Is it too late to protest the results of a middle school spelling bee that took place in...1985? The statute of limitations on protests has to be at least 25 years, right?
I was in 8th grade. We were down to 5 people left in the competition out of...60 or so (three representatives of each of the diocesan schools within the city limits). It was my turn. The word I was given was "backfisch".
Now had our coach, Sister I-forget-her-name-because-I-have-blocked-her-from-my-mind had used the booklet we were given for our prep sessions, I probably would have gotten the word. But no, she used the classroom dictionary. Middle school classroom dictionaries aren't known for being comprehensive.
Anyway, I left out the "c" and got the word wrong. I got really curious about the word, and I looked it up in the unabridged dictionary in the school library. It wasn't there. Then I looked it up in two different unabridged dictionaries in the local branch of the public library. Wasn't there. When I was in high school and allowed to go to Oakland to the big Carnegie Library, I looked it up in every unabridged dictionary I could find in the reference section. The librarian must have thought I was nuts. I never did find it.
So I got it in my head to look it up on the internet today, because hey, what is the internet for but looking up obscure spelling bee words from 23 years ago while avoiding doing actual work for a proposal that is due in 3 days? And do you know what I discovered? The word is 1920's era German slang that never actually caught on in English. In fact, the only example of English usage I can find is from Nabokov's Lolita.
So I think I have grounds for a protest. Of course, the newspaper that sponsored the spelling bee no longer exists. And the nun who judged it is dead. And my school doesn't exist anymore, either. But those are mere details.
What do you think internet? Should I start an online campaign to have the city Catholic schools round of the Pittsburgh Press Spelling Bee from 1985 replayed? I bet I could kick those scrawny geeks butts now.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Is it too late to protest the results of a middle school spelling bee that took place in...1985? The statute of limitations on protests has to be at least 25 years, right?
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I've been on with Dell's tech support people for the past half hour. I know the problem is with my power adaptor. There is a short in the cord or something. The only reason I called tech support is because I was pretty sure I was still under warranty. I know it is the adaptor, because when I unplug the part that goes from the outlet to the little box thingy and plug it back in it resets, but it doesn't when I do the same from the part that goes from the computer to the box thingy. This guy has had me do everything on earth with my computer. He even tried to take it over remotely so that he could look something up that I could do just as easily (my firewall didn't like that idea one little bit). All this for him to say that they would send me a new adaptor.
The problem with tech support people is that they assume that everyone who calls knows absolutely nothing about computers, even when the person doing the calling makes it clear that they know what they are talking about. I don't need to be handheld through everything. Tell me that you want me to go to the classic view of the control panel, and I can get there. I'm smart like that.
Now the guy, who is obviously new and working on his English, is asking me all kinds of questions about what I am doing in the new year, how this past year was, what the weather is like, etc. I understand that they want to humanize their representatives, but boy, that is annoying. The conversation is very stilted.
On the other hand, I can tell from his accent that he is from the same part of India as one of my co-workers. If I didn't know any better I'd think co-worker was moonlighting. Boy, that commute would be killer.
I will have to save my reflections post for tomorrow. I wasn't expecting to have to be on the phone with tech support for...45 minutes now.
Posted by Sheryl at 10:16 PM
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I was going to write something, but by the time this window opened, I forgot what it was. Sigh. I'm getting old.
Tomorrow, I'll share with you some end of the year reflections.
Quantum Leap was indeed one of the best TV shows ever in the history of television. I just started season 3. The premier of that season is so incredibly moving. I loved that show when I was a kid, and I love it still. Consider adding it to your Netflix cues if you either don't remember it or didn't watch it back then. It is intelligent, moving, fun, and thought provoking.
Posted by Sheryl at 10:06 PM
Friday, December 28, 2007
These reptiles, famous for their hard outer shells, spent their days roaming for food and relaxing in the water. As a turtle you are not very speedy, nor are you soft and cuddly. You tend to hide in your shell and you aren't much of a sprinter, however you are as cute as you are fascinating.
You were almost a: Lamb or a Frog
You are least like a: Squirrel or a DuckCute Animal Quiz!
Posted by Sheryl at 11:23 AM
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Just a little more on the "lovingkindness" thing.
LP mentioned in a comment that he had always seen that particular Hebrew word translated as "steadfast love". I find that really interesting, because those two things (lovingkindness and steadfast love) seem to express somewhat different ideas.
This is why I really love Scripture. There are so many levels when you really study it. And when you think about how many different versions of the Bible exist, both in common usage and outdated ones, it's truly amazing. I love to see how the commonly used modern versions (NAB, NIV, NRSV, and even NKJV) both parallel and differ from each other.
I get that feeling every weekend at church. I've spent most of my life hearing the Sunday readings from the Catholic lectionary, which uses the NAB version of the Bible. Now, the lectionary readings are from the NRSV (which is actually the version my Sacred Scriptures prof. used in college). Now, after 30 some years of both hearing and proclaiming the same readings on a three year cycle, I pretty much had them all close to memorized. But now, hearing the same readings from the NRSV, it's like its a revelation. Those subtle differences in language can add layers of meaning.
If I had unlimited money and unlimited time, I would so go back to school to study Scripture. I have nine credits in it already, and I loved every minute of those three classes. I wish there was a graduate-level mainline seminary around here. Even if I couldn't afford to actually take classes, I would see about auditing for my own knowledge.
That's the one thing I really wish my congregation did more of - either Bible study, or a book study, or something like that. We have one Bible study a week, and it's at 11 a.m. on Wednesday and is comprised of people old enough to be my great-grandparents. I would love to do something with other adults (some of whom aren't retirees), but apparently it is really hard to get people to do anything in our church in the evenings during the week. We are small, and so many people consider themselves a part of the LSU community first, and anything else comes after that.
Posted by Sheryl at 8:59 PM
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Just thought the blogsphere would like to know.
Sometimes I hate my job.
But mostly I love it.
Just not so much when I'm stuck in the office alone at 10:19 p.m., with no end in sight.
I hate the fact that I lost my help completely, even though his propsoal isn't due for a couple weeks, and the boss told him to help me.
I do like the overtime, though. It's paid at straight time, but still...
Back to the grind.
Posted by Sheryl at 10:18 PM
OK. The Advocate isn't the only paper capable of making me cry this week.
Posted by Sheryl at 4:36 PM
I had a document get all corrupted on me while I was working on it. This is a document that has to be completed and driven 50 miles away by 11 a.m. I had to recreate the whole thing, and I'm less than halfway done. Plus, I have a whole 'nother document that goes with it that I haven't even touched. Nor have I done resumes.
Plus, I have to oversee all the other proposal stuff that's going on because boss and number 1 proposal coordinator are both out all week.
They are never allowed to take vacation at the same time again (I almost wrote "together" but then I realized that implied something that I totally didn't mean to imply. Though they are in the same state. But it's Texas, and that doesn't mean much. Plus, number 1 proposal coordinator is female, and Boss is a gay man). I do not like being in charge.
So why am I here instead? I needed a mental break.
OK. Back to work.
Posted by Sheryl at 3:23 PM
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I did some research (because I am avoiding work) and discovered that "lovingkindness" is apparently one translation of a word found 30-some times in the Old Testament. It is the word translated as "love" in the NAB version of Psalm 136.
Interesting. I knew it couldn't be a typo, but I didn't know it was a real thing, either.
Posted by Sheryl at 9:43 PM
Made a couple small changes to my template. Sorry the sidebar looks weird. Still trying to get rid of the corners, and they are more noticeable with the widened sidebar.
You'll see there is a new thing over there under "Make a Difference." Kiva.org is an organization that provides microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. The ask individual "lenders" to make loans of $25 each. The badge over there is of the group I loaned to. They are expanding a pig farming operation, and need the money to build more pig sties.
And it really is a loan. When the lendee pays back their loan, you get your money back, which you can either keep or loan to someone else.
I did my research and discovered that all of the money you loan goes directly to the lendee. You have the option of adding 10% (a whole $2.50) to help with administrative costs. I like that.
So, if you have $25 burning a hole in your pocket, think about this organization. Sounds worth it to me.
Posted by Sheryl at 7:35 PM
It's not bad - really. It is tender and moist, but it is kind of bland. Also, I cooked it for the minimum time in the cookbook, but it absolutely fell apart when I tried to take it out of the crock pot. For as often as I make a whole chicken, I don't see this taking the place of roasting.
