Saturday, December 30, 2006

Homeward Bound?

Well, today we head back to PA. We're supposed to get in around midnight (ugh!). This morning we're getting things together here and heading out.
Yesterday was very fun. Mid-morning we head down to Ada to catch up with people. Shawn was down from KS and Eric and Jamie were around too. We were having dinner with a whole group. We spent most of the afternoon playing Killer Bunnies! Eric was a little skeptical at first, but then realized we were blasting fuzzy wittle bunnies to oblivion.
It was a good day. We got a lot of catching up done and shot a lot of bull and had a good time in general. It is a shame they live so far away. Our friends up in PA would get along really great with these guys and I don't even want to think about the chaos that would ensue.
Of course, then there's Chelsea and Michael up in MO. I've really got to get there too. Hopefully while I'm in KC in June that'll happen, if not before.
The reason there is a question mark in the title of this post is that tonight when we get into Philly we're actually going to my parents house to sleep and then to MD on Sunday for New Year's with Michelle. Then on Monday we come home. It will have been 8 days since we've been home. Busy but fun.
Well, Gak's dad has finished making breakfast, so I guess I'd better log and eat. Peace (and good food) to all.
Oh, yeah, look for a few pics on Tuesday. I didn't use my camera a whole lot, but I did get a few that are post-worthy.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Part II

Yesterday was a good day. Gak and I went up to Norman to putz around a bit and go to a few favorite haunts. Unfortunately, the Greek House was closed, so no gyros for lunch. The gaming store and the anime/manga store were both open and we were very good. We did pick up a new card game though, Killer Bunnies! It's a lot of fun. A little complex, but easy enough once you learn. I think we'll have to get the expansion sets as well.
Last night was supposed to be Christmas here at Gak's parents. My brother-in-law and his new girlfriend were supposed to be here for dinner. Well, we're guessing all did not go well on his trip to Washington State with her to her folks. He had stopped by while we were out and said he probably wasn't going to be over for supper. This made Gak's mom pretty upset. Brian was being tired and cranky and not very nice. Well, he stopped by for about a half hour before supper and then said to forget Christmas. Well phooey on him. We had a huge dinner that was very good and did presents afterwards. Our trip out here was our gift to the family. They got us each a handful of little things and were very nice.
Overall it was a good day. I just wish Brian wasn't such a grouch. Oh well.
Well, today we're getting together with another friend Charlotte, so that should be fun. I've got to go and grab a shower before we head out.
Peace to all.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Well, yesterday's dinner went quite well. The Thanksgiving turkey was done about an hour early. Yesterday's was about 45 minutes late. It turned out well though. Everyone had plenty and mom and dad now have plenty of leftovers for the week. It was an enjoyable day.
Today we flew to Oklahoma to visit Gak's family for the week. Overall it was an uneventful trip. I still hate the Philly airport. We ended up getting out of there a little late, due to fog. This means that instead of an hour layover, we had about 20 minutes. Not a big deal since we were going about two gates over. That flight was delayed by about 10 or 15 minutes too.
We should have a good week. It's nice to be back. Well, that's about all I've got to say for today. I hope everyone had a good day yesterday and will have an easy week at work this week (if you're there). Peace to all and enjoy the season.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Merry!!!

Well, today is the day. Christmas is finally here. I'm not sure, but this has been a long time coming really. It has felt like an epic struggle to get 'into' the holidays this year. Maybe it is because of the weather... or maybe my travel schedule. Who knows?
Anyhow, Christmas Eve mass went well last night. My niece did a great job as a little piggy. I couldn't get any pictures, I was fighting the settings on my camera, and was at a bad angle anyhow. Afterwards, we all went back to her house and some other family joined us and we had a good visit.
Today begins Gak and my vacation. Although, looking at it, it will be a heck of a lot of travel in a short time. In a little bit we're heading down to my parents. I'm making dinner and we'll have a relaxing time there. The tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn (or a little earlier actually, since the sun has just started it's return...) we head to the Philly airport to head to Gak's parents. We'll be there until Saturday and then we head home. Well, kinda home. After getting in extremely late Saturday night (Sunday morning) we head down to MD to visit with Michelle for New Year's. Then it's home and back to work. See... lots of travel, not a lot of time.
I'm actually looking forward to the trip to OK. Our friend, Mr. Chaos himself, will be coming down from Kansas for a bit on Friday. It should be fun. I haven't seen him in 7.5 years at this point.
Well, I guess I should wrap this up. I've got to get the rest of the groceries together for supper and get dressed before I head out the door. I hope you are getting to spend at least some time with the ones you love today or at some point this week. Peace to all.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Spirit

I realized yesterday, that despite all my holiday posts, that I really wasn't in the Christmas (or any holiday for that matter) mood. The weather wasn't helping, it has been very warm for December and downright grey at times. Being on the road hasn't helped.
That's changed though, the presents are wrapped, we're going to my parent's tomorrow afternoon and I'm fixing dinner, (I'll explain in a bit...) and tonight we go to see my little bear of a niece in her pageant/nativity at church. The whole family will be there again, and it will be fun.
I did get my brother's and grandmother's gifts out on Thursday. Gram got hers yesterday. About 5:30 I get a call from her and I get "I love it, love it, love it, love it!!!" Apparently she liked the wrap I made her. I wasn't smart enough to take a picture of it before I sent it off. It's about 24" wide and over 5' long. I'd made one like it for myself back in September or October. I asked Mom if she thought Gram would like one and she said yes. I made hers out of a 'fuzzy' buccal or however you spell it, yarn in that goes from a light periwinkle blue to white. The color change is quite gradual, so there are only three repeats of the pattern in the whole wrap. Mine's a more 'functional' yarn in a light denim blue.
As far as dinner tomorrow, somehow I think I got shanghaied. I was planning on going down there and doing something simple, like maybe a brisket and kugle. (Pretty simple meal, put it in the oven and forget about it for a time...) Then we get a surprise gift from Al, who Gak works with. Well, kinda works with. Al is the owner's dad and 'volunteers' to work there Mondays and Fridays. We got a frozen 13 lb turkey. I don't have room for it in the freezer, so I've got to do something with it. Al, it turns out, received about 5 of them for free from his work, so was sharing the love. Well, so now tomorrow we get to go down by lunch and I get to cook a turkey myself for the first time. We'll see how it goes. I'm not doing stuffing. Found a recipe that says to shove an onion, some carrots, a celery stalk, an apple and an orange into the cavity and roast. Sounds like it could be nice and moist and have a bit of flavor. We will see. I'll let ya know how it goes.
Well, I think I'm going to go in game for a bit. I won't get any game time after tomorrow until the new year. I hope whatever holiday you celebrate this year is a good one. Peace to all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

'Tis the Season!

I've changed the picture at the side to look a little more winter than fall. Admittedly, I took this picture in the spring instead of the winter, but ice is still ice. That was a very pretty trip that I took and enjoyed it a lot.

Last night was my niece's holiday concert. It was fun. The kids all enjoyed themselves and did as well as we'd hoped. Aunt Ellen and Uncle Jerry were up again for this event. Like I said, it was a fun evening. Little Bear was soooo excited. She's really enjoying her school, which is very good.

Today is my last work day for 2006. I'm taking the next two days for myself. I may even kick Gak out of the house early tomorrow or Friday so I can get stuff done without him getting in my way (even if he's three rooms away....). I made gingerbread cake this morning for my friends at work and they all seemed to enjoy it. I have to make one for Gak's work tomorrow. I also need to make a batch of oatmeal cookies to include in my grandmother's and brother's Christmas presents. Yes, I know. They won't get there by Christmas, but they know they're coming. I also have to write my New Year's cards out. I don't do Christmas or holiday cards. I do New Year's letters. That way I don't have to worry about getting them out in time and getting lost in the shuffle of everything else Christmas. That and my friends and I are all of such diverse backgrounds, it just doesn't seem right to single out one holiday and I hate the generic 'happy holidays' greeting. I mean, if I'm going to wish someone a happy holiday, I should at least know and state which holiday they're celebrating! Ok, enough rantage. I really didn't mean to turn this into a why this time of year can make me cranky post. I really do enjoy this time of year. It is great to see so many people celebrating for so many reasons.

