. Well, she did use a wee smidge of leftover tomato sauce. But she also chopped and cooked down fresh tomatoes, she added the right amount of seasoning, she figured out how much other stuff to throw in to thicken it and make it taste good, grain-free and impatientbee-and-impatientchicken-allergen-free. And oh, how it does taste good!

Good job, JLR!

(This is a noteworthy accomplishment because neither JLR nor I are good at cooking. Our list of failures is much, much longer than our list of successes.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Dear ArcMap,

I appreciate your working with me on georeferencing our zoning map, I really do. I just wish--and don't take offense and stop working--I do wish that it hadn't taken all day for this to happen. All day and part of my evening.

Oh, it's the computer's fault you say? But it runs my other programs just fine. Not that I'm accusing you of causing problems! Please don't stop working.


In other news, the co-workers have been commenting on the state of my office. In particular, they have been commenting on the barrenness of the walls. Yes, the walls probably would look better if I put up pictures or something, but I don't like to personalize my work space too much. I'm going to have to do something, though, just so that my co-workers won't think I'm strange. Also, one of the city council members said my office looked like a bureaucrat's office.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Watermelon, I Love You

I ate a pound of watermelon today. I know this not only because the package said it contained a pound of this yummy, sweet, watery treat but also because I weighed myself before and after eating the watermelon.

If I had had more, I would have eaten it.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Ha Ha, You Will Not Compress My Old Files!

God bless those folks over at Halff. They’re happy to answer my GIS questions as best they can. I say “as best they can” not to disparage their ability to use GIS but rather to indicate the number of GIS-related issues I’ve been having that don’t seem to have an obvious solution. You know the kind; you explain the problem to the tech people, they offer a solution, you tell them you’ve already tried that (many times), and they say, “Huh. That should have worked.”

Anyway, so I’ve been having some computer-ish problems. And this only serves to remind me that I’ve already reached that stage in life when new technologies (or updates to old ones) leave one completely baffled. For instance, on Facebook, I cannot figure out how to figure out what groups I’m in.

This is me on Facebook (see red part of the pie chart):

(Thank you, GraphJam). []

My point in saying all this is that just now, when I ran a Disk Cleanup, I refused to let the computer compress my old files. I’m sure this would help my computer a lot, but somehow, it just seems like it would mess up my files, that somehow my files will be lower in quality. I know this is unreasonable, but I can’t help feeling that way, and so no, thank you, do not compress my old files, Computer. I saw that you checked that little box to compress them, but I’m unchecking it. Oh, yes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Incident Report, 08.11.09

1. Spilled coffee on my pants.
2. Spilled coffee on my shirt and pants.
3. Left out a few words from a legal notice for a public hearing, and now we have to re-run the ad ($) and postpone the hearing. I think the notice was still good, but my supervisor disagrees, and so I had to make the "I'm sorry we can't hear your case yet" phone call to the applicant. All this after our finance director explicitly told all departments they need to be extra careful about sticking to their projected expenditures for the rest of the fiscal year.
4. Was really excited to find an elementary school classmate on Facebook and added him to my friends list, only to discover after reading his profile and wall postings that we have just as little in common now as we did 12 years ago, and maybe reconnecting wasn't a good idea after all. Could be awkward. His status messages all seem to be about partying, drinking, and Prodigy, and my status messages do not. (But I used to think one of the guys from Prodigy was cute; does that count for something?)
5. Hit self in face with windshield sun blocker thing, hope none of my co-workers saw it.

But at least I didn't fall down, right?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Keep Forgetting I'm New

A slight problem at work, I think my superiors keep forgetting that I’m new. Not just new to this city, but new to the planning profession in general. Several times lately, we’ve been in meetings about important projects, and someone looks at me and says, “Have you done the such-and-such yet?”

Blink. Blink-blink-blink-blink.

Oh, was I supposed to do that, then?

I didn’t know that. Because I’m new…to everything .

Another work issue:
I’ve had to listen to tapes of myself speaking at meetings, and I’ve noticed a disturbing speech pattern of mine in these situations.

It goes like this:
Normal speed, normal speed, normal speed, really…slow…at…end…of…sen…tence.

“Item n, the Commission agreed to recommend adopting language similar to that used in [other city] concerning the screening of compressors, and we should meet with [gas company] to get more information on this top…ic. And then you’re approving the language suggested by staff concerning noise levels. All we have from [the gas company] is what we gave…to…you. Concerning the screening of compressors, I have a suggestion there, borrowed from [other city], and this would be added to the proposed section a…bove.”

It doesn’t happen with every sentence, but it does happen often enough to be noticeable. Bother.