I do have a tip on the stuffing, though. I followed the directions on this, and it was easy for stuffing from a mix, but so much better.
Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a skillet or saucepan (the saucepan is neater, I think). Saute one small, diced onion and three, diced celery stalks (or buy creole mix at the grocery store so you don't have to do any work at all - it also has green pepper) for about...5 minutes. Throw in four cups of stuffing mix (that is a whole canister of Stove Top), and mix it up. Then throw in enough chicken broth to moisten up the stuffing. It tastes so much better than regular Stove Top, and doesn't really take any longer.
So Christmas dinner was good, overall. Plus, I had pancakes for lunch. It doesn't get much better than that.
Posted by Sheryl at 6:09 PM
If you can find them, you have to try No Pudge Fudge Brownies. Someone whose blog I read regularly turned me on to them, and I just tried them for the first time.
Basically, everything in the mix is natural (meaning no high fructose corn syrup), and you make it with vanilla yogurt instead of oil and eggs. If you can find fat-free yogurt, the brownies are fat free. I couldn't - or at least I couldn't find any that didn't have high fructose corn syrup (except for some ridiculously expensive organic stuff), so I bought low-fat Dannon Natural, which only adds 3 grams of fat, which is next to nothing. They are in the oven now, and smell sooo good. And the mix tasted wonderful - bonus: you can eat the mix without fear because there is no raw egg in it.
For those of you in the Ohio area, I know you can find it at Kroger, and if there is an Albertson's in your area, you may be able to find it there. Otherwise, Google it, and it should take you to a website with a list of stores that carry it.
I'll let you know how they taste later.
I'm making chicken in the crock pot. It does, in fact, cook all the way through, but the skin does not get crisp, despite the pictures. Oh, and you may want to use a baster to drain fluid every now and then, at least if you use a fryer. I couldn't find a roaster, and I know they have less fat than fryers.
Posted by Sheryl at 5:32 PM
You've made me cry more times than I can count this week.
And it's good to know the caliber of young men playing for LSU.
Posted by Sheryl at 12:28 PM
First, let me say that I'm feeling very guilty. It was very cold last night (for Louisiana - it hit 30). The semi-feral cats, Fido and Rover (yes, I did name them. sigh.) would usually go inside my neighbor's apartment on nights like that. However, neighbor is a student, and she is somewhere else right now. So all last night, whenever I'd move, or turn on a light or anything, Fido would scratch furiously at my window. I'm talking 10 or 15 minutes straight. I think she and Rover wanted in, but I can't do that. I'm horribly, horribly allergic, and I have no cat supplies, if you get my drift. I put out extra food and water, and I put out a box with a couple old t-shirts in it, along with an old rug on the concrete of my "deck" so that they could find someplace semi-warm at least if they wanted it. But I feel really bad. I guess I'm just an old softie.
Christmas Eve worship at my church always leaves me feeling conflicted. I always go to the 11 p.m. liturgy, because the earlier service has a whole lot of kids and no Eucharist. I love it, because it is quiet (no choir - of course, we don't have a choir on Christmas for either service. That's the disadvantage of being in a university town and depending on the school of music for not only the director but also about half the members), and dark, and intimate. I love night time workship in general for that reason.
But at the same time, I spend about half the service trying not to cry. Christmas was one of the only times during the year when my mom, dad, and I all went to church together (Easter and one or two other weeks were the others). My mom either went to her church, the Lutheran church that was closer to us (but that she didn't really like because she didn't know anyone), or the Presbyterian church down the street (because everyone needs a Presbyterian church down the street). Even though she married a Catholic, and was raising a Catholic child (and doing a better job of it that most of the Catholic parents, thank you very much), she really wasn't comfortable in the Catholic church. I can't blame her. I don't think I'd want to worship somewhere where I was unable to participate fully, either.
So worship on Christmas always reminds me of those times together. Going to church was always my favorite part of Christmas because it was the three of us, and just the three of us. I didn't have to face my aunt (who really didn't seem to like me, though she was never nasty in her words - just her actions), or any cousins I barely knew. I didn't have to sit at a kids' table by myself when I was well into my teens.
But now, when I go to church on Christmas, and see all those families together, it makes me really sad. I still miss my parents, as acutely as I did right after they died. And it's not like it's only been a few years. As of this April it will be 15 years (!) since my dad died and as of June, 13 years since my mom died. I wonder sometimes if that will ever fade. I mean, I get through "real life" just fine, though I think of my parents every day. But those special occasions, holidays, Mother's Day, weird little random days during the years, it hits me hard.
Maybe it's because I spend most of those days alone. Oh, I get invitations for holidays most of the time (though I didn't for this Christmas), but I hate spending holidays with other people's families. It's weird and awkward, and sometimes makes the missing more...tangible.
Sigh. What a downer. Sorry, internet.
But to end on an up note, I'm cooking for the third day in a row. This time, I am trying to make a roast chicken in the crock pot. My mom was always afraid to try that (she worked with meat, and knew all about salmonella), but the internet says it really does work well. And the internet never lies, does it?
If it does work I'll post the recipie. I'll post the recipie for the beef tips I made yesterday, too. Except I couldn't find sirloin at the grocery store (what's up with that?), so I had to use stewing beef, which meant the meat utterly fell apart while cooking. Still, it was good, and the gravy was tasty.
OK, I need to get to work now, I suppose. Yes, you read that right. I'm working from home, at least (unless I didn't copy everything I need onto my jump drive), but I have about 5 hours of work ahead of me today.
Crap. As I typed that, I realized that there are about 5 or 6 files I didn't copy. Sigh. I'm waiting until it gets warmer to go outside, though. It's still in the mid 40's
One more thing, if LP happens along here...is "lovingkindness" something that is written in some worship materials somewhere just like that? Is it a throwback to German (I don't know much of it, but I know they are well known for smushing words together to make new ones)? Or does our church secretary just think that it is all one word? It appears in our worship bulletin like that just about every week, and it drives me crazy just about every week.
Posted by Sheryl at 9:17 AM
I have lots to say, but it will wait until tomorrow.
Merry Christmas to all (or Happy Christmas to my reader or readers across the pond)!
Posted by Sheryl at 1:31 AM
Sunday, December 23, 2007
So I'm watching that CBS show, "In the Name of God" or whatever it is. One of the things they asked all the religious leaders about was faith and doubt. If they asked Pope Benedict, I missed it, but they did for sure ask the Archbishop of Canterbury, the presiding bishop of the ELCA (who is also president of the the Lutheran World Federation) and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Both of the two bishops admitted to having doubts, but nevertheless trusting their faith in God - even when it was hard. The Southern Baptist Guy said he never has any doubts about anything. I don't know quite what to make of that.
I did, however, make a big batch of corn chowder. It is yummy, and I have lunch for the next two weeks. Tomorrow, I am making beef tips and noodles, another favorite dish. Yes, I'm trying to cook more. I find that if I use the crockpot, I'm much more likely to cook regularly. I can do the prep work at night and then just throw everything together in the morning.
One final note - I don't think I have ever heard a hymn sound better on the organ than "Joy to the World." We sang that today, and organist played the living heck out of that song. I didn't know it was an Advent song, but our worship book identifies it that way. I think it would fit better on the third Sunday, but I guess the Christmas program takes presidence (sigh).
And since when do Southern Baptists do trinitarian baptisms? The Southern Baptist guy on this show just did one. I thought they only baptized in the name of Jesus. When I worked with RCIA, former Baptists always had to be catechumens (those seeking Baptism) rather than just candidates (those seeking full communion through the Eucharist and Confirmation) for just that reason, even if they had already been baptized.
Huh. You learn something new every day
Posted by Sheryl at 9:18 PM
My dear moms and dads,
I know that parenting a teenager is tough. Well, I don't know from personal experience, but I know how difficult I made things on my parents, and I've worked with teenagers in school and youth ministry settings. They are difficult, moody, and generally miserable 95% of the time.
And for those of you who make the effort to get your kids to church, I applaud you. Again, I know how hard that is.
But please, for the love of God and your fellow parishioners, if you can convince them to go to church, make them leave their cell phones at home, or at least in the car. Even if you have to search pockets and purses to do it, please, please do it.
What brings this up today, you ask? Well, there was a family sitting behind me in church. The have three teenagers (17, 15, and 13), and the youngest had a friend who was obviously a non-churchgoer. Now this family has issues with their kids and church. The kids are almost always there, but the two girls (the two youngest) are always dressed incredibly inappropriately, and the oldest spends most of the service in the bathroom, or any place else in the church building other than the sanctuary.