Well, I think I have a few odds and ends to take care of before I head out for the year. This time next week I'll be in Oklahoma visiting Gak's parents. I'll try and post while I'm away, but no promises. Anyhow, enjoy yourselves and your family (by blood or by heart). Peace to all and may there be love in your hearts and happiness in your lives.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Chaos?

Well, Christmas is still looking a little chaotic. I don't think I mean in a fun, happy holidays kind of way, more of a what in the world is going on kind of way.
Mom still has her cast.
Gram's still sore from the procedure last week.
Neither of them really want to deal with anything, and I respect that.
This means I'm suddenly clueless as to what we're doing.
Tonight is my niece's first holiday concert for school. Well, I guess we can actually call it a Christmas concert since she goes to Catholic school. Christmas Eve she's in the pageant for the early mass. Maybe we'll do that. I know we're going to her concert this evening. We may not make it until close to the end, but that's only because it starts at 6:30 and Gak doesn't close until 6:30. Oh well, it will be fun at any rate. I'm just so very glad I can be this involved in her life.

On the work front, I was able to postpone the service department training until the first week of the year. The manager ran into a brick wall when he tried to tell people to come today. He hadn't scheduled it so people already had their mornings full of work. That and the business manager scheduled an end-of-year meeting for tomorrow morning. I still have to do it, but I don't have to deal with it until after the holidays. The hard part is done, I got all the materials together yesterday.

Well, I should be taking this time to do my other end-of-year stuff. I've still got that stupid review thing to do as well as start planning the revisions to the training materials.
Peace to all and my your lives be filled with the fun chaos of the season and family!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Yea Team!!

We have some good news. I talked to Mom today. She'd left me a message Friday while I was in transit. Gram's procedure went quite well and that everything is clear. What the blockage was wasn't tumor or stone. This means that every three months now she'll have to have the same checkup, but most likely the oncologist won't have to do anything more extensive. She's got that appointment Monday or Tuesday.
Mom's cranky though.
It's her foot.
More precisely, it's the cast on her foot.
Hopefully she'll find out tomorrow afternoon that she won't have to deal with it any longer. She's got an appointment with the bone guy. We will see.
What this means in the short term is that we still have no idea exactly what we're doing for Christmas. I still really want to go down to Maryland, but mom doesn't want to if she's still got the cast. There are many reasons I want to go, the biggest one being I don't get to see Gram as often as I wish I could. Well, we'll see what tomorrow brings.
As far as Gak and I having a tree, it doesn't look like we'll have one this year. Neither of us want to deal with hauling a live (and then a dead) real tree up into our apartment. We finally got around to looking for a fake one today. The only ones that were left at the store were 7.5 foot tall ones that were on sale (50% off even) for $100. Nope, as much as I would love to have a nice big tree, I can't afford that much this year. Oh well, looks like another plain year as far as decorations go. It could be worse I guess.

Hopefully this week won't be too painful. I'm being somewhat fatalistic about Tuesday and Wednesday with my 'training sessions' for the SW support group. I know, when all is said and done, that whatever I do will be wrong in the eyes of my former boss. I know this, just because I know him. That and I'm trying to figure out exactly what I can train these people on. I mean, most of them are the ones who taught me most of what I know for crying out loud! Oh well. I'll survive and then it will be done.
Well, I'm off to play a little before I get around to fixing supper.
Peace to all and may you find a holiday celebration that will make you happy.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Phoenix Pix

I made it home safe and sound last night. Yep, I am home a day early. It's such a good feeling.

Wouldn't ya' know, but the card reader and my home computer work quite happily together. (I haven't tried hooking the camera up directly as I didn't bring the right cord home from the office with me...) I downloaded all my pictures from Phoenix. Actually, only a few were from Phoenix itself, most were from my trip to the 'forest' and the state park. Here are a couple for you to enjoy.

This one is probably my favorite. I took this from "inside" the "children's cave" (it is only a yard or so deep) at the state park. This was the end of the short children's trail with the habitat lessons. See how far away the train is!

This one says it all..... I love the 'classic Forest Service' shape of the sign. It makes me think of old movies and 1950's type family vacation stories.

Ok. So there are a few trees in Tonto National Forest...

...But there are more cacti than trees. And no, I didn't sit on any while I was out there either.
Well, I'm going to take a nap. Today is a lazy day for me. Peace to all and may you all find something interesting that makes you happy.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Travel Trials

Today went really well. We ended up doing all of the EDR stuff today, so we don't have to get together tomorrow. Unfortunately, it's costing me a bundle to change my flight, but I don't really care. I haven't changed that many flights this year and I've already put in a full week. My boss can yell at me later. (He probably won't, but I'd understand if he did....)
I really liked my group this week. They were all good people. I really enjoyed my guy from Alabama and my guy from Ireland.
Today for lunch we went to Alice Cooper's restaurant, which is near the stadiums. It was quite good. I ended up back there for dinner with my Irish friend. I had run out (and around in circles) trying to find a charger for my phone. It decided to start running out of charge while I was on the phone trying to change my flight. As I'm walking back into the hotel, my Irish friend was walking out. He invited me to join him for dinner. I said sure if I could go plug in my phone. It was quite nice. I really do enjoy talking with people from outside this country. It is nice to get a new perspective on things. We talked about all kinds of things. Including our spouses. Yes Gak, I talk about you. Probably I bore most people to tears with how much I talk about you. Mostly we talked about a little bit of everything. Like I said, it was quite enjoyable to have dinner with someone for a change.
Now I'm getting ready to crash so I can wake up in the morning and pack. I'll be home by 10pm tomorrow. That's almost 24 hours early! I can't wait! (I do have work I should probably at least look at over the weekend, since I've got to do training for the service group Tuesday and Wednesday. That's a whole different story and not one I'm looking forward to...)
Well, peace to all and good dreams.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wandering Wednesday

Today I had an off day.
Not as in, a bad, cranky or just not working day, but a day I didn't have to teach.
Monday and Tuesday we managed to get through the content that was supposed to take us through this morning. Therefore, everyone decided to have today off and resume Thursday and into Friday.
This meant I got to get out of Phoenix.
Don't get me wrong, I like Phoenix. It's a city though and I only like being in a city for so long.
I wasn't sure where I was going to go or what I was going to do. There are lots of things to do and see.
I ended up starting my day driving through Tonto National Forest.
Yes, a forest in Arizona.
It's a forest of mostly cacti, and some mesquite scrub.
I didn't really stay there very long. There were signs posted in the parking lots about needing a parking pass. Supposedly you were supposed to know this back in town (8 or more miles away) and pick one up. I did pull over a few places and took some pictures.
After wandering around a bit, I decided I would head towards Tuscon and see what I could find. Someone had suggested I head to Old Tuscon, but I had no idea exactly where this is. I ended up at Picacho State Park. (No, I do not mean a little yellow annoying critter... it's a mountain.) I wandered along one trail for a good 1.5 hours or so. I think I went about a mile or so in and back out. The trail itself actually headed up to the summit and is quite difficult further on. The first two miles or so are pretty easy. I took lots and lots of pictures, playing with my new camera.
Unfortunately, you won't see any right now.
I'm at war with my laptop.
I was having problems getting the computer to recognize the camera.
I bought a card reader to solve this problem.
It all installed quite easily, including the driver.
When I rebooted and tried to use it, I got an error that it couldn't be used because the registry may be corrupt.
Forget it. I'll wait until I get home.
I tell you though, my soul was fed quite well today. I didn't walk far, but I enjoyed every step. Unfortunately, I had to head back to Phoenix. Like I said, it's a nice place, but it is still a city.
What is really funny though is what happened when I walked along the 1/4 mile kids trail. There were about 5 or 6 signs along the trail talking about habitat and what makes one. I found myself thinking about activities I'd do at each station with the kids and the kinds of responses I'd be likely to get. I really truly do miss the nature center. By my response today to the trail, I guess you can say that I am an environmental educator to the core. It's just too bad that I can't seem to figure out how to get it to pay as well (or even half as well...) as my current job. Ah well. my soul will have to be content with these periodic wanderings and orienteering adventures.
Well, I've got a little work do and stuff to get ready for tomorrow.
Peace to all and may your electronics play nice and you find somewhere to enjoy the beauty that is this world.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Phinally Phoenix

