Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hey look! Another meme!

I got this one from Antonia, over at Whooppee The original instructions on this were to find song names from your favorite band and make them the answers to the questions. Antonia decided to she'd rather answer the questions head-on, and I agree. It was a consider-yourself-tagged-if-you-want sort of thing, so I tagged me. Here we go:

1. Are you a male or female: Female, but I do possess some version of the "I don't need to ask directions, I'm not lost" gene. Most of the time I can control it, the rest of the time I just pretend I'm exploring.

2. Describe yourself: Large. Bookish. Whimsical. Covered in cat hair. Boisterous. Sarcastic. Like to dance, now that I know how. Generous. Shy. Friendly. Goofy, with a slight smattering of silly. Musical. Easy to amuse. Eager to please. Generally tolerant except for certain noises like slurps or constant sniffling.

3. How do you feel about yourself: I'm comfortable by myself, I amuse myself. I feel a lot more confident than I did a few years ago.

4. Describe your parents: My mom is a little shorter than me, red-headed, articulate, fun and funny. She has an amazing soprano voice. She could have been an opera singer. My dad is tall, thin, quiet, with a very dry wit. He's from Iowa. Keeps most of his feelings to himself. They're an odd pairing, but they've been married for 42 years, so I guess that theory about opposites attracting has some validity. I not only love them, I like them.

5. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriends: The first one was dark-haired and blue-eyed, with a lovely singing voice (tenor) and an ego the size of a small planet. He's down south somewhere, has been married and divorced twice. A friend told me recently that he'd like to get in touch with me again, "just as pen pals" or something. Not just no, but hell no.

The second one was my height exactly, had light brown hair and hazel eyes, a lovely singing voice (see a pattern developing? This one was a bass) and a wounded soul. For 3 and 1/2 years he sucked the life out of me, dragged me down to his level of sorrow (misery loves company and all that). Then he graduated, told me he wasn't in love with me, and disappeared. It didn't take long for me to see how much happier I was after he left, and that I didn't miss him. I do miss the 3 & 1/2 years, though.

The third one was a very brief relationship that ended suddenly when an emotional hand-grenade got tossed into my private life. He got hit with shrapnel. I don't think I ever explained the situation, and he's never asked. He's married now, lives in this town, is a bus driver. I see him once in a while, usually when he's driving my bus. Of the three, he's the only one who I wouldn't cross the street to avoid speaking to. And no, he can't sing. Couldn't carry a tune if it had handles on it.

6. Describe your current boy/girl situation: It took a long time for me to figure it out, but I'm really happiest on my own.

7. Describe your current location: In a computer lab on a college campus, in a chair that's too low for me, three terminals down from someone who really needs a tissue (see #2)

8. Describe where you want to be: At home, in PJs, sitting on the sofa with the cat in my lap and a book in my hand. In Lancaster County, visiting my sister. In San Francisco, wandering around staring at everything in an attitude that screams "tourist!" In Stratford, Ontario, watching a performance from their theater festival. Whale-watching. Beach-combing.

9. Your best friend(s) is/are: quick-witted, fast-talking, big-hearted, intelligent, talented (each in his or her own way), and fun to be around. They're also generally a long way off. Some are out of town, out of state, one is on another plane of existence altogether (buried in Kansas. I miss her, and some day when I am able, I'll write about her).

10. Your favourite colour is: anything but orange. I like to wear red, brown, black, pink. I like to look at blue, green, yellow, purple.

11. You know that: I didn't answer #9 very well, so I went back and added some more. Edits are in green.

12. If your life was a television show what would it be called: Running the Asylum

13. What is life to you: Whatever I'm doing at the moment.

14. What is the best advice you have to give: Don't take free advice.

Edited to add: Tag! You're it! But only if you want to play.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I went home for Easter. It was relaxing, pleasant, and quiet. TV stayed off most of the weekend. Ah. Nice.

I have some pictures. Wanna see?

Easter basket on the washstand

That grass in the basket is real, and live. It's a Martha Stewart trick. I was going to link to it but I can't find the link. Basically you take a plastic bag, put potting soil in it, spread the seeds on it, and put it in the basket. Water it once in a while, and it'll keep growing.

Duck in the basket

The duck is a toy Mom got at a drug store. It comes as an egg. There are holes drilled top and bottom. You soak the egg for a while, and then after you take it out, the shell cracks and the little duck emerges. He's a very dense sponge. He was still wet at the bottom on Sunday afternoon. He's in there partly for cuteness and partly to water the grass.

After Easter the grass will get planted outside somewhere.

The Easter Grouse

This grouse was sitting outside Saturday morning. Saw him through the bathroom window, grabbed the camera, and hoped for the best. I tried to get another shot of him from the porch, but as soon as he saw me he flew away. Oh, well.

