Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baptism by fire

The italicized bits scattered throughout this post are from my feed on Twitter. In case you're wondering what the heck that's all about.

My original title for this post was "Sweet Baby Jesus, make it stop." That should tell you how the project is going, huh?

My first of three new hires was to start work Monday at 10 am. She was planning on working a 4-hour shift (which I thought was crazy ambitious--or maybe just crazy) putting labels on books and recording call numbers on a form attached to a clipboard. We'd agreed to this last week, through email.

Last Saturday afternoon the camera card for my rapidly expiring photo ID showed up in the mail. Of course it did. I couldn't go take care of it on Saturday, 'cause by the time I'd get to the place it'd be closed. I decided to run this errand on Monday, after I got the young lady started.

So, Monday. I send out an email to my teammates telling them I needed to run this errand, will be leaving around quarter of 11, yadda, yadda, yadda. No sooner do I hit the send button then I get a message from my worker--can she start work at 11 instead of 10? Sigh. Sure. I rearrange plans, do something in the morning that I was gonna do in the afternoon, and I meet her at the reception desk at 11.

So far, so good. I take her back to where I have things set up, give her a packet with her name on it, explain what's in it, show her where to pick up and drop off things, and give her a set of the instructions I wrote the week before. I tell her to take a seat and read the instructions, as I don't want her to go all the way out into the stacks only to have to come right back because she doesn't understand what she's supposed to do.

I want to say right here that I ran these instructions past 2 people: one for basic proof-reading and sense, the other for accuracy. They came back with a thumbs up, so I'm confident they are clear.

I don't want to make her nervous by standing over her while she reads, so I go off and do something for a few minutes. When I come back, she's flipping the paper over and over like she's finished with it. She asks me about proper placement of the barcode, to make sure she understands where it goes. I confirm that she is right, ask if she has other questions. Nope. We're good. And away she goes into the stacks. I feel like I'm on a pier waving goodbye to a ship.
jugglingscarves First employee has arrived, been instructed, given supplies, and sent off into the stacks. Project has officially started. *fistpump*
Not five minutes later she's back. With a question about something that was very well-covered on the instructions. There was a graphic and everything. So I answer that question (though what I wanted to say was "read the instructions again."), and off she goes into the stacks again. I wait to see if she'll come back. She doesn't, so I head out to the bus stop.

As I sit on a bench at the stop, I'm beginning to wonder if she actually understood what I said. So I go back into the building to double check -- she's not where she's supposed to be in the stacks. Hmm. Maybe she had another question and is looking for me in the work room? Nope. The packet I gave her is back in its slot, her backpack (which we put in my desk drawer) is gone. And there's a note that says she left early (it doesn't say how early) because of a meeting she forgot she had.
jugglingscarves Aaand she left already. Not a good start.
I got my errand done in surprisingly good time by the way. There were only 4 of us at the DMV, and 2 of the people there were already leaving by the time I sat down.

This morning at the bus stop I resolve to salvage this situation. Maybe she really did have a meeting. I have to remember that she's a student, and her primary focus is not my project. And maybe she's an aural learner, or a learn-by-doing kind of person.
jugglingscarves Declaring a do-over re: yesterday's new hire. Going to take her by the hand & show her what to do.
Unless she's already written off this job as a bad idea.
jugglingscarves If she hasn't already quit via email, that is.
At work I check my email, and I see nothing from her. Okay, so I should expect her. 10 o'clock comes. And goes. No employee. 10:30. Nope. All right, maybe the "can I start at 11" thing was a permanent switch? She actually hasn't been very clear about when I'm to expect her. I go to our faculty member's office and tell him what's been going on. He gets a good laugh or two out of it. "And that," he says, "is why I'm glad I don't supervise anyone."
jugglingscarves Yesterday's new hire is a no-show today. No email, either. I'm somewhere between irritated and relieved.
11 o'clock comes. And goes. At 11:30 I show my faculty person a print-out of an email I'm about to send, prefacing it with the question, "Is this a polite enough way to say where the heck are you?" He says it's very tactful. In the email I tell her I'm writing up a schedule of all the project team's hours and I'm posting it in the work space, but I'm a bit unclear about her hours. Would she please clarify for me when she plans to work? Day and time, please.