Well, today, during the readings, one of their cell phones went off. It was on vibrate, but against the wood of the pew, it was plenty loud. Apparently it was a text message, because all throughout the rest of the service, I could hear her (the middle one) punching keys on the phone. The parents had to see it - they were sitting right next to her. I could see it out of my peripheral vision. Then, during everything that was sung (and we do a lot of singing), the boy was texting as well, thinking that the music covered the beeping of the keys on his phone (it did not).
The parents did not correct those children, or the younger girl and her friend who were mocking pretty much every prayer and song we prayed.
Parents, you are not doing yourselves, your kids, or your fellow parishioners any favors by dragging kids who don't want to be at church to church, then letting them do whatever they want without correction or consequence during the service. What does that teach them? That they can do whatever they want or act however they want as long as they show up? Who does that help.
So parents, either teach your kids the right way to behave in church (and in public for that matter), or leave them home. That is something I never thought I'd say.
Posted by Sheryl at 4:03 PM
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Every now and then, especially with 3/4 of the people I know in real life and on line pregnant or with brand new babies, I really regret the fact that I'm not married, and don't have children, and most likely never will experience either.
Sometimes I hate the forced cheerfulness of holidays. I'd really rather just crawl into a hole for the whole two weeks surrounding Christmas and lament the fact that I am all alone. But I put on a happy face, act festive and joyful, and pretend that it doesn't bother me that I have absolutely no family to celebrate with.
I know that isn't necessarily what this holiday is all about. But sometimes it hits hard this time of year, especially when it coincides with a hormonal storm.
Posted by Sheryl at 8:19 AM
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I had the most amazing carrot cake at lunch today. It was warm, and moist, and just sweet enough, and the cream cheese frosting was divine.
We took Boss out to lunch as part of his birthday celebration. The big part comes on Friday. It was an expensive lunch, but so incredibly worth every penny. I had a shrimp poboy, the best fries I ever had, and then the five of us split three desserts - dark chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, the carrot cake, and key lime pie. Yum.
I have to admit thought, that I was just a little ticked when we split the whole bill evenly. My meal cost $3-$4 less than everyone else's. I know it isn't much of a difference in the long run, but still. But I was only a little ticked. And considering I was sitting at a table full of people with English degrees trying to figure out how to add in a tip and split the bill four ways, I really, really can't complain.
Posted by Sheryl at 4:12 PM
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Posted by Sheryl at 10:12 PM
Posted by Sheryl at 3:00 PM
I just noticed that something weird happened with my banner. I'll have to play with my template this weekend.
But that, dear readers, is not what I'm venting about. Instead, I am venting about people who refuse to grow. the. hell. up.
There is a blog I read on a pretty regular basis. I found this guy because I enjoyed reading his fan fiction. And while many of you may be saying that is in and of itself a sign of immaturity...shut up.
Anyhow, when I first started reading this guy's blog, he was a graduate student and a TA. I think it is perfectly fine for such a person to be just doing that, and sponging off his/her parents while doing it, if the parents can afford it (and his can).
But he has since graduated. He spent a year after graduation basically sitting around his parents' house doing nothing, then he decided he wanted to move to large midwestern city (think of one with two baseball teams). So he did, with no job. Mom and Dad paid his rent for a while. Then he took a temp job, which he quit because he didn't like it. So then he bummed around for a few more weeks before finding a job in a theater box office. He lost that job because he mouthed off to the boss because she wanted him to do something he thought was beneath him. So now he has an unpaid, part time internship, with Mommy and Daddy supporting him.
Where do I begin?
First of all, almost all of us who have graduated with a degree in a usless, liberal arts field (his is theater) have had to take jobs we hate to make ends meet. Do you think I enjoyed doing data entry or being an administrative assistant? No, but I had bills to pay on my own. I didn't have a mother and father to sponge off of, and even if they had been alive, I wouldn't have done it, except to maybe live at home. But I still would have contributed to household expenses. Sometimes it is part of being a grown up to suck it up.
Second, along those same lines, every adult I know has been asked to do something that they think is beneath them at work. I hated it when my boss at my last job sent me to pick up her lunch, or drive something out to her house (which was about 50 miles away) because she didn't feel like coming into the office. But I did it, because sometimes you have to put up with some...crap to stay gainfully employed. Most of us just don't have the option to say, "take this job and shove it," because we don't feel like running an errand for the boss.
Third, and unpaid internship? At nearly 30? I know the theater is hard to break into, but still. I would be embarrassed and humiliated to take a job like that and depend on my parents at that age. But this guy, he uses their money to buy completely frivolous things, gourmet food, plane tickets to visit friends, lets them buy him plane tickets home, etc. And they allow it, and even encourage it!
Oh, he claims to feel guilty, and he complains about their involvement in his life. Well, they are financing his life. I'd expect to be involved as well. But he continues to accept their money and their gifts (including a new iPhone) freely and willingly.
Maybe I just don't understand how the other half lives. My parents didn't sponge off of their parents, and in fact took care of them when they were old. Not that there was any money to do any sponging, anyway. I just don't know if I could do that if my parents were alive and had money. Doesn't some developmental psychologist say that separation from your parents is an important milestone?
I don't know. Maybe I'm being unfairly judgmental. I probably am, in fact. But it irks me every time I read this guy's blog and see him talking about his unpaid internship in one breath and the new toy (or fancy food or plane ticket to wherever) he his buying in the other. I should stop reading his blog for the sake of my sanity, but where is the fun in that?
Boy, is that a twisted statement!
Posted by Sheryl at 12:32 PM
Monday, December 17, 2007
Came home early from work and slept for a few hours and ate some rice. Everything stayed where it was supposed to. I'm capabable of being functional now. My apartment, however still smells like I was sick all weekend. I suppose that won't change until the weekend when I can get to the laundromat to wash the big stuff.
In other news, Weird Al is still funny. Thank goodness for YouTube.
Posted by Sheryl at 10:39 PM
If you guessed me, give yourself a pat on the back.
It turns out that quite a few people got sick after the holiday party on Friday. We think the common connector was the fish, but we aren't 100% sure.
I felt a lot better after I threw up. And boy, did I throw up. I have no idea where all that fluid came from, because I thought with what was coming out the other end, there couldn't be anything left inside me.
Yes, I am on a TMI tear today.
On the plus side, I probaby lost about 7-10 pounds of water weight yesterday.
Posted by Sheryl at 12:09 PM
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I skipped church this morning on purpose. I was tired, and this morning was all about the Sunday school Christmas program. It's the third Sunday of Advent. I want actual, real live liturgy, darnit. I checked the website of the other Lutheran church in the city, and they also had their Sunday school program today in place of the regular liturgy.
I've never thought of myself as particularly high church, but I really don't like it when a full Eucharistic liturgy is replaced with something else on a Sunday. My church only does it a few times a year (third sunday of Advent, the Sunday between Christmas and New Years, and occassionally the last service of the summer, when the church ladies lead the service - that depends, though on whether the female fill-in pastor is availabel that weekend or not). I usually try to make it to one of the Episcopal churches on those Sundays (they all have evening services), but my digestive system has decided to go a little nuts today, and I decided it would be better for all involved if I stayed home and mainlined Immodium.
I suppose that's too much information, huh?
Posted by Sheryl at 6:01 PM
So company Christmas party was on Friday. I had a good time. I actually stayed until the end, which was shocking. I didn't go to the after party, though. It was at a really popular "grown up" bar (in other words, doesn't appeal much to students), but it was packed, and I had pretty much had my fill of crowds by then.
The president of the company spoke for a while. There will be profit sharing this year (Yay). She announced some presidential awards, and it was neat to hear managers lauded for bringing in work that I worked on the proposal for. Of course, it would have been nice to hear us poor, beleaugered proposal writers lauded, too.
I talked a bit with Boss's Boyfriend at the party, too. He's a heck of a nice guy. Boss has good taste. Though I get the feeling that BB might think I'm a lesbian. For the record, I'm not. But I'm also not shocked that I put out that vibe. I like sports, I don't wear makeup very often (though I did on Friday), and I'm not exactly feminine looking. It's OK, I suppose - as long as he doesn't try to fix me up with someone.
Well, it's 2 pm. I guess I should probably try to accomplish something on my ever-growing to-do list.