Also, I almost fell out of chair yesterday. This was at home, so only JLR saw me.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Good job, Masterpiece Mystery. You totally screwed up again.

Why, why , WHY did I spend an hour and a half of my precious little free time watching that horrible excuse for an Agatha Christie?

And will Masterpiece Mystery ever get it right? Ever?

I beginning to doubt it. I don't think I will be watching anymore of their Christie adaptations. They've messed it up too many times now.

Is it too much to ask that they at least pretend to keep the same plot? Or characters? Or motives?


Saturday, July 11, 2009

No Incidents Lately

Hello. There have been no incidents to report lately. There have been several misses, several almost-run-in-to-wall moments and similar moments, but nothing major to report. Well, that's not true. The other day I was shaking my spill-proof (I thought) drink container, and green tea came splashing out. I don't think I spilled anyway--no, wait. I did spill on myself. Okay, so there has been one incident.

Also, I keep accidentally choosing "print" instead of "print selection" at work so that instead of printing a 2-page excerpt from the city code, I print an entire chapter. So now I have several complete copies of the planning and zoning code in a desk drawer at work. But other than that, everything has been incident-free, really.

And that's because JLR is having all of the incidents. I declare, that woman has spilled more and dropped more in the past couple of weeks than I've seen happen to one person in a long time. While I hope it gets better for her, I hope that when it does get better, she doesn't pass it back to me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gee, I can’t wait to graduate and not have to do so much research...oh. Never mind.

This is what I get for saying so often that research was the part of school I liked the most. I should have told everyone that hanging out with friends at the coffee place was what I liked best about school.

Hi. At my new-ish job, we’re revising several of our ordinances. To prepare for ordinance revisions, one does a bit of research on issues, possible ways to address said issues, how other cities have changed their ordinances, and possible additional problems that may stem from trying to address the original problems though ordinances. Only as it turns out, it’s not just a bit of research; it’s a lot of research. It’s a lot of working until midnight, with just a break for dinner and shower.

I like having a real planning job, and I like my co-workers; I just wish I had a wee smidgen of free time.

And if you’re wondering why I’ve been posting even less frequently than usual, this is why.

In other news, I embarrassed myself in front of one of our city council members by demonstrating my complete lack of mathematical ability. He said he gets to the gym at 4:30 in the morning (I know!) and is still there at 7:30 when another council member gets there.

Me: I don’t know what I’d do at the gym for 4 hours.

Him: It’s 3 hours.


I had to present our strategic plan to the city council last week, and the city manager told me to take about 45 minutes. It took me 4 minutes. I was debating inwardly about whether I should try to stretch it out some more, you know, maybe read every page of the plan to them, when I looked around the council chambers and noticed one of the council members sorting his mail, paying his bills. And then I wasn’t so worried about taking up their time. To be fair to him, they had all read the strategic plan before, there was nothing new—and it made me feel much better about being 41 minutes short of material.

Also, minor incident report: I was using the work-issued headphones to transcribe minutes from the Planning & Zoning Commission, and used only one hand to yank the headphones off my head. What I didn’t realize is that the metal earpiece/headband part is attached to the cord by a magnet…and when I yanked the cord too hard, the metal earpiece snapped back onto my head.

And that’s me lately.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chew, Chew, Chew Your Food

Dear RR,

This is a note from Your Esophagus. Please note that all food must be chewed quite thoroughly before swallowing. Any food not thoroughly chewed before swallowing will be rejected and returned to you. While we understand that you are sometimes in a hurry to eat, it is our policy not to make exceptions to this rule. This policy is clearly stated in our handbook. Please note that this policy was not set by us, Your Esophagus, but was put in place by our governing institution, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and cannot be changed by us.

Your Esophagus


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm Not Getting Sick

I've made up my mind. I've made up my mind, and I'm not getting sick. So there, lurking illness.

In other news, still don't have a job, but the volunteer work is keeping me plenty busy. I'm involved in three projects right now, and one of them might even pay me a little bit. Not much, but it should buy groceries for a week--meaning I don't have to take grocery money out of my savings. Hurray!

As it turns out, there are plenty of planning jobs in the area, but they're all for people with experience...hence the volunteer work. I've got to do something to get real world experience on the resume. The work I'm doing may not pay, but it's worth a lot to be able to put it on the ol' c.v.

Last Saturday, went to a friend's birthday party at a local restaurant. The food was good, the company was entertaining, the restaurant's bathroom was great, the shoes were un.comfortable. The group went out dancing after dinner, but JLR and I had to check out of the party. Why do pretty shoes hurt so much? That's it, I said. I'm saving up for some Cole Haan Nike Air. I bet we wouldn't have had to go home if I'd been wearing these:

By golly.