Someone following my tweets replies to my last one by writing: "I can't imagine getting a job and then not showing up...who does that?!"
jugglingscarves @[deleted]Well, maybe someone who left 3 hrs and 15 minutes early on the first day. I just sent an email to see if she still works 4 me.
jugglingscarves @[deleted] The shift? Was 4 hours long. Related: I officially hate supervising.
To which my friend replied: "Oh gee, that's too much!"
jugglingscarves @[deleted] She left a note on my desk saying she left early (after we pushed back the start time an hour) because of a meeting she forgot.
jugglingscarves @[deleted] Perhaps she just had a horrible Monday. Or perhaps I'm giving her too much benefit of the doubt.
By 2:30, I still haven't heard from her and I have no idea how to proceed. My own supervisor is out for the next two months (which is why this got farmed out to me), and the only other person I can think of to ask for direction is her boss, our department head. Thank goodness the woman is approachable. I explain the situation, show her the email I sent, and ask what to do next. She said to give the young woman to the end of the day and then call her. Tell her (or her voicemail, which is what we both think I'll probably get) that if she's not here by ten tomorrow and I haven't received a call from her, that she doesn't work here any more.

Whew. Allrightythen.

In the meantime, I have another new hire to train. Having learned from the day before, I decide I'm gonna do like they do in the army: say what I am going to say, then say it, then say what I said. In other words, I will summarize the instructions, send her off to read them, then take her to the stacks and do a couple volumes with her.

This may or may not be relevant, but this other woman is older, and not a student. Both of these people are already employees of the library, see, and I'd worked near both of them at one time or another. I'd observed them both working and had thought both would suit for this job. Never checked with the first person's current supervisor, though. This is a mistake I will not make again. I spoke to someone who was visiting in my department today, someone who worked with my AWOL employee, and she said basically that a) when she heard this person was going to be barcoding, she'd hoped it wasn't beyond her abilities; and b) she was a nice kid, but she did have a problem with showing up consistently. To which my response was, "And she still works for you guys because?"
jugglingscarves Obvious supervisor lesson #1: no matter what I think I know, check references. Turns out she has trouble with showing up regularly. Awesome
A little bit later someone else I follow tweeted me, saying: "sorry ur having rough go at being supervisor. Hope it makes u feel better to know I am thoroughly enjoying ur tweets today."
jugglingscarves @[deleted] Well, as long as someone's getting something out today. I'll call that a partial win. :)
jugglingscarves @[deleted] out *of* today, I meant. Off I go to go train another new hire! (Tweeted this before but Brizzly ate it)
And she responded: "totally am. Eek! to clarify: not at your expense (!!!) but from your creative play-by-plays"
jugglingscarves @[deleted] Flattery will get you everywhere. This 2nd one went better. Learning from my mistakes. Summarize the instructions ...
jugglingscarves @[deleted]... have them read them, then take 'em out demonstrate what I want. This one's a keeper. I think I scared off the other one. :(
Shortly before 5, after an entire day of radio silence from this person, I fired up Word and started to type up a script for myself: what to do if I get her on the phone, what to say to her voicemail. I didn't want to stumble or sound indecisive. I didn't want to be rude, either--another reason to choose my words beforehand. First thing is to say I was expecting her today. Is she all right (she could've gotten sick. That negates all of this. Then it's a simple matter of call-me-when-you're-better)? If she's all right, good. Did she get my email? Explain what my email was about if she didn't read it yet. Ask if she'll be in tomorrow, and at what time. If she later finds that she cannot come, she needs to tell me. I don't need to know why, just that she's not coming. And if we have another day like today, where she doesn't come and doesn't contact me, then I'll assume she no longer wants this job and I will make other arrangements.

Voicemail option? Similar. Only variation is that I need her to show up or contact me tomorrow by 11. I'd originally said 10, but then realized I was going to be at another location from 9-11, so I moved it back to 11.