Posted by Sheryl at 1:46 PM
Friday, December 14, 2007
I spent the past few minutes looking at the videos on my alma mater's website. I was pretty impressed, both with the students on their and with how the university and the campus have changed since my days there.
Oh, and the professor's video on there? He was a big part of the reason I ended up choosing Gannon. He presented at an open house in the Pittsburgh area, and I was really impressed. He also contacted me after that to find out if I had any questions, etc. Gannon really won me over with that personal touch. The financial aid didn't hurt either, of course.
Choosing to attend Gannon over Dickenson really was the best choice I have ever made in my life (granted, that isn's saying much give some of the bad decisions I have made over the years). I'm certain that there isn't another school in the country where I could have gotten the combination of a good education, strong faith formation, and personal attention.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm proud to be a Gannon University grad.
Posted by Sheryl at 11:06 AM
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
In his last comment, LP mentioned andouille. That's another thing that is pretty foreign in my corner of the northeast/midwest. Like he said it is a smoked sausage, and the closest thing I can think of that it is similar to is kielbasa (boy, that is a horrbile sentence). Actually, it might be closer to ring balogna, if that was smoked and spiced. The first time I had it in jambalya, I actually thought it was kielbasa, but the texture is a little different, and the spices are also different. Unless you get some homemade varieties from little stores in little towns, it isn't overly spiced (as in hot). It really is quite tasty. And there is a festival celebrating it in LaPlace.
That is one of the things I've learned since moving here. Up north, we generally think of Cajun and Creole as being burn-your-mouth spicy. It really isn't. It does have a bit more of a kick than, say, German food. But really, if it is done well, the spice just brings out the natural flavor of the food rather than masking it. That's not to say I haven't had a few jambalyas and gumbos where all I can taste is the hot, and I've been to a few crawfish boils where I couldn't taste the crawfish because of the boiling mix. But if it is done well, you taste the hot, but you also taste the andouille, and the duck, and the turkey, and whatever else is in the jambalya or gumbo. For peasant dishes, they really are sublime if done well.
If I make the pilgrimage north next year, perhaps I'll bring some Louisiana food with me. Y'all will be surprised at how good it is (darlin').
Posted by Sheryl at 10:30 AM
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here is Wikipedia's list of Louisiana Festivals. It is really incomplete. Right off the bat, I can see at least three that are missing, and there are probably more.
Also, if you are wondering what boudin is (LP mentions it in his comment on the previous post). Here is a link that will tell you. I never though a rice sausage would be good, but it is mighty tasty. Like everything in LA, depending on who makes it, it can be too spicy.
And if you live in another part of the country and would like to try this interesting concotion, here is a link to a website that links to a whole bunch of place that sell boudin, including some that sell on the internet and ship to other places.
Posted by Sheryl at 8:47 PM
I knew Louisiana was home to about a million food festivals every year, like the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. But I did not kow that it was home to the Meatpie Festival.
I was looking for a recipie, in case you are wondering how I happened upon that tidbit of info.
Posted by Sheryl at 4:08 PM
Monday, December 10, 2007
My last post was number 700 if you are interested.
OK. This has been floating around LiveJournal today, and I'm bringing it into blogger.
Go to the Wikipedia home page and click random article. That is your band's name. Click random article again; that is your album name. Click random article 15 more times; those are the tracks on your album.
I did it twice to compare the results, and here is what I got;
Band Name: Rivignano
Album: United Nations Security Council Resolution 196 (which has something to do with Malta) - aren't you wanting to buy it already?
1. Maurice Emmanuel
2. Liza Gonzales
3. USS Condor
4. Central African Republic at the Olympics
5. History vs Hollywood (now this would make either a good band or album name)
6. Krister Stendahl (who is a Lutheran theologian, interestingly)
7. LSP Dictionary
8. Indian Oil Corporation
9. Michael Novales
10. Louisiana Wine (also a good band or album name)
12. Plan of Attack (also a good band or album name)
13. William Whitehorse
14. Laverne Jones
15. Jon Olafsson
I like the band name for try number 2 better
Band: Project 90
Album: Paulette Jiles
2. Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarrides (sounds like a Spanish textbook)
3. 440 Theodora
4. Rocca San Giovanni
5. Morgan Wooten
6. The Henley College
7. List of Religious Leaders in 1936 (sounds thrilling)
8. Gusev Crater
9. Liga Nacional de Futbol de Honduras
11. 1972 in Literature (for 1000, Alex)
12. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
13. Harbarau River
14. Round Midnight (an actual album name)
15. Viupardis Acerosus
Yeah, if I ever acquire musical skill, I don't think I'm going to let Wikipedia choose any pertinent names.
Posted by Sheryl at 4:38 PM
Yes, I know I hve the outfit from last year that I didn't get to wear because it came so late. But I don't feel guilty because that outfit ended up being free. I would wear it, but I just don't like the look of the jacket any more. It has a real 70's feel, and not in a good way.
Posted by Sheryl at 12:13 PM
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Sunday the high temperature was 84. Monday during the day it was pretty seasonable, and the high was in the high 60's, but by Monday night, the temperature had dropped below 30. Tuesday, the temperatures were in the low 60's. Wednesday, they were back into the high 70's. Thursday, we were back into the low 60's. Yesterday, we were back up to 80, which is expected to continue until Tuesday, when the temperture will drop back to the high 50's.
Now I know that outside temperature supposedly has nothing to do with illness. But it does influence the plants and their pollen production. And I don't care what anyone says, I can tell you anecdotally that those temperature swings take a toll on your body, and when your body isn't 100%, neither is your immune system.
OK. I'm going back to sleep for an hour, then I'm getting up to take a work package to the super-fast delivery service that rhymes with HeadEx.
Posted by Sheryl at 6:30 AM
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Go read this article. It is about a Christian religious rally that took place yesterday during school hours.
I'm all for students being able to attend occassional religious events during school hours. I got out of school for a day in 9th grade for my Confirmation retreat. Pennsylvania, I know, had a law that allowed students to miss a day of school for religious holidays, religious instruction, etc., providing the parents signed a permission slip provided by the religious organization. I;m sure most states have similar laws in place.
Pennsylvania did not, however expect or allow public school districts to pay for the transportation. And I can't think of a single school or district that would make such an event a field trip for all of its students. They might allow it for a club or something, but not for an entire school, and not with using public funds for transportation.
I don't believe public funding should be used in any way, shape, or form to promote any kind of religious event. I'm not a strict separationist - I believe that it's OK for faith-based organizations that provide social services to receive some public funding, for example - but I don't think that public funds should be used to promote any one religion over another. And providing buses to take all the kids in the school to a "Christian" "field trip" is definitely promoting a particular religion by a public school.
Some would argue that giving the entire district off for Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanna (and I apologize to any Jewish readers if I spelled either of those wrong) is doing the same thing. I disagree. In districts where there is a large Jewish population, it is a matter of practicality. In Pittsburgh, for example, there is a whole feeder system that is in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. On the High Holy Days, the schools in that neighborhood were mostly empty. Not to mention all the substitute teachers that had to be brought in to cover for teachers' personal days. It made sense to have those two observances off system-wide, just as it makes sense to have off on Christmas and Good Friday.
I guess that's a cultural adjustment I still haven't made to living in the South. Religion and public life are tied together more closely than they were up north (and Pittsburgh really is more of a northeastern city in that respect, than a midwestern one). And in Louisiana, I think it will become even moreso with the incoming administration - which is really the main reason I didn't vote for the new governor.
I believe that your faith (or pure philosophy if you are athiest or agnostic, I suppose) does and should inform every facet of your life. And I believe that politicians' platforms are naturally informed by their morals, which are informed by their faith or philosophy. That is how it should be, and what makes the freedoms afforded us in this country great. But for any government or any governmental entity (like a school district) to show any kind of preference or favortism is not on.
I'll step down off my soapbox now. Have a lovely evening.
Posted by Sheryl at 4:11 PM
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
A slightly less cynical holiday meme.
1. The tea set I got from a neighbor when I was around four or five. I wrote about it before - I'll see if I can find the entry and link to it later.
2. Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees. My godmother got me this book for Christmas when I was in first or second grade. It was my first chapter book. I remember getting yelled at several times for turning the light back on to read on the night I got it. I couldn't put it down.
3. The year when things were really tight financially at home, and I got a game, a couple candy bars, a turtleneck, and some Snak Pak pudding. It was a really good Christmas because it was just me, my mom, and my dad, and we made the best of a tough situation.