Ok. I couldn't resist that headline.
So far this trip is going a lot better than I had feared.
Other than the construction. I'm glad I don't live here, the construction is planned to last two years. What construction you ask? They are putting in a new above ground light rail system. And Central Ave. is just that, the central avenue and so therefore is the most torn up. This created a fun adventure just getting to the hotel. It sits back off the road behind a couple of office buildings and no prominant sign on the road. Oh well. I got to see a lot of downtown Phoenix in the dark.
The setup this morning went extreamly well. I was done in about 45 minutes. I like when that happens. I ended up running a little late to the class myself though. I was waiting for my student from Ireland and finally gave up. It turns out he was already over there. *sigh* Oh well, now I know not to wait for him tomorrow.
The class went well today. It should be a good day tomorrow. I do have one guy in the class who was forced to switch to our software from a company he liked a lot. He's a little cranky and bitter, but I can deal.
Tonight we're going for dinner. It should be interesting. I'll let ya know.
Phoenix really is a nice looking place. Hopefully Wednesday and/or Friday I'll be able to get out and about a bit and see some of the neat places.
Well, I've got to go meet my group for dinner. Peace to all and enjoy where you are!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Early Christmas!!

Last night was a blast celebrating Engineer Boy's birthday. There were 7 of us and we all just relaxed and had a good time.

We got done dinner around 9:30 or so. Best Buy was right next door (almost). Gak asks if we can stop there right quick since they close at 10 and he wanted to look at something. Well, the reason he wanted to stop there was to have me pick out my Christmas present. He decided that he would pay for the rest of the digital camera I wanted (Mom and Dad gave me $50 towards it for my birthday) for Christmas. And he wanted to give it to me early since I'm going to Phoenix next week and he wanted me to have it for the holidays as well.

I was shocked.
Speachless even.
I figured I'd probably get it around the first of the year.

This is probably one of the most meaningful gifts I could have ever received. I'm not really worthy of that much. He really does too much for me some days. I love him so much though, I just can never seem to figure out how to show it.

I ended up choosing the Nikon Coolpix L3. I had been looking at a couple in the 'L' series. This one is near the bottom of the line, but still has way more features than I'll ever really use. What's realy cool is I can shoot directly in B&W, sepia or cyanotype! This really means I can play now! I would have posted a pic that I took this morning, but I can't seem to convince my work laptop to download the pictures. (Yes, I'm following the instructions, but they're not working quite right.....)

Well, peace to all and my your life be filled with many happy surprises!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


First off, I want to say Happy B-day Engineer Boy!!!

One of my favorite engineers had his birthday today. A handful of us are going out to celebrate. He's just a baaaaby though. He's 25. (I think... I may be off a year one way or the other…)

Ok, now that that's out of the way....

We are fast approaching the end of the year. This means that per my company's policy (gah! too many corporate words!!) we have to do our annual electronic review by the end of the month. Well, since I won't be here much of the rest of the month, I figured I'd better at least attempt to get it worked on this week. We have to list our achievements for the year and all that fun stuff. Basically, we've got to write a whole new 'resume' of sorts every year. It sucks. I hate it and the web page really is painful to use, but hey, I want to continue to get paid, so I've got to do what I've got to do.
Well, looking at last year's for inspiration, I decided I needed to know exactly how much time I've spent training this year. Mind you, that includes travel days and days I did training here in my office. Here are the scary numbers:
3 -- Number of months I was on the road less than 50% of the time
82.35 -- Highest percentage of time away in one month. It was November, so it was not as bad as it sounds, since I was commuting from home.
6 -- Number of months I was on the road more than 60% of the time. (I was told this would be a 40-60% travel time job....)
26.09 -- Lowest percentage of time away in one month. This was August. If you remember my blogs from back then, you can tell I was bored stiff. This is why. I don't like being on the road, but I do like to be productive. For me, being productive means teaching, which, unfortunately at times, means being on the road.
56.67 -- Average for the year of time spent away. This is just below that magic 60% I was told two years ago.

I can't compare month-to-month with last year, as Outlook ate most of my data by archiving or deleting my appointments prior to the end of October. (Thank you Microsoft!)

Anyhow, this proves a couple of things I'd been thinking. It shows that I have been working my tail off in general. It also shows that my theory about summers is right and why I was so unhappy with my job in July and August. I admit, I needed that down time in the beginning of July after a hectic June, but 2 months was a bit excessive. You give me that much downtime and I loose what focus I had and can't get moving again when I have to. (Yes, I prove Newton's laws of motion quite well some days....)

Gah. I just re-read those last few paragraphs. Can't you tell I had a scientific schooling? It's not a bad thing, but man does it make me sound geeky!
Well, I've got a few more things to wrap up before I head out to pick up Gak and go celebrate Mr. Engineer's birthday. Peace to all and may you be busy but not swamped. (Also, revel in your geekdom, whatever it may be!)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Quick Update

Last night's dinner was great. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and we had an enjoyable time. I miss seeing all of them. Nick slept through about half of dinner, which was good. It meant Ed could actually attempt to eat (he was the one sitting next to Nick's carrier). Ed and Buffie gave Gak and I about 6 pictures of Nick and family over the past five weeks. He really does look like his sister, and they both look a lot like Ed.

Mom called to give me an update on her foot. When she went to the doctor he said that the stress fracture earlier this year hadn't actually fully healed, which is why her foot broke this time. So, instead of getting a walking cast and being sent on her way, she's got a full plaster cast on her lower leg and isn't allowed to put any weight on it. This makes Mom cranky. I don't blame her. Especially with all the steps into and out of the house and up to the bedrooms. At least the laundry isn't in the basement, that would make life even worse.

Work is going. I'm getting stuff done, but slowly and chaoticly. It'll all get done and it'll all pull together and be what it is in the end.

Well, off to figure out where to take my people for dinner Monday and Thursday. Wish me luck!
Peace to all and please, avoid the gopher holes (real and otherwise)!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday Sauntering

Yesterday's trip was nice, if long. Especially since both Gak and I were a little sleep deprived.
It's OK though. It was great to get down to see my grandmother.
She's doing quite well, actually. She's very glad to be back in her own apartment, even though the OT keeps trying to rearange the furniture to give her more walking space, amongst other things.
We got to her place a little after noon. We got a slightly late start and then stopped for drive-through Starbucks on the way out of town and then for gas about 3/4 of the way down there. This means we were just in time to go to brunch. Of course, it took what seemed like 20 minutes to go from her place to the dinning room. That's because my grandmother knows everyone and I do mean everyone! They were all so very glad to see her up and about and in her own place. Of course, at one point I was the one holding up the progress of lunch. Mr. Fred stopped Gram to say hi and asked what Gak and I do. He found out I train on software. Well, this unleashed about a dozen computer questions, all of which I could actualy answer! (I train on a very specialized peice of SW so asking me too much about word or office or something like that might not get you far...) He's in the process of researching and writing a book. It sounds quite interesting really, the Revolutionary War day by day. He's already doing a lot of stuff on his computer and finds it really handy. Mostly he wanted to know about laptops, so I told him what I could.
Lunch was quite enjoyable with many more people stopping to say hi. Gak and I spent the afternoon doing all kinds of little things. We did laundry (she can't bend down to get stuff out of the washer...), went to the grocery store and turned the apartment from Thanksgiving to Christmas! Going to the grocery store was a bit of an adventure. I confirmed directions with the lady at the front desk. Mind you, I was quite sleep deprived and Gram's overly warm apartment had put me to sleep a bit. I mid-heard directions and turned left instead of right. After driving around in circles for a while, I ended up calling mom for help. Oh well. No big deal.
Bobbie stopped over after the concert that they were having and we got to talk a little. It was great to see her again.
The drive home was actualy uneventful. We even managed to make it almost home before stopping for dinner. Cracker Barrel is a great place to stop. Always good service, good food and plenty of it. I didn't stop at the Cabella's across the way, even though they apeared to be open still. It was getting late and I was getting tired. We swung by my sister's place to pick up a few things and then went home to crash.

I've had a hard time getting to work today. I actually have a list of things I need to get done for this week, including tracking down my books for next week. It will all get done, I just have to kick my butt into gear.