While I was writing this up, the department head came by to see if I'd called yet. I told her what I was doing. She said she did that too sometimes with phone calls. It's helps you focus and not stumble. Did I want her to stay while I made this call? For moral support? I said, no, I really didn't want anyone witnessing me being a bitch. She laughed, and said, "You don't have to be mean, just firm." That's what I was trying for, I said. In my head I asked myself: Did I just say "bitch" in front of my boss's boss? Yes, I believe I did. Luckily it doesn't seem to bother her.

And so I called. Got her voicemail. Left a message that was polite but firm, and told her that in any event she should make sure she records the time she worked on this project so that she gets paid for it. (Internal snark: yeah, all 45 minutes of it).
jugglingscarves Just left serious do-you-want-to-work-here-you'd-better-call-me message on my AWOL employee's voicemail. She has until 11 tomorrow morning
She'll either call, email, show up, or ignore me altogether. In any event, I know what to do next.

Boy howdy, I sure don't like this supervising thing. On a positive note, the other woman seems to have caught right on. Third person starts Thursday. Here's hoping for 2 out of 3 are keepers!

Edited 3/31 to add: And apparently threats work. She emailed me at 5 minutes after midnight this morning, apologizing for not showing up. She was attending a job fair (that she probably knew about weeks ahead of time, I might add), and she is attending another one today. And she gave me definite start and end times for every day she plans to work (Hallelujah!). She seemed to think she was going to be working this weekend, but that ain't gonna fly. I'd like to be confident that she knows what she's doing before I let her loose in the stacks on a weekend with no one around to answer questions for her. So I emailed her back suggesting we just start over fresh next Tuesday. And I told her that from now on, if she isn't going to show up for a shift I need to be contacted prior to the start of that shift. I need to know whether to expect her or not. She sent me an email back agreeing to this, promising to be there on Tuesday.

Wish us luck. I think we're both going to need it.

Hire #2 continues to be wonderful, bless 'er, and Hire #3 starts tomorrow morning. Man, I hope he works out. I don't think I can take having to chase around someone else.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Checking in

Hello. Yes, I am still here. Still having a problem focusing. It's been a busy few weeks at work, and when I get home all I want to do is goof off.

I got thrown for a loop this past Wednesday. I was talking to my team mate, glanced up, and saw my supervisor headed down the aisle looking right at me. She gave me the universal signal for "come here" (index finger: bend/straighten/repeat).

"Uh-oh," I said to Bess. "I'm getting The Finger. Gotta go."

We went to her office, she shut the door (uh-oh again), and then she told me the project I've been working on for about 2 1/2 years has just been expanded, and I'm going to have three part-time folks to help me. Here's the kicker -- I'm supervising them! She gave me the applications (I knew there was a call going out for help with this project, but I didn't know it had been expanded), told me to pick some, interview 'em, and hire three. She's going to get me set up for the program that we use to keep track of the part-timers' hours, and we're going to start as soon as possible.

Oh, and over the summer? She wants a "whole crew," whatever that means. So I have three people to supervise to start with and then I'm getting more.

Don't mind me, I'll just be over here in the corner having a panic attack.

I don't want to supervise. I don't mind training people, I just don't wanna be The Boss Lady. I have no choice, though, so after a couple hours of what I've been calling "booga-booga freak-out" mode, I sat down and came up with a plan of attack. Since then I've been interviewing, hiring, writing up instructions, gathering supplies, setting up a work space (more of a pick-up and drop-off center), giving people gentle nudges to get me the things I need so that I actually have something for these three to do when they show up for work.

I told my Mom, she's thrilled. And I heard from my sister who, after three weeks in her new position, has been drafted as a trainer to help out with something. Three weeks, and she's made enough of an impression on them that they want her to teach other people. My Mom is so proud of her kids right now, she could burst.

So could I, but not from pride. Part of the reason I've never sought a management position is that I'm afraid of what I'd do if given power. The little rational voice in the back of my head says I'd be a good supervisor precisely because I'm afraid of turning into a tyrant. And goodness knows, I've seen plenty of those to know how not to behave. I hope.