4. Not Christmas, but for my 9th birthday I got a brand new softball glove. My old glove was a really, really old hand-me-down, and it was being held together with embroidery floss. We had to fix it after every game and practice.
5. A pewter cross necklace all the boys in the Kirk House went together to get me my last year. They wanted to make up for the fact that in the previous two years gift exchanges, I had gotten 1) overdue library books, a stolen mug, and a "Jennifer" key chain, and 2)nothing at all because the boy who had me "forgot." It was really pretty and unique, and I lost it when I moved after selling my parents' house. I've looked diligently for something similar, and I haven't been able to find it.
Posted by Sheryl at 8:08 PM
...and awake for no apparent reason. At least I got four solid hours sleep last night. That's an improvement over most of this weekend. My ears are still clogged though (except when I'm laying down - wonder where the gook goes then?), and my voice leaves something to be desired. And when I talk out loud with any kind of volume, I start coughing. That should make the meetings I have to lead today extra fun.
The lead story on the news here in the Ol' Red Stick continues to be the fact that LSU is playing for the national championship. There have been more angles to that story than you can imagine in the past couple days. And there is still a month to go.
I'm not terribly invested in the game one way or the other, though for the sake of my physical safety, I will say I'm pulling for LSU. Still, it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement of virtually everyone else in the city. I have to give folks credit here for being passionate about their team. As a Pittsburgher, I can appreciate that.
I suppose this means that I need to give in and actually buy an article of clothing that celebrates the purple and gold. I've resisited for five years. The only LSU thing I own is a blanket, and that's only because my office is generally freezing, and that's the only cheap, fleece blanket Walgreen's had.
In other news, I think I may be able to give in and buy a car in January. I would prefer to wait a couple more months, but I'm just afraid to.
Oh well. I suppose I could go into work early. I really don't want to, though. I may be awake, but that doesn't mean I'm feeling ambitious.
Sigh. I hate being sick.
Posted by Sheryl at 6:43 AM
Monday, December 03, 2007
...I managed to at least temporarily clear my ears.
On the minus side, I'm sitting at my desk feeling dizzy. I need to go to the bathroom, but I'm kind of afraid to stand up.
In short, I'm kinda miserable.
And I get to lead a three hour meeting tomorrow.
Posted by Sheryl at 3:25 PM
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Posted by Sheryl at 7:25 PM
My ears have major fluid in them. The only way I can hear is when I'm laying down. I guess that shifts the fluid somewhere else, because that's when my forehead hurts.
I was going to write something else here, but I don't remember what it is. I even specifically just moved my cursor up to this line because what I had to say fit better in this spot, but now it's just gone out of my head. Stupid mucous.
It was 81 degrees here today. That's just crazy. I don't want to have my air conditioner on in December.
There have been a huge rash of fires here caused by people leaving pots on the stove and either leaving the house or falling asleep. I don't know what that's about. Falling asleep I can understand (though really, you shouldn't be cooking if you are that tired), but leaving the house?
The city is anxiously awaiting LSU's fate in the BCS. If you had told anyone last week that they still had a chance to play for the national championship, you would have been committed. But the universe must be on LSU's side, because everything that needed to happen for LSU to have a chance happened.
I'm going to lay back down so that I can hear the TV. I think I'm skipping dinner tonight. Don't yell at me. I ate a real lunch today - a chicken sandwich. It was the first time I've eaten something other than toast since Thursday afternoon. Well, that's not entirely true. I had some mashed potatoes on Friday night, and I tried to eat some chicken noodle soup yesterday. But the broth was gross - they put in way, way too many carrots - so I didn't eat much of it. Just the noodles and chicken.
I bid you adeiu (did I spell that right? I took Spanish, not French) blogosphere.
Posted by Sheryl at 5:34 PM
Saturday, December 01, 2007
...about The Golden Compass, a movie that has just opened or is opening soon.
I will say that I never got through the book, not because of any anti-religious themes, but because I didn't like Pullman's writing style.
Somewhere on the second page of the article, someone says that kids read books and watch movies differently than adults. They do. Kids don't go looking for a writer's agenday. They are interested in the plot and characters, not in any kind of hidden plot to undermine some belief system.
I won't be seeing the movie for the same reason I didn't finish the book. But frankly, Focus on the Family and the Catholic League need to relax and trust parents to raise their kids with the right values. If parents do that, outside influences in the media aren't going to affect the child's belief system. They will just be entertainment.
Posted by Sheryl at 11:47 AM
My head is full of mucous, and I have so much fluid in my ears that I get dizzy when I turn my head. My cough is getting worse, too. Wonder if I should go to urgent care? Haven't had a fever, though, so I think its just a virus.
I really want to take more Sudafed and Advil, but I only took my last dose two hours ago. I have to wait two more hours. My ears really hurt.
I haven't had a cold in almost two years. I forgot how miserable it can be. I blame one of my coworkers who came to work sick this week. He should have just stayed home, even if he was on deadline. We would have picked up the slack.
I hope I'm better by Monday. I don't think I'm capable of taking another day off.
Sigh. Maybe if I eat something more complicated than toast for dinner I'll feel better.
Posted by Sheryl at 11:16 AM
Friday, November 30, 2007
This is the Friday Five on a group blog I sometimes read but don't participate in. In my sickness today, and my hatred of early holiday celebration, I'm participating today.
Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
The really cakey sugar cookies with thick, sweet icing the grocery stores sell around every holiday. They always show up at group lunches and junk like that this time of year.
2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Don't really have one of these, because I don't drink any seasonal beverages. Never liked eggnog (don't understand the point), don't drink beer, I think hot, mulled wine is gross.
3) tradition (church, family, other)
My current congregation has the sunday school Christmas program take the place of regular worship on the 3rd Sunday of Advent. I really love Advent, and I especially like the third Sunday (Gaudete Sunday). The kids are adorable, but I don't want to celebrate Christmas that far before its time.
Anything really gaudy. And there are folks around here who excel at gaudy.
5) gift (received or given)
I wrote before about the year I was in college when the housemate who got me in our gift exchange gave me his overdue library books, a mug he took from the kitchen and keychain with the name "Jennifer" on it, so I won't repeat that. In retrospect, the gifts my aunt used to give me really sucked - not because of what they were, but because of the utter lack of sentiment behind them. Before I got too old to be given gifts, I'd get a few little things she picked up cheap at the flea markets and auctions she went to, her Leggs pantyhose eggs, and her old catalogs. This, while she'd give her other nieces and nephews really nice stuff. My uncle always slipped me some money, though as we were leaving, I guess because he realized how unfair my aunt was (she did all the shopping for their household).
BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
Answered this one earlier this week: "Frosty the Snowman"
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I bought a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice today. and in the bottle, there is 62 grams of sugar. So if that is the canned cranberry sauce the "The Biggest Loser" people were looking at, it is entirely possible that there is that much sugar in a "large scoop."
On a slightly related note, if you have been generally avoiding high fructose corn syrup, you can really taste it when you have something with it in it. It has a distinctly artificial taste. Yes, I am referring to that cranberry juice.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
..."The Saggy, Baggy Elephant," if anyone is interested. I loved that one, too.
Really, I loved Little Golden Books in general. I mean, "The Pokey, Little Puppy," "The Sesame Street Cooperation Book" (which was the first book I ever read completely on my own), "The Little Engine that Could".
Did it get any better?
I just bought one of their journals. I tried to resist, because I really am saving money toward my car, but then I saw that they had "The Tawny, Scrawny Lion" and I had to buy it. I loved that book when I was a kid. It was one of my very favorite Little Golden Books.
I can't wait to get this journal.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
One of the things on my Google homepage is a radom writing prompt generator. I just clicked on to Google, and this was the prompt that came up:
"Describe Romeo and Juliet breaking up with a cage full of rodents."
Talk about a kinky relationship.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
It has been raining since about 4 a.m., and it isn't supposed to stop until sometime tomorrow. And it's just cold enough to make the rain really miserable.
Nevertheless, I did make it to church today, with a whole minute to spare. It was good, as usual, but sometimes I wish our congregation was slightly bigger. I like the small congregation, but sometimes it just makes me sad.
Oh, and today we sang Andre Crouch's song, "Soon and Very Soon (We are Goin' to See the King)," and appropriate song for the feast of Christ the King. We sing gospel songs and spirituals quite often, owing to the fact that we are a multicultural parish (three whole African-American families, which is about as diverse as traditional churches get in the deep south) and because some of them are really powerful and moving. Every time we sing one, I look around the church and listen, and I'm always struck by the fact that we sound like...