P.S. If you know of anyone who has worn Cole Haan Nike Air shoes and can say whether they really are as comfortable as they're supposed to be, please do let me know.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Note about "The Unconcious Witness"

Let me tell you something about this book. Or more specifically, something about the cover of this book. Did you look at the picture? Did you take a good look at it?

Now, I like hardboiled detective fiction, so although I found the cover a bit cheesy, it did not deter me from reading the book. I'd been meaning to read a Dr. Thorndyke story since reading Partners in Crime, so while I wasn't expecting any incidents in the book to match the scene depicted on the cover, what did I know? I'd never read anything from the series.

But as it turns out, I did know.

I draw your attention again to the cover.

Among the characters in the story are a man and a blonde woman. That's about where the cover's relation to the story ends. At no point in the story does anyone wear an evening gown. At no point does the protagonist --or any other character--wear a tuxedo. At no point in the story does a woman faint. At no point does the protagonist--or anyone else--wield a gun.

This begs the question for the illustrators--what story did they read?


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What the--is THAT what I look like these days?

I freely admit that since I stopped taking classes to focus on my thesis, I kind of let myself go. This trend was not reversed when I finished the thesis, graduated, and began my job search. I stopped exercising. I stopped ironing my clothes or taking the trouble to put on clothes that matched (unless I planned to leave the house, which was not often). I haven't had a hair cut in I don't know how long. But I have nevertheless maintained some standards...or so I thought.
Today, I glanced in the mirror before heading out the door to a meeting. To my horror, I noticed that my eyebrows have taken on an appallingly unattractive pattern. While I've been sure to stave off the monobrow, and while I've remembered to tweeze the hairs growing under the main brow line, I've totally neglected the hairs growing to the upper ends of my brows. In other words, I looked vaguely like that guy from the Hudsucker Proxy ("He didn't look unhappy..."). As usual, I was running behind schedule, and I had no time to dash upstairs and remove or trim the offending eyebrow hairs. All I could do was slick the hairs down as best I could and hope that no one would notice.

In other news, here are the latest incidents:
1) In trying to scoop out the pit from an avocado, I accidentally sent it shooting across the counter and onto the floor, where it landed in the pitcher I use to water the plants.
2) Tried to make mung bean/broad bean noodles for the first time the other day. Thought instructions said to cut into pieces, then soak for ten minutes. Cutting the noodles was like trying to cut fishing wire, and I sent pieces of noodle flying all over the kitchen. After cutting noodles, looked at package for cooking instructions and realized that the instructions were to soak the noodles for ten minutes, and then cut them...when they're softer.
3) Have started eating persimmons, but wasn't sure which parts were edible. Read online description of fruit that said it could be eaten like an apple. Have been slicing and eating them, skin and all. Read today that the skin is definitely not to be eaten.
4) Forgot to take coffee grounds I've been saving to friend who composts. Coffee grounds now growing mold but can't bring myself to throw them out. Would put them in own small compost bin, but the neglected compost is now growing seedlings, and I can't bring myself to disturb them.
5) Landlord is giving us a new refrigerator and oven this weekend, which means I have to clean the refrigerator and oven in the next two days. More importantly, when they move the fridge, they'll see the piece of chicken bone I accidentally shot behind the fridge when I was chopping chicken bones for stock.
6) Mystery cuts on fingers of right hand. Am afraid they're the result of having old lady easily-cut dry hands.
7) Blood blister on left pinky toe from stubbing foot on banister.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Legume Day, My Favorite!

Must. get. motivated. to. find. job.

The rational side of me realizes that the contents of my savings account are rapidly disappearing. The used-to-student-loans-coming-in side of me says, "What's the big deal? You'll get another check in a week or so. Right? Right?!?"

Anyway, in other news, JLR and I are on a rotation diet in an effort to avoid developing sensitivities to other foods. So if we eat something from one food family on Monday, we don't eat it again until Friday. We're doing this mainly because we our diet had been consisting of legumes, fruit, oats, and rice. Since oats and rice are both in the same plant family as wheat (to which I already have a sensitivity), and since JLR has already demonstrated an allergic reaction (we think that's what it was) to eating too much peanut butter (legumes) over a short period of time, a rotation diet seems a good idea. I won't tell you what happened, since it's her story, but it had never happened to JLR before and hasn't happened since. And that's a good thing. Nothing gross--just midly frightening.

Today is legume diet. It is our favorite. Today, we may have: black bean soup; hummus; cannellini dip; peanut butter cookies; green beans; black eyes peas; or any other member of the much-beloved-by-us plant family. It's hard not to think about food all day when it's legume day. Or Lara Bar Day. Yum, lara bars...I've been thinking about food all day.

Sad. *Sigh*.