In life list news, I don't know if you noticed the new gadget on the sidebar. it's from LibraryThing. In an effort to get through #4 (Read every book I own) I've started to catalog them. (Ugh. Library people. Go on. Roll your eyes. It's OK.) Can't know if I've read everything if I don't know what I have, right? Right.

Until just about 1/2 an hour ago, the book in my "Currently reading" box was Zombies of the Gene Pool, by Sharyn McCrumb. It's a murder mystery that happens at a science fiction writers' reunion party. Next up: Fox Evil, by Minette Walters. Then maybe I'll read the one about Eleanor of Aquitaine. Or something by Garrison Keillor. Or maybe I'll finally read Slaves of New York, which I've had so long that I don't remember where I got it.

Or maybe I'll try to figure out how to use the camera on my new phone. I bought a BlackBerry, gang. Yup. With a touchscreen. The fella who helped me at the Verizon store yesterday looked up my account and said, "Wow! You've been eligible for an upgrade since 2005!" Yeah, well, it ain't broke so...but now it is. Poor old thing is dying. Can't pull down a signal without using most of the battery. I've been using it as my alarm clock for two years now (because I can't find where I packed the alarm clock. It's in here somewhere!), and that's really about all it's good for any more. So I adjusted my voice and text plan (I very rarely talk on my cell. Last month I used one minute, and that was to check a voicemail. And I think that's the first time I used it to call anyone all year so far), added on the data package, and I'm only paying about $10 more a month than I used to.

And? I have a fancy-schmancy phone. With wi-fi. And email. Squeee! And a camera! I've been feeling a bit lost without my camera. Only two more weeks until I can collect it from my folks.

Added two more things to the life list:

56. View the Perseid Meteor Shower from a really good vantage point. (Arizona desert? Pennsylvania's Black Forest (a night sky preserve)? Not sure yet.)
57. Go kite-flying.

And I refined #54 a bit:

54. See 1000 independent/foreign/art-house films.

Because the other was just too easy. Already seen one: 24-Hour Party People, about the music scene in Manchester in the 1980s. Very interesting to see where the songs I grew up with in the 80s came from. One movie down, 999 to go!

Psst. Bunny alert! Nibbling on the grass outside the window in the computer lab where I am right now. Look!


Thank you, BlackBerry!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I'd like to say that I've spent the week horribly busy working on my life list. You know, getting those projects done, signing up for guitar lessons, learning French, arm-twisting my Mom into getting a passport for a trip to a country she thinks hates her, buying and consuming a wide variety of fruit...

Yeah. I'd like to say that. What really happened? I saw Alice in Wonderland last weekend, in 3-D. I liked it a lot, except for the last ten minutes. But then, any return to The Real World from Wonderland was bound to be a let-down, right? I did my taxes, filing them online for the first time (what was I fighting? I'm getting me refund Tuesday. Freaking Tuesday! Booyah!). I wrote my piece of my performance review for work. I called my Mom to see how her doctor's appointment went. Oh, and I ate a plum. A black plum. And a MacIntosh apple. And a navel orange. Oh! And some red seedless grapes. 4 down, 996 to go!

The rest of the week I wasted with a computer game I bought a few weeks ago called "Plants vs. Zombies." Sweet Mother of Pearl, is that addictive! The premise is simple: you're being attacked by zombies, and your plants are there to defend you. They shoot things, like peas, spores, cactus needles, cabbages, corn (interspersed with big gobs of butter, that momentarily stop the zombies). The squash? Squashes. The cherries explode (a la cherry bombs). So do the jalapeños. Once you get to the end of the adventure part of the game, all sorts of other game modes get unlocked.

If you have some time to kill, go play with the demo. ** I warn you though, playing the demo made me want to download the free trial. Once I got to the last level available for the trial, I dragged out my credit card to pay $20 for the full version. I'd say I've gotten my money's worth.

But I'm not gonna play it tonight. No. No! I have stuff to do. Laundry, dishes, projects, I cannot spend any more time with the plants and the zombies.

"Zombies .... are coming!"


You know what? The first night I played it, I was so enamored of it I dreamed about it that night. And the next day? I played better.