A roomful of middle-class white people with roots in the midwest.
What did you think I was going to say?
Saturday, November 24, 2007
...Frosty the Snowman one more time, I'm personally going to do my best to increase my carbon footprint in hopes of increasing global warning enough that Frosty will melt for good.
Seriously, they were playing that insipid little song in every store I was in today. I'm tired of "seasonal" music already anyway. But that song just gets under my skin everytime I hear it.
I don't really have much to say today. I feel kind of icky. My period is finally going to start (sorry for those who are not interested), and my ovary hurts. That's what happens when you have cystic ovaries. It kind of sucks.
So, I will say adeiu until tomorrow. I will report whether or not I made it to church. Have a lovely evening.
Friday, November 23, 2007
The city is in mourning. Now the best we can hope for is the Sugar Bowl. Have to give those boys credit, though. They left everything they had on the field and then some.
Quantum Leap is truly a fine TV show. I'm currently working my way through the series on Netflix. It's better than most of what in on TV right now. I would love it if the network people would rerun it.
I'm leaving in a few to drop my DVDs in the mail and to get some food for the cats.
Though really, it's today. I'll leave you to ponder that little mystery on your own time.
So, survived dinner at BB's house (BB because Boss's Boyfriend is too hard to type over and over). BB's parents were very nice, and surprisingly openminded for Baptists. I would think most of them would have issues with having an openly gay child.
The turkey was good, but the sides....eh. No regular potatoes - just sweet potatoes, which I don't eat. The only vegetables were peas and green beans - neither of which do I eat. Cornbread dresssing, which I ate a little bit of to be polite, but that I really don't like (it's all meally and dry and icky - but southerners seem to like it). I ate a little of a couple of things I don't like to be polite.
The rolls were quite good, though. They were from Whole Foods.
After dinner, and post dinner conversation, we adjourned to the livingroom where we watched a "How It's Made" marathon on the Science Channel. I know more now about how they hatch chicks in a hatchery than I want to know. It kind of makes me want to go only buy my chicken from local farmers with free range chickens now - to heck with the cost.
Then we watched Wheel of Fortune, whihc I haven't seen in years and years. Boy, they really changed it a lot. That was followed by Ugly Betty which is interesting to watch with gay guys. We watched half an hour of Grey's Anatomy before BB's parents went to bed and we could turn off the TV and have conversation. I stayed until about 10:30.
It was a good day really. Plus, I got to play with the doggies. That's why I had to wait until this morning to post this - allergies. I know I have them, but I love dogs. I'll put up with the inconvenience for the chance to pet dogs. I love dogs.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This isn't what I want to say, but I just need to say that fully half the hits I got today were about The Biggest Loser's cranberry sauce question. Apparently I'm not the only one who had issue with them claiming that a "big scoop" of cranberry sauce contains more sugar than 6 chocolate donuts. If you are going to disseminate information on a show like that, make it accurate at least.
So I went to the endocrinologist today. My thyroid function is still low. The goal is for it to be between 0.2 and 2; it is currently at 5. That's probably why I've been feeling like crap.
I gained weight, too. That sucks. I've been doing everything right and I gained weight anyway. She said that's probably a thyroid thing, too. I've lost inches around my waist, though. I know that for sure.
I'm going to wait to see what happens with my skin before I make an appointment with the dermatologist. I figure I'll give it another week or so with intensive moisturizing.
Tomorrow I'm going to my boss's boyfriend's house for Thanksgiving. Other than my boss, the only person who will be there that I know is his boyfriend. His boyfriend's mother, sister, and a friend of Boss will also be there. I asked if I could bring anything, and Boss said an appetizer. I am too tired to cook one. If I get up early enough tomorrow, I may try to throw together a small fruit tray.
OK. Etiquette question. Do I need to give a host gift to Boss's boyfriend? People down here tend to be very proper about niceties like that, but it's weird because it's his significant other. I don't think I would take anything if it was at Boss's house, because that would be weird. But at his boyfriend's house? I think I should. At any rate, I bought a very simple and tasteful picture frame, and put a picture I bought from Deviant Art in it, rather than the UPC code. If y'all think I shouldn't give it, I have no problem keeping it.
I await your response, internet.
Oh, and I still have the homeschooling post sitting in my drafts waiting for me to finish it. I was going to do it today, but I had a headache and took the opportunity to leave early instead.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
There is something a little subversive about eating pizza while
watching "The Biggest Loser."
By the way, they lied in their trivia question tonight. They asked how
much sugar was in "a big scoop" of cranberry sauce. Now, to me, a big
scoop is an entire can because I love it so much, but most people, I
figure, would interpret that as half a cup. They said there was 87
grams. I happened to have a can of cranberry sauce sitting right next
to me (as you do when you watch TV), and in half a cup, there is 34
grams of sugar. To get to 87 grams, you would have to eat a cup
and...a tenth. That is almost a whole can.
Oh, and Isabeau has a big ol' goiter. Hers is bigger than mine was. How can she manage that?
Or at least my face looks like I am.
Seriously, this dry skin is out of control. It's hideous, and I can't even put makeup on to cover it up because it burns. Lotion burns, even, and I bought the kind for sensitive skin. And sweat? Feels like someone dumped a bucket of acid on my face.
If my thyroid is normal tomorrow, I think I'm going to stop by the appointment desk and schedule an appointment with my dermatologist. This came on too fast, and too bad, for it to be normal. Also? It should NEVER be 80 degrees in November. Ever.
Monday, November 19, 2007
It totally put the cat vomit incident into perspective. At least it wasn't bright orange. Then it may have been joined by Sheryl vomit.
When you discover upon entering your company's very well lit bathroom that what you thought was dry skin is really a horrible, horrible rash (which you couldn't tell at home because the lighting in your apartment sucks), do NOT use Google to diagnose yourself. It can never come out good.
The More You Know...
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I got up at 10:35 today, but I tried to make it to church anyway, because it has been soooo long. I got there two minutes late. Seriously, Pastor E? 11:05. I'm just saying.
And yes, I still know this phobia is insane. Blame my crazy (but wonderful!) father. He wasn't happy unless we got wherever we were going at least 15 minutes early.
As I was leaving today, I discovered that brown, longhaired cat decided to leave me a little present and vomitted (is it one "t" or two? Two looks better.) all over my Adirondak chair. I left it until I got back, since I was actually trying to make it, and I took a looong drive after I didn't. After I cleaned it, I poured bleach all over the chair. Maybe that'll keep brown cat off of the chair.
My skin is so dry that it hurts. Especially on my forehead, where it almost looks like I have a rash. I use Burts Bees moisturizer, and it is usually really effective, but it isn't even touching this. I hope it's because of my thyroid. I should be finding out Wednesday.
I'm really tired, despite the fact that I got 9.5 hours of sleep last night. I hope that's my thyroid, too.
I tried to install drivers for my printer on my laptop. Vista didn't like them at all. Looks like I may need to give in at some point and get a new printer.
I think I must have lost some weight somewhere along the line. A bunch of shirts that I had that used to fit kind of tight don't now. It's weird.
There is a discussion on PBS right now about employers who impose penalties on workers because of bad health habits. I don't believe in that. I think employers should encourage healthy lifestyles, offer smoking cessation programs, discounts on gym memberships, etc. But I don't think you can discriminate against somebody for this, if they are productive, don't miss work, etc.
I had been trying to cook at home more often. But you know what? When I get home at 8 or 9 at night, I don't want to wait 45 minutes to eat dinner. Even if I did all the prep stuff in the morning and just cooked the food when I got home, it would still take half an hour. I don't want to be eating dinner at 9 p.m.
I miss finger painting.
There is a very smart woman on this show that I'm watching who has very, very unfortunate hair. If I knew I was going on a TV show, I'm pretty sure I'd spring for a visit to the salon first.
I don't understand adults who don't use banks. It doesn't make sense to me, at least if you were born after the depression.
I heard on the radio that Robbie Benson wrote a book. I think I need to buy it. He was one of my early crushes too, but even he didn't hold a candle to Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton. Shockingly, neither one of them are gay. (For those of you who have not been playing along, I tend to find myself attracted to men who later turn out to be gay. It's a little bit annoying.)
If you are buying cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend Whole Foods organic brand. It is the best I ever had, other than my mother's. Seriously, it tastes fresh and real, it is just sweet enough, and it is just really, really good.