Easter bunny's been here!

And here's another shot of that basket with loot left by the Easter bunny. Mom didn't want to stain the grass, so most of the candy went into a separate basket. The bag in the back and the two flowered eggs are presents from me. The candy eggs are from a chocolatier here in town. The bag has roots for 10 strawberry plants in it.

And that's pretty much my weekend. I took vacation on Monday -- I'd originally planned to be upstate longer, but that's when I thought the cat was coming with me. M'colleague agreed to give the cat her meds (in wet cat food. Lilah likes her a lot now) over Easter weekend, but I thought asking her to do Monday as well would be an imposition. She said (my colleague, not my cat. I'm not that far gone yet!) that Lilah was very friendly, all purring and lovey-dovey, no trouble at all with eating her doctored food. Aha! My sneaky little plan worked.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The "puppies" who used to live upstairs

The following is a memory jog, courtesy of yesterday's post by Antonia.

Just after I graduated college, I lived in a two bedroom apartment with three other girls (one in her third year at school, the other two just like me -- recent graduates with crappy jobs). Our upstairs neighbors were four college boys. I don't think they had furniture, because they seemed to use every square inch of that floor. Sometimes they'd practice goosestepping in heavy work boots. Or maybe it was tap-dancing. Stamping out ants?

They also liked to hold impromptu wrestling matches in the middle of their living room. I used to imagine them as a litter of puppies all rolling around on the floor together. We often expected to see the whole lot of them come crashing through our ceiling during these little romps, and I am sure that if this happened the boys would've been completely unfazed. They probably would have looked up briefly, shrugged, and then gone back to their scuffle. Same match, different floor.

Their favorite game (when they weren't playing Pig Pile on the Living Room Floor, that is) was to toss a(n American) football back and forth from the back bedroom down the hall to the living room, then from living room out onto the adjoining deck -- all the while holding shouted conversations about sports, school, girls, and who had been the most drunk the previous evening. One of the guys in the living room constantly overshot (or maybe one of the ones on the deck was trying to catch while wearing greased oven mitts), so every few minutes someone would gallop downstairs, fling open the door, slam it shut, find the football, fling open the door again, slam it shut, and pound back up the steps.

I wonder where they are now. I wonder if they think back fondly on their college days, or if they spare a thought for the four young women who lived beneath them and whose collective fervent wish was that they all go straight to hell.

Oh, hey, look what I grew!

Hyacinths and tulips

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Results from my evaluation

I got the supervisor-written part of my evaluation this morning. I'll get the final one after the dean has signed off on it, but nothing that's already been written will change. Our supervisor figured we wanted to know where we stood as soon as possible, so she handed us "unofficial" versions this morning.

The word "exceptionally" was used a lot. I got complimented for my energy, flexibility, cheerfulness, willingness to take on more work, and for getting projects done in "record time."

Okay, so there are no raises this year (the budget for the state is a mess, and this university gets a chunk of our budget from the state), but I don't really care. Sometimes the praise is good enough all on its own.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Modeling my new backbone

I went down to pick up the next piece of a project I'm working on for my old boss. Waiting on the cart for me were way more items than what I agreed that I would take at one time (and I've emphasized that to them quite a few times already). They do this all the time. They're supposed to pull between 40 and 60 reels of microfilm (I've told them repeatedly to try aiming for 50), and for the third time in as many weeks they had over 60 waiting for me to take away. A couple of weeks ago is was 115. Today it was 88.

I used to just take the reels, reiterate that I wanted between 40 and 60, and think ugly thoughts at them as I dragged stuff back to my cubicle to work on it. Part of me wanted to do it again today, but I stifled that impulse. If I kept letting them get away with this, pretty soon there would be over 100 reels on that cart again. I should know that, having worked with them so long. They push. You offer one of something, they ask for two. Give 'em an inch, they think they're rulers.

Dammit, I set a limit for a reason. I do have other things to do.

I asked my old boss what she wanted me to take, the 63-reel long title (three over my limit, but that's okay because it's an entire title), or the 25-reel long title and the first 35 reels of the 63-reel long one. She looked surprised.

"Well we don't like splitting runs up if we can help it..."

"Okay, so the 63-reel one."

"Well, but we have a list we're going by and we don't want to confuse the students doing the pulling."

They're already confused, I thought. They can't even count to sixty.

I went to the folder with the list in it and flipped a few pages.

"Next title is 37 reels long. I'll take the 63 reels today, and then Thursday I'll take these 25 and that 37-reel title."

She agreed, but I don't think she was happy. I used to have "Welcome" written on my back in 15 languages. I think she expected me to roll over and play dead. I'd said something to my supervisor and the head of my department at my annual review a few weeks ago along the lines of needing to grow a spine where these people were concerned.

Looks like it's starting to happen.