In other news, I did venture out of the house on the rainiest, most blustery day so far this year to attend the Home Show out at the indoor sports arena on campus. Got a few ideas. And probably a cold. Then I went to Petsmart, because a local no-kill animal shelter was bringing in cats that were available for adoption.

No. Not ready to bring home a new cat just yet. I just really, really needed to touch one. Hung around talking to the woman who runs the shelter--out of her home. She had started as a volunteer for another no-kill shelter, catching feral cats and trying to gentle them. She was keeping them at her place for the other organization, at their request, and when new management took over they pretended she and her 20+ foster cats were not their problem. So she went registered herself as non-profit and started her own shelter.

I'm glad she's not affiliated with them. I don't think I'd ever adopt a pet from them. Though if I had one that needed a home (like those two kittens I found a couple years ago) I'd try to get this organization to take it, and probably for the same reason. They act like they're the animal's equivalent to the Office of Children and Youth. They keep tabs on the pet, you have to bring it back to them periodically for them to check that it's still all right, they contact your vet to make sure you're taking the pet for regular check-ups, and they reserve the right to swoop down and take the animal back at any time.

I see some of the reasoning behind that, it's to protect the animal. There's a line between protective and possessive though, and I think they're dangerously close to it. I don't like having my privacy invaded, so I won't be adopting anyone from there. This other woman seems to be much more laid-back. She gave me her card for when I'm ready to bring someone home.

Okay, that's it for now. Those dishes aren't going to do themselves.

**I am not a paid spokesperson. Just a fan of really good computer games.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Life list: week 1

So not even 24 hours after I posted the first half of my life list, I got a comment from the marketing director of the Stratford Festival. Did you see that? It stunned me.

I emailed her and told her that I have no idea when this is going to happen--I don't even know if my mother will agree to go--and I asked if there was any expiration date on the offer. She said no, just keep her address on file and use it when I'm ready.

I talked to Mom about it. She is, as I thought she would be, hesitant. It's based on a bad reaction to the way she was treated by some docent in a museum in Toronto back in the seventies. Woman made some comment about how the whole Nixon/Watergate thing would have never happened up there.

"Mom? That was, um, forty years ago."

"Well, there have been other things."

"Like what?"

"On the news."

"Like what?"

She didn't say anything. I still don't know quite what she's talking about, but then I don't read, watch, or listen to much news. The news industry's main objective as far as I can tell is to scare their audience. Scare them so badly that they'll need to come back again, to see what else they should be scared of. Either that or make them angry. Or both. No thanks.

"I just to don't want to spend my money somewhere that I'm not welcome."

"Mom, I've been in Toronto and Stratford a number of times, and I've never felt unwelcome. And not just because I'm spending money. They're polite, they're friendly, they're interested in strangers. At least, all the people I've met were."

Tell you what, if I do get her up there, we're not going anywhere near whatever museum that was. She told me, I can't remember. Something House. Yeah, that's helpful. And I want to say it had to do with government, which is why Nixon got mentioned. Mackenzie House?

I just looked up Mackenzie house. Vaguely to do with government, more to do with history and a Scotsman, it sounds like a place Mom would want to go visit.


And then JustMe sent me a bunch of stuff on weaving and spinning guilds in my area. Did I say thank-you yet, JM? I meant to. Some of my friends who knit also spin. I'm going to follow up with them about where they learned, is this local guild still active, things like that.

And then she sent me a recipe for tomato gravy that sounds pretty good. Thank you for that too. Gonna try that sometime soon. What I meant by "from scratch" was "from all fresh ingredients," and I think I can adapt this one. When I was looking around for what to do with my CSA tomatoes last year, I couldn't find a sauce recipe that used fresh ripe tomatoes, or didn't have tomato paste (or, in one case tomato sauce) listed as an ingredient. Yes. Tomato sauce as an ingredient to make tomato sauce. I'm not naming names (but it rhymes with Nettie Docker), but some of those old stand-by name-trademarked cookbooks are no help at all. I gave up and decided to stew them instead.

I think I need to get myself a copy of the Ball Canning Book. I'm probably going to need it anyway, if I really am planning to use everything I get from the CSA this year. Mom told me there's a simple tomato sauce recipe in there. I could try that one too.