I was tagged for a meme a few days ago, but I've been on deadline at work. I promise I'll play this week.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
...all my troubles seemed so far away...
Actually, that would be several days ago. Let me tell you about my last couple days, shall I?
So on Thursday, I got a thing from my health insurance company saying that one of the claims from my surgery had been denied. According to the thing they sent, it was denied because it wasn't submitted with a primary procedure code. But when I called the insurance company to find out what exactly that means, they told me it was because they didn't have a location code. So I called that doctor's billing office to ask them to resubmit it. They said that the location code was right at the top of the claim they submitted. We'll see what happens with this.
I just don't understand what the problem is with the insurance company. The date is the exact same date as my surgery, the referring physician is my surgeon. It's not like I said, "Gee, as long as I'm at the hospital, I think I'll have some random nerve monitoring!" It's not like it was a luxury thing. I kind of like the fact that I retained the ability to speak, swallow, and breathe. Call me crazy.
The bill is almost $1900 if I can't get the insurance thing worked out. I'm pretty much screwed if that happens.
So then yesterday I was on my way to work. I had three proposals to get out, so I left sooner than usual. Well, I debated about taking the surface streets so I could stop and get breakfast, but I decided to take the interstate and have pretzels for breakfast. Big mistake.
I pulled on to the S. Acadian onramp onto I-10, where wouldn't you know, the Baton Rouge Police had set up an inspection sticker checkpoint. During rush hour. Yeah, I have an expired inspection sticker. I didn't get an inspection last time it was due (two years ago) because I had less than perfect brakes. Then it was my transmission, then the brakes again, then struts, then ball joints...well, you get the idea. Now, I'm pretty sure it won't pass emissions - I think I need a new thermostat, and possibly some other things. I just don't want to invest the money if I'm not keeping the car much longer.
So the cop pulled me over, said they were checking inspection stickers, insurance, and seatbelts. Of course I didn't have my seat belt on. I wear it all the time, but I had taken it off to wind down the window (the handle is down by the floor, and I can't reach it with the seat belt on), and I didn't put it back on. And naturally, I couldn't find my current insurance card or my registration card. I took my registration card out to renew my insurance and I don't think I put it back in.
So I'm looking through all the papers in my car (a considerable number), crying, shaking, and hyperventilating, and the cop keeps telling me to calm down, that it's a non-moving violation, that it won't hurt my insurance, etc. He took my old insurance card and worked with that, while I tried to keep from passing out from hyperventilating. Basically, I had a panic attack. I've had them on a few occassions before, but this was the first time in a long time.
So he only wrote me up for the expired inspection. I have the priveledge (I NEVER spell that right, so I'm not going to try) of paying Baton Rouge City Court $97.
I've decided that my car is under a curse. I'm thinking of going to the diocese and asking who the resident exorcist is here. Actually, I know the priest who does that sort of thing in this diocese. He's a little scary, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't ask him anyway.
I just need to bite the bullet and get a new car. I'm just not ready. Plus, car dealers scare me. I don't want to go there alone.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
...I hearby claim President's Day as our holiday.
What brought this on, you ask? Well, I wrote before about how I had hoped to take some time off around Thanksgiving. Well, that's not going to happen. My boss conveniently gave me a series of proposals that are all due right around that time. And I won't be taking time off around Christmas, but that's voluntary on my part, as I am the only one in the department with no family at all.
But I really, really need time off at some point in time. So I've decided that I should take some time around President's Day. There are no family traditions centered around that day, so there should be no interfering with anything if I take time off.
Of course, I may lose my mind by then. I really, really, really need some time off.
I'm on deadline, so this may be all you get today. Go read this for some interesting thoughts on church.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I've been reading a lot of articles both in Pittsburgh and here in Baton Rouge about students being diagnosed with MRSA infections. Most of them have an really alarmist tone.
While MRSA can be dangerous if it gets into the bloodstream, most of the time in community-contracted MRSA, it remains a skin infection that can be treated relatively easily by antibiotics. Granted, the antibiotics are powerful and tend to wipe you out more than the infection itself does, but it is treatable. The only issue is that you become more prone to contracting MRSA infections in the future - but they still generally remain skin infections, unless you have a deep wound.
I'm speaking from experience here. I've had MRSA infections. And if you keep any oozing boils covered, you generally are not going to transmit the infection unless someone rubs your pus all over their skin, or licks it (sorry for the disgusting image at lunchtime, for those of you who are eating). I can tell you that I've had abscesses get large enough to have to be drained and packed, and I never passed infection on to anyone else.
So, parents out there, don't panic. Just make sure your kid wears his or her own clothes (or that borrowed clothes are actually clean), doesn't use other people's towels, and washes hands well, and they'll be fine. Just be sure to get any rashes that look like a series of pimples checked quickly, especially if any of them are red around the pimple or are draining anything.
This has been your public service announcement for the day.
I feel like NBC's "The More You Know" music should be playing.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So the past two nights I've made chicken the same way I made the fish on Sunday. It was good, but both the fish and chicken had a problem - It was too greasy. But I couldn't figure out how to use just a little bit of butter and still have it spread well over the breadcrumbs. They don't make spray butter the way they do margerine, and I won't use margerine. Butter tastes better and is at least natural.
Today at work it hit me - I can use an apple peeler to slice thin pieces of butter and spread them over the top of the chicken. I used less than half the butter, and it tasted just as good, if not better.
By the way, the chicken needs to cook for 40 minutes total - 10 covered, 30 uncovered.
OK. I know I shouldn't read the youth group stuff from the church where I used to be youth director. I know it makes me tense and angry and more than a little bit stupid. Nevertheless, I can't help it. I'm human, and I want to see what kind of things they are doing that I never in a million years would have been allowed to do when I was there (and yes, the administration - meaning the pastor and pastoral director - are the same.).
Well, they are doing girls nights and guys nights now. And while I think that is appropriate for some things, I don't think it works for just fun stuff. These kids spend all week segregated by gender (almost all of them go to single sex schools), and they need to spend some time with the opposite sex so that they will be able to function in college and beyond.
Anyway, the name of their "Girls Night" program in September was "Pretty, Pretty, Princesses of the King." That is why I may need to vomit. First of all, these girls are incredibly privledged. Their parents are all well-off, and they get pretty much anything they want. Playing into that more by calling them princesses is just a bad thing.
Second the "pretty" part makes me mad on another level. To have value girls have to be pretty? I know that's what the world at large says, but should the church be saying the same thing? I'm not pretty (honestly, I'm not - and I'm OK with that), but I know I have value as a human being and in the eyes of God despite that. What message is that sending?
OK. I'm going stop. There were other things in the newsletter that bothered me, too, but at least some of them are theological in nature (as opposed to the above, which is sociological), and it wouldn't be fair for me to discuss them (though, honestly, even the Catholic-ness of the theology is a little bit questionable). Suffice it say, it doesn't make me happy.
Oh, and they are going to Disney World for Mardi Gras. That's just ridiculous. Those kids have been there more times than I can count. The trip costs $450 - not including meals. My dad would have died laughing if I had asked him for that. Heck, he almost wouldn't (or more likely couldn't) give me the $15 it cost to go on a day trip DC when I was in high school.
Sigh. OK. I'm really done now.
…feel like the contain an entire sandbox. They are dry, and itchy, and gritty, and I don't know why.
I blame it on the fact that I have spent the past 7 weeks using my old, backup glasses since the place where I get my glasses is incapable of ordering the right frames to fix my glasses, on which a spring broke in the temple. To say that I am angry with them would be a vast understatement.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Just as good leftover the next day.
I'm enjoying this rare day off, even if I haven't really accomplished anything (except for getting my overcharge refunded and my alignment fixed. By the way, if you are ever offered the chance to purchase a program alignment, go for it. I've had my alignment adjusted about six times this year, and only paid the first time.).
The grey cat, one of the two semi-feral cats I have a codependent relationship with, is pregnant, I think. She is either pregnant or sick, because her belly is looking awfully big. I feel bad that I only give her one little cup of food a day, but I think at least a couple other people are feeding her too, so I guess that's OK.
I think I'm going to take a nap and then do laundry. Have a lovely Monday, and to all the veterans out there - Thanks.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Aren't you glad to see I know my days of the week?
So I didn't make it to church again today. I got to the building about 5 minutes late. Now, realistically, this is the deep south, where 5 minutes late is right on time. But, I also belong to a congregation that contains just about every German in Baton Rouge, so, really, 5 minutes late is actually more like 3 minutes late. Does any of that make any sense?