Well, peace to all and may you have a happy, healthy, love filled week.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Weekend Wanderings

I thought this was going to be a nice calm weekend.
Nope, not this weekend.
That's OK, it is mostly for the good in a round about kind of way.

Friday I get a message from my sister asking what we were doing Saturday night. I replied that I had no idea. Well, we get talked into going to Hershey for Christmas at Hershey. We met up with her around 6 at her house. Mom, Uncle Jerry, Aunt Ellen and the kids had left around 3:00 to head out. Well, we make it out there after an enjoyable ride and then meet up with them. They're inside at one of the food places getting warm. And the kids are getting bored. So, we rescue the two girls and head out. We've got about an hour or so at this point until the park closes. We wander around a bit and visit with the reindeer. Then we all pile onto the train ride. They have actual coal-fired boiler steam engines on small scale. It's a fun little ride through lots of lights. It is a little more fun in the summer when the coasters you're going under and through are actually running.
Well, the grandparent type people all head out just as the park closes and take the kids with them. We lingered a little bit to pick up some chocolate, as well as the fact that the car was way out there. We had an enjoyable ride home and then we decide to stop for a bite to eat and a drink. Well, the only place open with both a bar and a full menu is the Sup up in Emaus. Not quite on the way home, but not really out of the way either.
On the ride home from the dinner (we were there about an hour or so) is when the evening took a not-so-fun turn. My sister's almost ex decided to call and track her down. He had stopped by the house right as we were leaving. He said he was heading out again shortly back to his apartment. Well, he never did. And since we weren't home at the same time as mom and his daughter, he had to track us down. All because he thought we might have one of our friends with us that he has since decided he really doesn't like. We did, but he's a friend of Gak and I as well.
Anyhow, we drop our friend off and then my sister off at her place. It's just about 1:30 at this point. I'm exhausted. I could have gone into the house if I wanted too. On any other night I probably would have. I tried to stay impartial and out of things, but when he starts telling me who I can or cannot see, that's way over the line. There were two big reasons I didn't go in. I didn't need to make the situation worse, and I was tired enough that exactly what I thought with no filters would come pouring out. The other reason is that today I'm driving down to my grandmothers.

Mom was supposed to go.
Mom wanted to go.
Mom broke her foot Friday.
She tripped in a hole. Yep, the clutz genes come to the forefront again. She called me yesterday morning to tell me what was up and ask if I could go down to MD today to give Gram a hand. I said no problem in a heartbeat. (I wasn't expecting to be out quite so late last night.....)
Therefore in about a half hour or so, Gak and I are getting back in the car and heading out to my grandmother's place. It'll be a nice drive, but I'm really tired. It's OK, Gram needs me and I love her and would have gone anyhow. I was planning on going out around Thanksgiving, but just didn't make it.

Tomorrow night is also a fun one. My friend Ed messaged me the other night after I sent him one wishing him a happy birthday. He wanted to know if Gak and I wanted to come over Monday for dinner. I said sure in a heartbeat again. We've been trying to get together since September. First my job and then the birth of his son got in the way. Well, a new nephew is never in the way, just makes getting together rough. I'm looking forward to it, it should be a nice evening.

Well peace to all and may your weekends be full of friends and family, but not nasty surprises.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Home Again...

The training went well at my second site this week. This was actually the fourth site for one company. I've enjoyed all four of these sites. They're good, friendly people who have been fun. I'm almost sad to have this company finished.

The drive home on the other hand was a bear. That storm that walloped the mid-west finally made it out here. (I hope Gak's mom and dad have either dug out or dug in for the duration. It's kinda odd that they got snow before we did....)
It was really warm all week. Actually, warmer yesterday and today than Monday. It was also grey. It started getting grey on Tuesday. The rain varied from non-existent to full bore in the space of a couple of hundred yards down the road. And the winds were just as variable. I spent a long 2.5 hours fighting the wind on the way home. That and the winds knocked out power at the major intersection near the house so traffic was all kinds of messed up. I think it took me longer to go the 4 miles from the Turnpike home than any other part of the trip.

Oh well. I'm home now and will be for the rest of the week. Next Sunday I leave for a week in Phoenix. I hope it goes better than I'm thinking it will. That trip isn't giving me warm fuzzies at all.

Well, I'm off to bed. Peace to all and may you have safe journeys wherever you go.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wandering Wednesday

Today I was supposed to have another day at my site in Albany. Well, yesterday when we were wrapping up, I was told that they wouldn't be able to have anyone tomorrow. I said that it was no problem, we'd either bill them for just the two days we did or reschedule the third day for sometime in January.
This meant I had today mostly free. My only real job today was to drive from Albany to the Binghamton area. Mind you, that drive is all of about 2.5 hours.
I got a start sometime around 10 am after everything was said and done. I didn't really push it on my way. I did end up going about 10 miles the wrong direction at one point, but that's OK. You've got to read all of an exit sign to make sure it's the right one. Oops. Nice little drive though.
I got to the area about 12:30 or so. I get off at the exit for my hotel and see a mall and a Friendly's. I decide to eat lunch at the Friendly's.
After lunch I was feeling adventurous and go t the mall to try that epic jeans quest again. Well, the first store was a bust. Again, why do designers think that 'stretch' means 'miracle fabric' and that even though I have a large waist, I have no legs? I'm sorry, but I'm a real woman and that means I have real curves, not just a fat stomach. I swear, there was absolutely no difference in the two sizes I tried.
Well, Gak calls at this point to see how I was doing and where I was. I let him know what was up. He said he was going to not say anything and try and stay out of trouble on that one. I appreciated the thought, but told him it was OK, he was safe as he wasn't a clothing designer.
I then try the second store. One I've had some success at in the past, but then they changed styles on me. Well, I tried again just for grins and giggles. Well, guess what, I found a pair. They don't fit perfectly. I really could have used something somewhere between the size I bought and the next size bigger. The other size fit better through the legs, but there was just something wonky about the rise and the waist was way big. They were even in my price range, which in all honestly isn't much. I refuse to pay a lot of money for something, especially for something that feels cheesy. These jeans even seem to be made out of real denim, not the flimsy 'fashion denim' that most are made of these days. Hey, I'm hard on my stuff, it needs to be able to stand up to the torture.
Checking into the hotel was also a bit of an adventure. I had canceled and changed my reservation for the hotel for the first half of the week shortly after I made it because of the wrong dates. Well, the web site canceled this reservation as well. Huh?? Why was it on my itinerary then? Who knows. Luckily they had a room for me. They weren't sure that the would as they are in the process of repainting the hotel.
Since it is all of about 3:00 at this point, I decide to head over to the plant to drop off the books and say hi to Andy, my contact. I'm literally 5 minutes from the site if I hit all the lights right, 10 if I don't. That was nice to head over there and set up without being stressed.
To cap off my adventures today I went to Wegmans. For those who don't know, Wegmans is a grocery store. I hadn't been in one, even though there's one somewhere near where I live. It's fabulous. There's an entire organic and wholefoods section in the store. It's like taking a 'normal' grocery store and adding a Trader Joe's inside. I wandered around for about an hour. I had popped in there to pick up some drinks for the room and the ride home Friday. I found some neat 'Juiced Teas' by Tazo there. Herbal iced teas with lots of fruit juice. The one I'm drinking now is quite tasty and refreshing.
I am a little dissapointed in myself this week though. I haven't been to the gym yet. I tried yesterday, but they were still closed for the lunch break when I went there and I got distracted today. Oh well, there's always tomorrow!

I did get news about my grandmother this evening from my mom. Today Gram was supposed to have a procedure done to check out the connection between bladder and kidney. Well, it turns out that the doctor put a stent in while she was in surgery, so it can't be done as an in-office procedure. This made her feel much better in a way, because she'd been having pain and thought it was the cancer. Nope, just a stent. She's also moving back into her own apartment over the weekend. This is great news. It means she's strong enough to be on her own. She also went to an acting class today. She thought she was just going to go and sit and listen.... Well, I know she must be feeling much better because of course, she just couldn't sit there once she got there. *laugh* My gram is such a people person and so friendly. I feel much better knowing that she's interacting and being social. This means she is truly feeling a bit better about the world.
So, as of now, we don't know anything new. We're on hold until December 15th, when she's going to have the procedure done in the hospital. She's feeling a lot better and more at ease and alive again.

