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?

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.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I Hate Technical Support

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.

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.

Friday, December 28, 2007

This is actually my favorite critter...

You Are A: Turtle!

turtleThese 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!

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.



I just realized when I saw someone in Sitemeter found me through a search for "new years pretzel Pittsburgh" that I meant to order one of those for this year. I totally forgot, and it's too late now.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dear Internet,

You are not entertaining me very much as I wait for all the stuff on earth to print.

Point me to fun, work-safe stuff, people!

Thank you.

Still at Work

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.

OK. The Advocate isn't the only paper capable of making me cry this week.

Stupid hormones.

Boy, I'm Having a Bad Day

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.

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.

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." 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.

Chicken review

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.


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.

Damn You, Advocate!

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.


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 "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.

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)!

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

Need something to either lift you up or rip your heart out during this crazy time of year? Go read this article.

The Advocate kind of sucks as a paper, but every now and then they manage a feature article that brings tears to my eyes - both happy ones and sad.

An Open Letter to Parents of Teenagers

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.

Thank you.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Covet This

If I have anything left out of profit sharing after paying of one last bill from my surgery, I'm buying myself this. Why didn't Rival ever think of that?

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.


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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

TV thoughts

So there is nothing on on Tuesdays, so I find myself watching The Biggest Loser. That show is so unfair and stupid.
First, it totally isn't fair to pit men and women against each other. No wonder they've never had a woman win. Men have naturally faster metabolisms. Men don't have the hormonal issues women have. It is easier for them to lose weight. That is a biological fact.
Second, people with thyroid conditions don't stand a chance. Is it any wonder that the bottom two of the final four both have thyroid problems? Even when controlled, that makes it harder to lose weight. (And yes, I know they never said Isabeau had a thyroid problem, but I know a goiter when I see one - I had one)
Third, the "at home" portion of the competition favors those who don't work, or who don't work crazy hours. I know that when I work 12 or 14 hour days (or longer) the last thing I want to do is cook dinner and then work out for several hours.
Fourth, product placement. OK. This has nothing to do with fairness, but the product placement on that show is out of control. When they are pushing Ziplock bags and Extra gum as diet aids, that is just insane.
Finally, and this has nothing to do with fairness either, this show promotes an unrealistic view of weight loss and fitness. I'm sorry, but even in a controlled environment with all kinds of medical supervision, it can't possibly be health to lose close to 150 pounds in 14 weeks, as a couple contestants did. Doctors warn about that kind of thing. But people who watch this at home and haven't discussed these issues with a doctor don't realize this and either set unrealistic goals and give up when they can't reach them or push themselves too hard and end up sick.
I just don't like that show. But if the writer's strike isn't settled, I guess I'll probably watch the next installment, too. Unless one of the other networks can come up with a better alternative. Take it as a challenge, networks!


I just looked out the window at work and thought to myself, "I wish it would snow."
What an odd thought, considering I live in Baton Rouge, LA, and the current temperature is 66.
But it looks like the kind of day that would be a snowy day in Pittsburgh. At least it would if the trees weren't still green (though I think most of the ones I can see from my window are cedars and palmettos, and aren't they evergreens?).
Still, I wish it would snow.


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!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Feel Sooo Much Better

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.

Guess Who Had Food Poisoning?

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.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And another thing...

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?

Oh, Christmas Party...

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.

Friday, December 14, 2007

So instead of doing work...

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.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Want This Award

I think if I ever get back to serious work on The Greater American Novel, I shall have to include a sex scene so that I can win this award. I guarantee that I can write something awkward and painful enough to at least get an honorable mention.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Louisiana Food

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').

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For Those of You Who are Interested

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.

Who Knew?

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.

Monday, December 10, 2007

If You are Intrigued... the WikiBand meme, but don't have the patience to click seventeen times on Random Article (or if you are not working on resumes for really boring people and therefore don't need a diversion), click on this link and it will do it for you.

Band Meme

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)
11. Yengema
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


1. Kava-Kul
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
10. Yahud
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.

So here is what I'm wearing...

...for the company Christmas Party on Friday:

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.
And yes, it is kind of crazy to being going all out for a party I plan to stay at for no more than a couple of hours, but it only comes once a year. Let me get my girl on for once, huh?
Oh, and I found shoes I don't hate and that don't hurt my feet and the perfect earrings this weekend, too.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Here's Why Everyone Around Here... sick.

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.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I'm Going to be Controversial Now

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.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Five Favorite Gifts

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.

Still a Little Sick...

...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.

Monday, December 03, 2007

On the Plus Side...

...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.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

LSU is playing for the national championship. They are playing Ohio State. Everyone is apparently very happy to hear the noise in my building (what I can hear of it, anyhow. It's kind of muted).
So, Tim and to wager?

Still Sick, Again

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.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Read this Article...

...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.

Still Sick

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.