Anyway, had I gone in, I probably wouldn't have missed any of the service. I would have missed announcements and maybe the beginning of the prelude, but not the confession and absolution.
But I have an almost pathological fear of arriving at church late. I don't know where that came from, other than the fact that my dad was very, very German, and believed that 10 minutes early was really late. I've adapted to the southern point of view on time pretty well, but I can't adapt as far as church goes.
So, to my pastor, if you happen across my blog, how about changing the service time to 11:15? I'll make it every week (unless I'm stuck at work).
In other Sunday news, I just had the best dinner. I bought some mahi mahi (fresh frozen - $6.99 for two - six ounce filets) at Whole Foods yesterday, in my attempt to get over my fear of cooking fish. Then I bought some panko bread crumbs (they are bigger and crunchier than regular bread crumbs). I mixed the bread crumbs, a little salt, and a little bit of Tony's (that would be Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. If your grocery store doesn't carry it, ask them to), dipped the fish in milk, and coated it in bread crumbs. Then I drizzled a little bit of butter over the filets. It was heaven paired with a Cesar salad, and finished with Ben and Jerry's Cinnamon Bun ice cream. Wonderful - and I have leftovers for tomorrow.
And I have tomorrow off. I'm pretty well caught up on work, until my proposal sections come in on Tuesday. I'm going to go get my money refunded from the mechanic who overcharged my for my starter, get my alignment checked, and come home and do laundry. Have a lovely evening.
I've said before that I'm no big fan of the military as an institution. I also said that I support and admire the men and women who choose to serve. Both are true.
But I have to tell you, every time I see a story about that charity that is endeavoring to make sure that every living World War II veteran who is alive gets to Washington DC to see the World War II memorial, I cry like a baby.
I'm watching on a local program on our PBS station as they are talking about it and interviewing these men. It just moves me beyond belief. They even have a Buffalo Soldier on (the troops were still mostly segregated in WWII).
Their stories are incredible and powerful.
I think that that charity may be getting one of my Christmas contributions this year.
By the way, I have some more thoughts on homeschooling, but they are currently saved on my work computer. I'll shre tomorrow.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I slept in late today. It was good.
I went and got some chicken for dinner. It was good.
I went to Whole Foods and bought some Mahi Mahi, which I don't know how to cook. But it's still good.
I also bought a piece of pumpkin cheesecake. It was beyond good.
I discovered that the guys who replaced my starter overcharged me by $30. It was not good, but it will be.
I'm watching season 1 of Friday Night Lights. It's amazingly good.
God created Kyle Chandler. The job He did was really, really, really good.
(Almost as good as the job He did with Rob Morrow)
Cranberries are good.
List entries like this on a day when you don't want to think are also good.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
So I got the ball joint (and CV joint) on my car fixed, and my starter went.
I had noticed a little hesitation in the morning when I start my car the past week or so, but only when it's cold. Well, when I went to pick up my car after the joints were replaced (to the tune of $521), it wouldn't turn over. But the starter motor was running, even without the key in the car. Well, the mechanic hit it with a screwdriver and it stopped, and after a couple of tries, it turned over. The car fixing place where I was doesn't do that type of work, and I had decided to take ti somewhere that did on Monday since I'm off.
So on the way home, I had to stop for gas (I was spot on E). I turned the car off, then couldn't get it to start again. I had to push it into a parking space in the back of the gas station by myself, despite the fact that there were several able bodied men standing around getting gas. At least this time I managed to not run myself over or run the car into a utility pole like I did the last couple times I had to push my car by myself.
I called a tow truck, and he took me and my car to a different place than I was going to take it to, but that was within walking distance of my apartment in case the tow truck guy wouldn't give me a ride home (he did). It cost $87.
If it's the starter, it'll be about $350, maybe a little more. If it's something electrical, it could be less (a wire or a fuse) or it could be more (a solenoid, whatever that is - it sounds expensive, though).
I'm at the stage where I am going to be nickle-and-dimed to death, I think. I was planning to wait until May to buy a new car, but I may just start going on test drives now and seeing what kind of financing I can get.
Just to give you a little contrast.
I'm no fan of the Army, or of ROTC (or JrROTC)*, but this is a good thing worth sharing.
*And just do I don't get any angry comments, I support soldiers 100% and admire them for what they do for our country. I just have issues with the institution.
Go read the post from today on TG's Blog.
What is wrong with the world?
How can we treat children like this? I'm generally a staunch defender of social workers, but this lowers them in my estimation.
I mentioned before that I had thought about becoming a CASA volunteer. I think this has pushed me enough to at least go to an information session. Kids like the one TG's inlaws take care of need people to stand up for them and only them, with only their best interests in mind.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
(Sorry, I'm submitting this from my work e-mail and I don't know how to turn text into a hyperlink in Outlook.)
So quite a few of the blogs I've been coming across during my surfing-at-work-while-waiting-for-proposal-pieces are written by mothers (always mothers) who homeschool. I have issues with homeschooling for a lot of reasons. The main one is that the mothers who are doing the schooling generally are not certified teachers. That is a big deal, even with little ones. When I was doing a field placement in a 9th grade class when I was in college, I had a student who had been homeschooled until that year. He was way behind academically, and even further behind socially. It was not good.
I admit that experience probably colored my perception of homeschooling a lot, and possibly unfairly. But I've also done some research on the homeschooling curricula that are out there. Now granted, most of these curricula are published by fundamentalist Christian publishing houses, and since my beliefs don't tend to be in that direction, I again may be biased. But a lot of the materials I've seen are poor quality at best, inaccurate at worst (and I'm not talking about the science curricula. I can't even talk about that objectively, so I'm not trying).
Today I came across the blog of a Catholic homeschooling mother. She linked to the curriculum she uses, and I clicked through, because I've never really looked at a Catholic homeschooling curriculum. I was hoping for something better, given the strong history of Catholic education, particularly in the US.
I was disappointed. I looked primarily at the materials for my areas of expertise, Language Arts and middle school. The literature collection consists of only novels by Catholic writers who are positive on Catholicism. The elementary Grammar books are called The Language of God (which bugs me on more levels than I can say - American English is not God's language, and I hate that the title implies that it is), and the the sentences in the textbook for 5th/6th grade are something right out of the 50's. Also, grammar instruction seems to stop in 7th grade. Trust me. Grammar needs to be taught and reinforced all the way through high school (and into college for that matter). Penmanship, however, is taught all the way through 8th grade (OK. Maybe that's not such a bad thing - though I would have resented doing copybook work in 8th grade).
Then there are these two books, which are considered part of the 8th grade curriculum for girls. Sewing, cooking, and homemaking. Your daughter will make someone a lovely wife at the age of 18, since she'll come to think that that's all a woman can do. I'm speaking from experience here. Until I was in 7th grade and going to the gifted program in my district, I honestly didn't think that a woman could be anything other than a nurse, a teacher, or a wife/mother. No one ever told me that, but those were the only examples I ever had. Why would you force that on your daughters?
And why only daughters? Shouldn't your sons know about homekeeping, too? What if they never marry? Or what if they become priests in a parish that is too poor to affort a housekeeper? Or what if they just want to be real men and help their wives around the house with more than just the heavy lifting? What then?
The history books are all history from a Catholic perspective? Where's the objectivity in that? In my experience as both a student and teacher in Catholic schools, they were always (relatively) objective when presenting history and the role Catholicism played in it (except maybe for the
Crusades. It's hard to admit when you made a lot of mistakes that resulted in the killing of thousands of innocent people).
I know that there are a lot of reasons that people choose to homeschool, with religious/moral reasons being primary. But you now what? If you parent your kids well, guiding them without smothering them, they are going to turn out OK regardless of whether your protect them in the cocoon of your home or send them off to the big, bad wolves of public school. What matters is how you influence them when they are home. If you nuture them, they will remember those lessons later on down the line when confronted with moral dilemmas. Trust me. I speak from the experience of having two parents who sent me first to Catholic elementary then to public high school. I had plenty of chances to go against the way I was raised. I could have gotten drunk every weekend (and most weekdays) very easily. I knew where the parties were. I could have gotten involved in all kind of things I was raised to avoid. But I didn't. Those lessons stuck. I'm proud of that, and I'm proud of my parents.
Wow. Guess I had more to say on this topic than I thougt I did. Who knew?