Peace to all and may your off days turn into adventures of the fun kind!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Story Time

Training today went well, in a semi-chaotic way. It was a very free form kind of class, but I think it went well. There were several good questions and discussions of why things were done and how things affected this plant.
I also finally got to meet one of my long time customers. She's a riot and a trip and a true Northern Jersey native. I like her much more in person that I do dealing with her over the phone.

Anyhow, I think last night I promised you a story. A story of daring ratling adventure with her wonderful troll and other friends.
Well, here it is.

Sunday morning I get up and procrastinate doing anything about leaving. So what do I do, but log in to the computer. Our friend Syn is online and so is Rodentia. The four of us decide that we were going to explore Mistmore Catacombs. As we were gathering, who would happen to log in but our friend Kasias, who is another healer. I'm always game to have another healer along. Sure enough, he was up for the adventure of the morning as well. While waiting for him to show up, our friend Charitee shows up in her wizzy disguise of Omim, the gnome. Cool. now we have a full group of 6, including two big time damage dealers and a troll of a tank.
We finally get out act together and head out to the catacombs. For some reason we can't seem to follow the direction of 'stay close' that morning so kept breaking the sneaking cloak that Rodentia has over us. That's ok, we survived.
We make it to the catacombs and a few people pick up the various quests at the entrance way. We then sneak around a bit and explore the lower level. Rat-man has been here before and says that the zone's not really all that big and we were safe using sneak on the first level, but the guys up top could see through.
Mind you, we were on Vent as well as in the game so it was much easier to have conversations.
We explore a bit, tackle a couple of large groups of mobs (remember that problem with staying close....). Then the Rat-man finds a named critter on tracking, so up the walls we go. We decide that the bad guy commander must go. And go he did. And he had some nice things in his possession. They promptly became ours.
Well, Rodentia decided to log because he wanted to take his lady mouse out to breakfast. (Hey, living in Key West, I would too....) That's when he tells us that the zone's not really that big. We looked at the map and saw that sure enough, it looks like we'd been most places.
We pick up another healer. I call him Phred, but his name is really Phaedrus or something like that. Phred works better. Kas was our climbable wall finder that day. Boy are we glad he found this wall.
After climbing this wall, we found some new areas on the map and kept going up. Eventually we end up in what appears to be the sub-basements of Mistmore Castle. The area is huge!
To make a long story shorter, there was much mayhem (including about a half minute or so where Gak and I lost power completely to the apartment) and much loot to be had. We actually ended up with better loot and much more of it in about 2 hours that morning than we had found as a full raid in about 4 hours the night before.
We had fun, but we ended up in a fight we probably wouldn't win, so I pulled the plug and evacuated us to the front. We decided that this would be a good time to take a break.

I have found that adventuring with a group of friends, both in the game world and especially in real life is lots of fun. There's nothing quite like getting lost, or walking or driving for hours with friends talking and enjoying life and whatever happens. Maybe that's why I love orienteering so much. I haven't done anywhere near as much this year as I have the last two. I blame most of this on my travel schedule. Not directly really, since I'm usually home on a Sunday, but indirectly. Because of how much time I've spent away in recent months, the last thing I want to do on a Sunday is get moving early. I'm usually awake early, but not really in the mood for moving. I'm also so mentally exhausted, that I can't think my way through the courses. I feel really bad about it, since I have several friends I only see on the O-trails. Maybe come spring I'll feel more mentally alive for it. I've been so exhausted that I've stopped doing a lot of things. This seems very strange in some ways since I've been working out more and getting in somewhat better shape. I guess this travel is taking more out of me than I thought.

Ok, I didn't intend for this post to be this long. I guess I'm done rambling for tonight. (I really intended that last paragraph to be my sign off paragraph...)
Peace to all and my you have many happy adventures with many good friends in your life.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

New York Bound

I was going to post yesterday, but I never got around to it.
I meant to post before I left for Albany this afternoon. Again, I forgot.
So I'm writing now from my hotel room in Albany.

Saturday, I was going to tell you about picking up the rental car. No, everything went fine.
Gak dropped me off at about 8:30 to pick up the car. They don't open until 9. My reservation was for noon. Oops.
That's OK, the people there are very nice and they had a car available. If I'd remembered, I could have had them pick me up, but then I would have missed going to the gym and I really needed to get a third time in this week.
This meant that I had about a half hour to stand around outside the rental place.
It was a gorgeous fall day. Yes, all the leaves are off the trees, so it's looking a little brown. But the sky was so blue and clear. The air was crisp but not cold. All I could think about was how many mornings like this I'd woken up on a camping trip. (The rental place is near where I used to turn to go to my GS camp.) I kept picturing how happy I would be with my feet up near a fire, a mug of hot chocolate in my hands. Or making breakfast of French toast over the fire and getting smoke in my face. I loved those trips. Most of the other girls in my troop would complain about how cold it was (it had to be about 50 out) and how miserable they were and why wasn't breakfast ready and all that jazz. As senior patrol leader most of my time in Cadettes and Seniors, I could have easily delegated the cooking to others. Instead, I took the whole morning routine upon myself and my closest friends. (In hindsight, they were kinda like my version of senior staff from West Wing, with less drama usually...) We usually had everything all but ready when the others woke. This meant I got to delegate cleanup. Or at least in theory. I usually ended up helping with this too, or it would never get done. That's OK because on cool, crisp fall days, if you aren't moving, you will get cold.
Those were the thoughts that kept me smiling for about a half hour before I picked up my car.

Today I drove to Albany. Actually, it was this afternoon, since it's only about a 4 hour drive. It was a fairly enjoyable ride. I didn't take the turnpike up, since that would have been west of where I wanted to go. Instead I took 287, aka the New York Throughway. Not a bad drive really, except that it started getting dark around 4:30 and the exits aren't by mile marker. I stopped for dinner on the way at a rest stop (I still owe Scout a chocolate shake...). The Roy Rogers was out of chicken, so I went over to the Nathan's Famous. Famous for what, I'm not sure. The chicken sandwich I had was OK, but the bun was really dry. The fries were either cold and grease soaked, or half done and grease soaked. And they gave me a diet coke. Now, I can see why people drink the stuff. Me, I can't get past the chemical taste. All diet soda tastes this way, trust me, I've tried. I guess you could get used to it, but I prefer to ration the real stuff.

Anyhow, I've got a 7:30 am start time and need to get there a little early tomorrow.
Peace to all and may your travels be easy.

Oh, yeah, and this morning, I had a really great adventure with Rodentia, Syn, Charitee, Gak and Kas in Mistmore Catacombs. Oh yeah, Phae (Phred) joined us after a bit too. I'll try and write it up tomorrow, but I've rambled on long enough for one post.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Last night after Gak got off work we drove down to my parents house. We got there just in time. My brother was about 5 or 10 minutes behind us on a shuttle to the hotel near my parents place. A good dinner was had by all.
It was great to see my brother again. I've missed him a lot. We don't write or call as often as we should, but we really do miss each other. He decided to come home for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas this year because his 10-year High School reunion is tomorrow and partially because Gak and I are leaving for Gak's parents the day after Christmas.

Today was a good day. A semi-lazy morning. Still early by many people's standards, but lazy for this family. Mom and I then decided that we were going to make the apple pie for lunch, instead of dinner. See, today is my birthday and apple pie is traditionally my birthday cake. (Just don't put candles in a pie that hasn't been out of the oven long.... trust me on this one!) Therefore we had birthday for lunch and Thanksgiving for dinner. I even got to talk to Gram on the phone at lunch and she sang to me. I wish she'd been up here in person, but at least I still have her!
Other than a bit of cooking, a little TV and Gak taking a nap or two, today was uneventful. The turkey decided to be done an hour earlier than planned, but that's OK, mom's been doing this long enough that it's not hard to adjust. (At least we weren't waiting on the turkey when everything else was ready to go.)

