Monday, September 21, 2015

Big, Small, Plus and Minus; Vent Right Here and Clear Your Sinus!

Am in an unreasonably cheerful mood today!  Maybe because I'm skipping a training thing (optional, anyway), and we survived the hottest day evah yesterday, and some events have persuaded me of the good and generous hearts of the universe.

Wildlife news:  [1] Anxious family members reported that Polly the cat had a bloody nose, but it turned out the other cat had swiped near her nose; [2] racoon pawprints in our garage, where the beast attended to washing up in the dog's water dish.  The pawprints are pretty darned funny, Polly's fine, and the cats have made up.

New dryer, all hooked up!  Garage marginally neater after all the moving stuff around.  Old dryer is sitting around making the side yard look like a junk yard for now, but the local recycling center will take it next weekend.  Yay!

On the menu:  Pasta salad with lots of veggies, bits of mozzarella, light oil/vinegar dressing, olives.  For some reason, I neglected to make this favorite all summer.  Cooking this morning, before it gets hot again.  (Less hot, I am told, than yesterday.)

Forecast:  They keep promising us an El Nino with lots of rain, but apparently no time soon.  There's yet another big fire near where my aunt used to live.  Enough, already.

Albatrossi:  Think this will be a quiet and possibly productive day, since everybody else is at the training that I'm ditching.

What's going on with you?


esperanza said...

AW: The more I work with some of my Albatross colleagues, the more I like them and respect their skills and gifts.

W: and then there are the other ones.

W: Also Albatross-related: You know what I hate about writing? Editing.

esperanza said...

Related to the two above whines: I received feedback, all from the same individual, that the document was (a) too unique; and (b) too generic. What?

kathy a. said...

That, my friend, is not editing. I like editing, trying to make useful comments and suggestions for clarity, to cut down on unnecessary verbiage, etc. And I like getting editorial suggestions.

But really -- how can something be "too unique" and "too generic" at the same time???

esperanza said...

He had some other, more concrete suggestions. The format was too unique and the content too generic. I am guilty of writing something and turning it in/preaching it/whatever with hardly a second glance. I get bored editing.

kathy a. said...

Sometimes people just like to style things the way they always do.

Hope the editorial suggestions make sense, though. I appreciate the second set of eyes, because things that make perfect sense in my own mind may not be so compelling to others. I leave things out, don't explain; or sometimes drift in the other direction, and beat something to death. Not to mention the tangents.

esperanza said...

Oh yes, many/most of the suggestions are helpful, and I asked for them. My internal dialogue is not very gracious as I receive them, though :)

Anonymous said...

AW: had a lovely interaction at our local library book sale. Helped a woman stock her sister-in-law's classroom by suggesting good books for 5-12 grades (while I was also doing that for my own classroom). Fun to find gems in the tables of books. Then, when I was in line to pay, she came over and donated $5 toward the books I was getting for my students!
What a nice moment!
Reminds me to also pay it forward!
--Neighbor Lady

kathy a. said...

Fabulous, NL! Love that story.

esperanza said...

NL, that is great! What's better than a bargain? Meeting nice and generous people while you're getting a bargain!

Sue said...

Sorry about the editing "assistance" from your colleague esperanza. Sheesh.

I hope your day was as productive as you hoped kathy! I'm glad Polly's nose was just scratched.

How lovely NL!!

AW: The ouchie back is somewhat improved.

W: I'm not convinced it's improved enough for 12 hours of driving and three days of meetings on standard folding church chairs (ie Instruments of Torture). Two days til departure. We'll see.

esperanza said...

Sue, you don't even get to sit on pews? Those are bad, too, because my feet never reach the ground, but at least there are more possibilities for squirming. And three days? We do two, which is bad enough. My brain would be completely shut down.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

My back just got a twinge from the thought of three days in folding chairs.

Esperanza, I sure hope the rest of the editing feedback was more helpful than "too unique, too generic."