And I've started on the 1000 fruits list. I decided that different varieties of the same fruit count as different fruits. Concord grapes don't have the same taste, color, or texture as seedless green Thomspon grapes, do they? So, different fruits. I've bought Pink Lady apples, some bananas, and a Korean butter pear. I'm going to try the butter pear tomorrow, but as I have no camera I can't show you what it looks like. I'll have a do-over after Easter and take pictures. Until then, I'll try to stick to the more common fruits.

I tell you what, though, just the idea of trying 1000 different fruits has made me pay more attention in the produce section. I didn't know Wegman's had prickly pears. Or kumquats. Or star fruit. There's three more that need to wait for the camera before I try 'em.

I'm gonna look into how much guitar lessons are. Someone in town who I know slightly (through Twitter) just mentioned he's about to start lessons, once he finds a good, patient teacher. We local Tweeters are getting together for lunch next Friday. I'll have to ask him how his search is going, and if he can give me a recommendation.

And now I need to go work on one of my many, many unfinished projects. I think tonight it's knitting.

Oh! And tomorrow? I'm going to go see "Alice in Wonderland" with some more friends from Twitter.

I added a few more things to the list, by the way:

51. Attend a Renaissance Faire. In costume. (Really need to get that "confident seamstress" thing going, don't I?)
52. Own and wear (on a regular basis) a black leather biker jacket.
53. Visit the farm in New Zealand where Hobbiton was built for The Lord of the Rings movies.
54. Watch 1000 movies. (Yeah, like that'll be hard. Maybe it should be "watch 1000 movies and then never watch another one.")

For the fruit and the movie thing, I'm not counting things I've already done. I've eaten a banana before, but I'm not counting it until I eat the one for my list. As for movies, I'm not going to count things I've already seen, even if I see it again. Ever. So maybe it should be:

54. Watch 1000 new (to me) movies.

I think this will finally get me to clear out my DVR queue and get through my Netflix list. I have a habit of collecting the names of movies that I want to watch, but then never seeing them. I've had the same two Netflix discs for months now. And my DVR is over half full. So maybe this is a challenge after all.

55. Make a pie from fruit I picked myself.

And now it's ten-thirty, too late to work on a project. I'm starting to get droopy.

Good night, everybody.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Ambitious undertaking

Okay, here's what I've been doing.

Almost two years ago, Maggie Mason (Mighty Girl--my bloggy hero) wrote up a list of 100 things she wants to do before she goes. She called it her Mighty Life List. I like that. I like it a whole lot more than calling it a "bucket list," which is what people tend to say when I start to describe it. Now that she has it written out, she's working her way through it. She often urges anyone (everyone) to make a list of their own. She calls it "transformative."