I have lots of things to be thankful for. That I have a wonderful family, and that Gram has gone through surgery OK. Things are fairly hopeful as far as the bladder cancer in the kidney goes. It could go one of two ways, either everything is fine because there's no problem with the tube between the kidney and bladder, or they'll have to operate to remove the kidney. There are some tests she's got to have done first before anything else.
I'm also thankful that I have a lot of friends, who I pretty much consider family. Some of them have been having a bit of a rough year, but I'm just glad I can be there for them. My sister has had a rough couple of years, but hopefully things will be moving forward and getting calmer, if not easier.
There are so many things to be thankful for, but my friends and my family top the list. I love them all.
Peace to all and remember to be thankful every day, especially for the little every day things that make life so much happier.

Monday, November 20, 2006

This is vacation?

Ok. I'm supposed to be on vacation. Why in the world am I worrying about work and feeling like there are 7 million things for me to do.
Oh, wait... there are....
But I can't do any of them.
The (fill in the blank as you wish) person at the training center in Phoenix never did get me that quote, even though when I finally talked to him on Thursday, he said he'd get right on it. (6 months after we first asked....) He said I had the room reserved, so I plan on holding him to it. No quote, no payment though. I need to get out email confirmations and info to everyone. But I left all that info at work.
I want to scream.
This is why I needed Deb and Andrea in the KC office helping me.
Corporate felt otherwise and eliminated their positions. So therefore, not just myself, but anyone doing a seminar is up a creek without a paddle, or a prayer.
I've been out of the office almost every day the last 4 or 5 weeks.
I don't have the time or, in reality, the resources, to do this. (Ok, so I also get overwhelmed easily by projects like this and can't seem to figure out where to start....) I don't have some of the needed skills for this. I also don't have the attention span. I mean, I'm never in the office long enough to pay enough attention to the project to even get it started, let alone set up!

I'm supposed to be on vacation and relaxing.
I'm not supposed to be working at all.
I did get some fun in. I spent more time online with friends, but I'm probably not going to log in much tomorrow. I need a break from it. I need to just do something non computer. But, with everything not going on at work, I'll probably end up at least checking the email if not trying to get ahold of my boss again. Oh, wait, no I won't... he's on vacation the rest of the week and out of town. Never mind. Guess I'll just have lots of unhappy people, including myself.

Ok. enough rantage and raving. I did come across something extremely funny (from my point of view) last night.
Meera, my level 35 ranger, was exploring the new Gnomish homelands, Steamfont. The gnomes are tinkerers. But, the also have the department of Gnomeland Security.
Wait, it gets better.
I find one of the guys and he sends me on a quest. This is the first quest he sent me on. Apparently the local bad guys were capturing local animals and training them to hurt people. I was asked to remove said animals (who were innocent bystanders) because by taking them out would hurt the bad guys.
Yes, you can read as much political commentary into this quest as you like. The actual wording was much funnier, but I can't remember it. I think I giggled about SOE and their sideways comments for a good 5 minutes.
The next quest involved taking out a bunch of the baddies and 'capturing' some of the brew from the two different camps. Yes, read what you will into this, I know I did.

Well, I'm just rambling now and still a bit grumpy about work (and a new in-game thing that is really pointless and could have been so much better). And the sooner I stop writing about it, the sooner I can focus on something happy... like my bed and sleep.
Peace to all and when you take a vacation or come home from work, please, leave work at work. It's so much better for both you and your family!! (Yes, it's hard, but please try......)

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I've been on vacation since Friday afternoon. It hasn't really felt like vacation until now, when I'm about to head to bed and I realize that, despite the fact that I'll be awake by 7am, I don't have to be... For an entire week!

Yesterday was a normal Saturday, if one could call any day normal. I did my normal daytime things, except laundry. I talked with mom several times in brief snippet conversations. I picked Gak up from work and made dinner. Yep, normal.

Then we went online. We grouped up with four of our friends and took our 'big kids' out for a spin. This meant I got to play as Addey, which I love. After a bit of chaos in the beginning, it turns into a good and fun evening.

Note to self, don't go into Mistmore Manor alone, or even with a group of six. The vampires who live there really don't like visitors. I suggest taking a whole slew of people, probably 12 or more. Yes, definitely a lot of people with really good equipment and skills. We gave it our best though. Poor Kas, he really did want to tank it the silly Templar healer.

After our Mistmore misadventures we end up in the town in Loping Plains and just pick up about a half dozen quests. We then proceed to mow our way through them. We also end up getting me a really kick-butt pair of gloves. They're part of a set and I can't wait to get more pieces! We stayed on later than usual and you could tell. We were using Vent, which always adds more fun, and we were getting downright punchy. At least Charitee and I were. Kas was a blast to have around as usual. Too bad Syn had to log early to do his second job as potato peeler (for his wife).

Today was a lazy day. I didn't even bother to really get dressed, jammies are so much more comfie. We spent a lot of time online with friends. This morning, (or was it noon-time by then?) we did a pair of instanced zones. Treats came away with a great pair of bracers that were part of a set. Again, lots of fun was had by all.

My plans for the week? Not many. Mom's going down to MD to take Gram to the Dr. on Tuesday. I thought about going with her, but we decided that it probably wasn't the best idea. I'm going to go down at some point, but not this week. I'll make time in the next few weeks. I think we might be going to her place for Christmas day anyhow. I really want to make it down before then though. The only thing I really know that I'm doing is laundry tomorrow morning.

Ok, well, I'm tired. Peace to all and spend some time with friends and family. It's so much better then being alone.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Welcome to Faydwer!

Welcome to Butcherblock Mountains. This is the view I had as I took the boat from Thundering Steppes to the new lands.
It is so beautiful over there.
I didn't get a whole lot of time to explore, since it took about 5 hours for the thing to update. It's very pretty and they've made some substantial changes.
This morning I'm going to try and create my Fae, while most people are asleep.

In other news, the training continues to go well, only one more day this week. Lots of last minute chaos for my December trip to Phoenix, but hopefully I'll be able to reign some of that in today in the office.
Well, peace to all and find something to explore!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Weekend Fun

This was a very good weekend. A much needed break after last week.

Michelle came up Friday afternoon.

Friday night we went out for dinner and Gak did something evil.

He showed Michelle the new Fae that are being added to EQII. Michelle does not play computer games, unless you count solitaire. Michelle does not play well with computers in general. Needless to say this created much amusement for all involved. I just wish I'd been on the beta server myself. As is, I created a newbie on my normal server and putzed around.

She chose a Conj, because of the classes she liked, they had the outfit she liked best. (I heard that shudder from all you game type people who stop by here!) I couldn't see what she was doing because Gak's and my computer face away from each other, but I could hear. It was interesting and fun.

Saturday we tried to go jeans shopping for me. This is a x4 Epic quest most days. This weekend I think it was an x6 Epic quest. We managed to find a lot of things to laugh at. (And why, why, must designers etc. think that stretch means we can make it too small but it'll be ok???) We also managed to find me a pair of khakis to replace my 8-year-old pair that look it.

We then went to JoAnn's. More as a consolation than a reward like we hoped. She talked me into buying fabric and tools to make a quilt like she makes for the babies in her family and her friends' babies. Mind you, it didn't take much talking, more of "wouldn't this fabric make a cute quilt?" kind of persuasion.

Well, Saturday night we cut out the squares and sewed them together. Meanwhile, I did something evil. I (well, Gak too...) got Michelle hooked on Full Metal Panic!. It is one of my favorite anime series. Just enough chaos, some mech fighting and a tremendous story line. Sunday we continued the Panic marathon and finished the quilt. This meant a ton of snipping and cutting. The beauty of this quilt is that it doesn't need batting and you want the edges to frey.

I washed it today when I did laundry while I was "working" from home. (I actually did get stuff done, but it was sporadic and around chores.) The picture above is it. Sam has claimed it I think. We'll see. It's nominally my niece's for when she's over for a visit. It's red and lady bugs on one side and red and funny bugs on leaves on the other. I love it. It was fun and easy and a great weekend project.

Tomorrow and Friday I teach, and will be in the office the other days. Next week I'm on vacation!!!!! (And my brother is coming home for Turkey day, which is also my b-day.)

Peace to all and find something to do that you enjoy. It makes life so much more fun.

p.s. The viewing/funeral for Pat was on Sunday. I didn't go because Mom didn't call me until Sunday morning. I told her to give everyone hugs for me. I'm both glad and sad I didn't go.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Loong Week

This has been one emotionally draining week.

Training and being excited and interactive with a bunch of strangers is hard enough on me some weeks. (It worked OK Tuesday and Wednesday because I knew Larry already...) I only taught 3 days this week, but that really does take a lot of energy out of you.

Gram had surgery and the news, while not horrible, wasn't really all that great. Her temperature has stabilized and should be going home tomorrow. (She'd rather stay in the hospital really, better care in some ways.) The anesthesia has messed up her memory a bit, but not permanently. She's not quite up to par enough to stay in her own apartment, so she'll be in the assisted part. Missing her own TV and her own recliner. It'll be OK though, because it'll mean she's on the mend.

Worrying wears you out, and I've done plenty of that this week. Mom's exhausted too.

I got a call today at lunch from my mom. She was expecting to get my voicemail. Remember how I said we went to a 'family' get together last month in Maryland. Well, Pat, the mom of Dave, Jim, Linda and Robin, passed away last night. She was younger than my Gram. But she was in much worse shape. She'd had several mini-strokes starting over 10 years ago now. She wasn't looking all that good last month at the gathering, but it was good to see her. She'd been in the hospital (I didn't know) and they thought she had gaul stones or the like. Well, last night she went into surgery. When they opened her up, the closed her right back up. She was full of gangrene. She passed within the hour.

I'm thinking it was for the best. She'd been in poor health for quite some time. She'd been in a lot of pain. Now she's not. The sad part is, we'll probably loose her husband, Strad, soon too. He's in poor physical health, but he's still mostly there mentally. I'm not sure this blow to his spirit won't be fatal. They'd be together again at any rate.

OK, enough on this. My brain is going to melt.

This weekend should be good though. Michelle is coming up. I'm done with teaching for the week. It's also gorgeous outside (we have the windows open).

Somehow the picture of Jorge staring out the window seemed appropriate today. (I have others that would work, but they're not on this computer yet...)
Peace to all, and like I've said all week, hug those you love and call the ones you don't see everyday.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quick Update

Ok, I told you that my Gram had surgery earlier in the week. Well, she's still in the hospital and probably will be for another day or two. The surgery went well, but took more out of her then she thought it would. (She is almost 84 after all...) That and she's got slight pneumonia due to the fact that she almost always has some congestion and it hurts to cough right now.

What she had surgery for was to remove this odd lump on one of her kidneys that had doctors confused. They got about 90% of it and did more tests on it, since the original biopsy was 'inconclusive'.

Well, it turns out it's malignant and it's bladder cancer. On her kidney. I'm not sure exactly how that happened, but she'd had a few spots of bladder cancer years ago that were taken care of. I guess one of the cells got loose or something or backed up into the kidney and took root.

Anyhow, what this means is that she's got to go see an oncologist for a second opinion (she's been referred to one that everyone where she lives seems to really like and trust...) and she'll possibly have to have more surgery to remove the whole kidney at some point.

My mom is driving home this morning from MD because she's got a ton of work backpiled at her and dad's shop. She's hoping to head down again some time next week.

All I know is that I really wish I could at least stop by the hospital and give her a hug. I love her so much and times like this make me miss her even more.

I know it'll all work out ok, she is pretty healthy over all and a very strong person, but it's this in-between time that's got me worried and anxious. I'm going to take one of my vacation days the week of Thanksgiving and drive down to see her... maybe my brother will come along....
The picture is from when she said grace at our wedding last year.
Peace to all and, please, hug those you love and call those who are too far away to hug in person.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rain, Rain....

Not much today. It's a rainy Tuesday... er... make that Wednesday.

Yes, I have absolutely no sense of time.

I used to, but I think I left it on a plane somewhere.


Anyhow, managed to vote yesterday. My county switched to an electronic voting machine. Pretty nice, since it lights up the choice you made so you can't make a mistake (unless you happen to be red/green color blind and can't see a red light on a white background. hmmm....). And they have paper trails too.

Not sure how I feel about the elections. I'm glad we get to keep Ed as governor. He did a great job with Philly (one of the most corrupt local governments there is) and came out clean and has real, achievable goals for the state. I'm still not sure I made the right choice for Senate, but I just couldn't bring myself to vote for the other guy. *Sigh* They're still trying to figure out who won the House election in my distract, there is about 1500 votes difference between the two. I'm pretty sure I made the right choice here.

Oh well, enough wondering. I just hope something gets moving with the politicians. Shake things up. It seems like everything has been stagnant for years.

Enough politics. I don't really like them and only pay enough attention to figure out if the person who's there is the one we should keep.

Training goes well this week. I wrapped up early for the three-day session. We pushed through and got everything covered in two. This is due to several reasons, including the fact that I only had 5 people and the knowledge level was already somewhat high. Also, they let me know upfront what was and was not important to their job so that's what we hit the hardest. The rest was just icing really. This means I'm going to work from home and run errands tomorrow. Should be good.

Ok, I'm just rambling to let everyone know that I am paying attention to the world and I haven't disappeared. Good news is that my friend Michelle in MD is coming up for the weekend. Even better news is that my Gram is recovering nicely from surgery. They still have no idea what the lump they removed from her kidney was, but there was a stone in the middle. They're running still more tests on the removed tissue and Gram will go home in the next day or so (if she hasn't already, I haven't heard from Mom today...).

Well, peace to all and enjoy a nice cup of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. They make cold grey days sooo much nicer. Especially if shared with someone you love.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Caps to the Capitol

Just a quickie this morning. As some of you know, I sometimes crochet blankets for Project Linus I enjoy it because it is for kids in need and also because it's a national organization but the blankets stay local.
Well, I'm on a new charity project for the moment. My friend at work who also crochets told me about a project called Caps to the Capitol and sent me the link in today's headline. I did some investigation and Save the Children is a long-time, well managed group that helps kids both here at home as well as around the world. Knowing that, I've thrown myself into the project. They are asking knitters and crocheters across the country to make little caps and send them in. They will be compiled along with letters and delivered to the President in January. Their goal is to ask him to do more for the babies of the world. It amazed me the number of little ones that don't live just because they spend too much precious energy keeping warm to live.
Anyhow, check out the link to check out the info or if you feel the need to contribute. The caps pictured here I made in less than 2 hours between Thursday and Friday. I plan on making a handful more before shipping them out. (It's also a great, heart happy way to use up some odds and ends.)
Well, that's enough from me. As you know, I don't 'soap box' often, but occasionally feel the need. Peace to all and hug a child, they're all precious, no matter where they're born.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Yarn and Hockey?

Yesterday was an interesting day.
I finally made it down to Skippack to the yarn store I found online a few weeks ago. Actually, make that over a month ago now. (Man, time really flies when you're on the road!)
I spent a good chunk of time just touching and feeling all these wonderful yarns. I mean, what you can get at the big-box craft/sewing places is nice, but well... boring. Or maybe ordinary is a better word. At any rate, a real yarn store has so much more than 50-million choices of almost the same color in almost the same material. I ended up only buying 3 skeins. The deep turquoise is for a project for someone special (who reads this site on a regular basis). I'm not sure exactly what I'm making, but it's a wool/silk blend and is light as a feather. The variegated is from South West Trading Company. It's a fiber they call soy silk. It's recycled soy fibers that are left over from the process to make tofu. Yep, this is the non-edible part of tofu. (Yes, I know some of you out there doubt that the part they sell in grocery stores is edible either....) I have no idea what I'm doing with it but it's very pretty and very soft. I want to make something for me, but I need to find just the right pattern.
After I went to the yarn store I visited with my friend Barb at a craft fair. She was doing her tastefully simple thing. This meant I spent more money. Oh well. She's also doing fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy. Her oldest son, Bren, is living with this, so it's something near and dear to my heart. Remember that bear I made, it was for her younger son's first birthday. We had a nice visit but then I realized I still needed to run to the store before picking up Gak from work. Eeep!
Last night was fun. I'd gotten a call from Kat Friday to tell me that she might have hockey tickets for last night's game. In a box. Cool. She messaged me and said she'd pick me up around 6. Yeah.
We were running late, which is ever the case with us. We missed the first period of the game, but that's OK because the Flyers botched it pretty badly. The third period went well, but not well enough to pull off a win. We had a good time (and I left my brother a message letting him know that I wasn't watching the game on TV but from a box) and better yet, a good time to just hang out and talk. We both agree we don't get to do that enough. We used to have Thursday evenings together. We did this for a couple of years after Zoe was born. Now, with my travel job, we're lucky if we get a few hours every few months. It really sucks. Hopefully we'll be able to change that soon.
Well, I'm off to do other things. One last note though, Monday (tomorrow) my Gram goes into surgery. It's nothing really major, but it's a big enough deal that we worry. Mom is down there to shuttle her around and be support. I wish I could be.
Peace to all. Call your grandparents and your parents, they love you and need to hear from you too.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Not MIA... just nothing exciting...