I thought of doing something like that, but I didn't think I had nearly enough things I wanted to do to make a whole long list of them. Last Thursday, after reading her post about a conference she just attended, and how her roommate started to write her own Mighty List right there in their room, I decided what the heck? Let's see what I can come up with. So I grabbed a piece of scratch paper and started writing things down--things I've said I wanted to do, things I've looked at and admired, wistful vague wishes, things I thought I should do...anything I could remember. Before I knew it, I had twenty. And I wasn't done. The more I write, the more things pop up. I don't have a hundred, but I do have a lot. Here's what I have so far, in the order that they occurred to me:
  1. Go on on Alaskan cruise.
  2. Have Mom teach me how to make grape jelly.
  3. Dye my hair red.
  4. Read every book I own.
  5. Learn to spin yarn.
  6. Learn to weave (maybe with the yarn I just learned to spin).
  7. Make spaghetti sauce from scratch.
  8. Take guitar lessons.
  9. Make my home look the way I see it in my head.
  10. Read Les Miserables in the original French.
  11. Learn French (this should probably be switched with #10).
  12. Knit a sweater.
  13. Become a more confident seamstress.
  14. Get my weight under control.
  15. After I do #13 and #14-- make a quilt out of my "fat clothes."
  16. See the Grand Canyon.
  17. Learn how to apply make-up correctly.
  18. Have a pint at The Eagle and Child in Oxford.
  19. Ride a San Francisco cable car.
  20. Taste 1000 fruits (shamelessly lifted from Maggie's list).
  21. Learn to drive.
  22. Become dog-owned.
  23. See Stonehenge.
  24. Find my friend Suzanne's grave and lay flowers on it.
  25. Learn Gaelic.
  26. Take a yoga class.
  27. Use every single thing I receive in my CSA crates.
  28. Make that storage room I've been calling a craft room into a real craft room.
  29. Design a blog of my own instead of using a canned theme from Blogger.
  30. Take a cross-country train trip.
  31. Stand on the glass floor at the top of the CN tower in Toronto and look down between my feet.
  32. Take Mom to the Stratford Festival of Canada.
  33. Attend a Blogher conference.
  34. Go fishing with my Dad.
  35. Finish all of the half-done projects I have lying around.
  36. Get all my finished embroidery framed.
  37. Handmade Christmas (everyone on my list gets a handmade Christmas present from me one year).
  38. Visit Edinburgh.
  39. Walk home from work for one solid month, regardless of weather conditions (scrawled in different ink: except lightning!).
  40. Pay my respects at the grave of Jane Austen.
  41. Go Christmas caroling with my sister.
  42. Grow tomatoes.
  43. Write a novel.
  44. Join a choir again.
  45. Make a calendar using 12 photos I took myself, and distribute this calendar as a present.
  46. Learn to tango.
  47. See the Mona Lisa.
  48. Buy and decorate my own Christmas tree.
  49. Wade in the Pacific Ocean.
  50. Take a tai chi class.
That's 50! I found fifty in under a week! I know I'm not done. This list is supposed to be an in-process list, 'cause if you stay interested in what's going on around you, you're going to find more that you want to do. Right? Right.

As I was compiling, you know what I figured out? I started working from this list a while ago, before I thought to write things down. Here are some things that I could put in the "done" column already:

  1. Take bellydance lessons.
  2. Learn to use a potter's wheel.
  3. Buy a home of my own.
  4. See Kansas.
  5. Visit the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.
  6. Take drawing lessons.
  7. Learn to fix a toilet.
  8. Organize a "NASCAR experience" birthday present for my Dad from my family.
  9. Organize tickets for Cirque du Soleil as a birthday present for my Mom from my family.
  10. Get published.
Okay, lemme 'splain that last one. Yes. I've been published. It was an article that is completely not my field, a piece I co-authored with a friend of mine who was a PhD candidate at the time (she has the degree now). We'd done a presentation together at a conference and afterward someone suggested we write an article. We did. It didn't get accepted for the publication we'd been suggested to try, but another one liked it and bam! Published. And a good thing, too, after all the work we put into it.

All right. Off I go to see if I can think up some more, and to start figuring out how to do what I've put on here so far. Wish me luck! #33 is already booked and paid for, so that's progress right there.

P.S. to my sister. Any of these you wanna join me in doing, feel free. I mean, just 'cause I said I want to go fishing with Dad doesn't mean you can't come too. Y'know?

Still here

I know it's been at least a week since I posted. Sorry. I'm working on something right now, and it's taking me a while. As soon as I finish I'll show it to you.

It's not nearly as exciting as it sounds.

Also, I got sucked into "The Tudors" a few weeks back, just found out that all three seasons are available for viewing On Demand by my cable provider--they do this from time to time for people like me who studiously avoid shows for three years at a go and then suddenly fall in love with them. Season 4 starts next month sometime and I want to catch up. I hate walking into something in the middle. So all this weekend when I haven't been working on this other thing I've been watching Jonathan Rhys Meyers portray Henry Tudor. I've gotten as far as the end of Season 2--Anne Boleyn just got beheaded.

I wonder if they're going to continue this series past Henry? I'd like to see them tackle Mary's reign, and maybe do something closer to the truth about Elizabeth's than the two Cate Blanchett movies got. Those movies were all right, but Hollywood and history don't ever mix very well.

Okay, time to get dressed and ready for work.

Hey guess what, gang! It's March! Spring is coming! Yaaaaay!