Since Monday, nothing really exciting has happened.
I'm enjoying not having to travel and actually be able to be home and spend time with my honey Gak.
Wednesday was a raid night, if you want to call it that.
It was probably the worst raid we've had in ages. We had a ton of fighter types and almost nothing else. We were going after the twin dragons. You have to keep them within 5% of each other.
Our Vent server is down.
We don't have TS any more.
No voice communication.
Needless to say it was a disaster. No communication and no damage control. I think we wiped in under 2 minutes. Mind you, that was after standing around with our thumbs up our butt for about an hour 'waiting'. Waiting for what, I'm not too sure.
So, I guess that was something interesting, if only because it was frustrating.
Oh well, I'm off to work now.
Peace to all and my your frustrations be few.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's coming up Daisies!

Subtitle: My niece joins a long line of Girl Scouts!
Yesterday I get a text message from my sister: Invocation @ school @ 7pm. Come. Dinner after.
I was visiting with my Engineer Friend (the one who went on a cruise instead of Mexico). When I read this message, I get a big goofy grin on my face and he asks what's up.
So I tell him. My niece is in Daisies now and that the Invocation (read Dedication or the like) ceremony was going to be that night. I then have to explain how her mother and I met.
Both of us have been involved in Girl Scouts since the first grade. Both of us have been very involved in council sponsored trips and the like.
In our freshman year of high school, Kat took a trip to Mexico through council to Our Cabana. One of my friends from my troop also went. Apparently the entire trip, all she could do was talk to Kat about me. When she got back from Mexico, all my friend could do was tell me about this cool girl named Kat.
As it turns out, we were both going to a council sponsored trip to Space Academy down in Huntsville, AL. There were some pre-trip meetings, but neither of us ever made the same ones. (We lived at opposite ends of the council at that time.)
Well, the day of the trip finally came. I was soooo excited. I'd tried to go the year before, but one of my troop mates got to go, but I didn't. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't! We get to the Philadelphia airport. I see this redhead standing with some old people (her parents are older than average....). I go up and say "Hi, you must be Kat." She responds with "So, you must be Addey." And a true friendship was born.
We were inseparable from that point forward.
We were in trouble 10 minutes later. (We knew which gate we were leaving from so we went there...)
There were 15 girls on that trip and there were 6 girls to a room. I remember hoping like crazy we'd be in the same room. We were. There are so many memories from that trip.
Last night my niece became a Daisy, which is the youngest level of Girl Scouts. The picture above is a blurry picture of her Daisy Pin, which all newly invested Daisies get. (For those of you familiar with Girl Scouts, it's a rounded trefoil with a daisy in the middle.) It was a cute, if noisy ceremony. The Brownies and Juniors were also having ceremonies last night. Normally each troop does it's own thing, but with families having girls in more than one troop, it made sense to group everyone together.
I am so glad to see how excited she was. I am glad to see another generation of girls find out exactly how much the Girl Scouts can do for you. I wouldn't have had half the opportunities, or gone to half the places I did in school if I hadn't been in Scouts. I was a nobody in school, but a very important somebody to my Scout troops.
I'm off to get ready for training. I'm local the next several weeks, so this will be very nice. Peace to all and remember to be a sister (or a brother) to everyone.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It's a BOY!!!

No, Gak and I didn't have a baby without telling anyone.

I am remiss in announcing the birth of the son of friends of mine. Remember back in September that post with the baby blanket? Well, the owner is here now. Buffie and Ed went to the hospital Wednesday night. Nikolai Eduard was born on Thursday. Everyone is doing well and I'm sure Katie is glad to be a big sister finally. (I think she told me at least twice every time I've seen her the last several months that her mommy was having a baby.)

These pictures were taken at Gak's and my wedding last summer.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Home Again!!!

I'm HOME!!!
I'm going to be home for at least the next 3 or 4 weeks. I've got a training job with a local set of sites, so I'll be driving up to Allentown instead of down to Hatfield for the next three weeks. Then it's Thanksgiving already.
I am very, very glad to be home for the next several weeks.
Yesterday's flight home was much less interesting than Monday's. The only interesting part was the fact that I was on standby for my last leg since I was coming home a day early. That and Atlanta was backed up as always. It seems that their regional carriers are always backed up for some reason. This time some of it was weather related. I was only about 15 or 20 minutes later than scheduled.
I enjoyed my trip to Alabama. I just wish it hadn't been so grey most of the week. It would have been nice to have a sunny day or two.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thoughts and Musings

I probably should break this down into about 3 separate posts. But I'm not going to.

Yesterday's travels went quite smoothly. They were interesting none the less.

It is rare that I'm on a flight through one of the major hubs where I don't see at least one serviceman or woman. Therefore, I wasn't all that surprised to see a soldier on my flight from Atlanta to Birmingham. It was a little odd I thought that he was in dress army greens. Usually most of the guys I see are in 'normal' fatigues. About halfway through our 45 minute flight the pilot got on the speaker and told us we had a special passenger on board today. The young man (I can say this because he was probably no more than 20) was escorting the body of a fallen hero home for the last time. We were asked if we would allow him to deplane first to receive the body of his fellow soldier. A man from first class came back and switched seats with him (the soldier was in about row 10 or so) so that he'd be closer to the door. When we landed, we were again asked to let this young man off first. I saw him get up once we got to the gate. Everyone, except for about 3 people in first class sat stock still until well after the soldier deplaned. There were a few people in the back who briefly heckled the standing people to sit down and show some respect. We were told that the fallen hero would be deplaned on the right side and we could watch. I was seated on the left side and couldn't see much other than the wing. I waited respectfully for a few moments and then deplaned.

I was impressed at how respectful everyone was. You could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. Normally people can't wait to push their way off the plane, especially when 30 or 45 minutes late like we were. Nope, not a muscle moved.

All I could think about was my friend Steve. He's over there now. I want him home in one piece. I know why he's doing what he is, but that doesn't mean I quite understand why he has to. This is his third tour in harm's way since fighting began in Afghanistan or Iraq. I hope all our people come home safe. I also kept thinking to myself 'I was half wondering when I'd be on a flight like this..." It was a very sober flight. Definitely food for thought.

Today's training went well. David, my contact, had originally planned for about 10 people to show up. He'd also scheduled 3 days, an Operator level, an Administrator level and a reporting course. Unfortunately, I didn't check out to see if the reporting course was actually going to be appropriate for him. My reporting course is for the EPA level reports, not the state level. Since this is a lime kiln that I'm working with, they don't fall under the newest, EPA administrated regulations, but the older state enforced regulations. Also, he couldn't schedule any operators, so it was himself and 5 other administrator/reporter/I&C tech type people. Therefore, we managed to go through both the operator and the administrator course today. I'm not sure what I'm doing tomorrow. I may be able to escape early and come home Thursday instead of Friday. I'll enjoy that.

The weather here is nice. Unfortunately, I didn't bring Gak's camera and I haven't found anything to take pictures of anyhow. Although it was kinda surreal at the plant. It was the opposite of a coal plant where everything is dingy and grey. Here, everything is whitewashed and chalky from all the lime powder in the air.

Well, that's about all I have to say tonight. Please, no matter what you think of what's going on in the world, keep the men and women who are fighting on their country's behalf in your thoughts and prayers. They need all the love and support they can get. Hug someone here, they deserve it too. Peace to all and *hugs* from the traveling Ratling.

p.s. I can't take credit for today's picture. A friend from a plant out in Colorado took this a few years back on a camping trip. Thanks Joe!