I'm glad that Polly is okay, Kathy!

AW: E is completely on the mend! She's walking all the time, and is only a little sore first thing in the morning, and if she hasn't been wearing shoes for too long. My back is relieved that I am no longer hauling her around all the time.

A little melancholy: I spent the morning helping two friends divide up their kitchenware, as the prepare to be fully separated by the end of the month. I was their maid of honour, and helped them move into their first home together, thirteen years ago. The reality of this situation is hitting me now, and I find that I'm grieving a little. (To be clear, I also completely understand why their separating and agree that this is the healthiest choice for both of them. But, as I sorted through their familiar belongings, it was so sad.)

Queen of West Procrastination said...

W: You guys, autocorrect on my phone is making it look like I don't know the difference between "their" and "they're."

kathy a. said...

Sitting anywhere for 3 days sounds painful, but more so on folding chairs. (I also find chairs at these kinds of things uncomfortable because my legs are short, and do not reach the ground -- can you take a footrest?)

Yay, E!

Autocorrect is the devil's own.

Sue said...

esperanza, we get to sit on pews for worship twice a day, but that's it. I hear you re: feet not touching the floor. *sigh*

It's actually four days, but I'm ditching the Sunday worship and closing motions so I can get on the road early. At least it's only a few times a year. It would be much worse to go to a Presbytery meeting every month like many of my big-city colleagues.

QWP - I'm so glad E is on the mend!! Yay! Sorry to hear about your friends. There is a grieving process when relationships end. I go through a sad when I find out couples I've married have split up - it's a hard time. Even more so when you're close to both people.

(darn autocorrect - we know that you know the difference!)

kathy a. said...

Sue, hopefully the big-city folks don't have to drive 6 hours each way to get to their meeting... But still, monthly sounds like a lot.

QWP, also sorry about your friends. They must care for you a great deal, to want you with them during this sad part.

AW: The heat broke, I think!

Rant: Certain segments of political discourse are being conducted like roller derby, plus anything-goes rhetorical weapons, and with no referees. Or something.

Sue said...

kathy, the Big City folk definitely don't have the distances to travel for their meetings. Most spend 3-4 hours a month in a nearby church basement.

I'm glad the heat is breaking up for you. I can't even imagine it!

W: Well, darn. I've spent a good part of the day standing at my desk because I can't get comfortable in my office chair. This is not good.

AW: Massage booked for tomorrow at noon.

KLee said...

Sorry that I've been MIA recently. Things got worse with my Mom before they got any better. She's been in and out of the hospital, and then back again, since I was last here. She just got out this past Saturday. We are fervently praying that this is the last time that we have to see her in the hospital. Right before she got out, they did a bone marrow biopsy because they were afraid they'd given her leukemia with the chemo overdose. Luckily, the preliminary results say they don't think that has happened.

I'm back in kindergarten, finally. Things are looking up as far as the actual job is concerned; the bosses are still buttheads. even got a 2% cost-of-living raise.

Offspring is well, thanks be to God. Enjoying school, trying to get ready for Study Abroad in London. I still miss her.

How is everyone?

Sue said...

Hi KLee. Oh my goodness, you've had so much on your plate. It all sounds like a rollercoaster, but not the fun kind. I'm glad things are better for you work-wise, and that Offspring is doing well.

liz said...

Sending love

esperanza said...

KLee, so glad to see you here. Sorry your mom is going through such a rough time, and you too.

esperanza said...

AW: I receive the newsletter from the church where I grew up. I usually skim it at best, but I did read an article this week, from a long-time member about "what this church means to me." It was touching, because she shared lots of memories from when I was there, and then she closed with this, which is just so awesome that I have to share it somewhere: "...experiencing a church family open to becoming a multi-generational,multi-ethnic, inclusive, progressive, and loving fellowship of believers who can look forward to an amazing future of worship, learning and service. I want to be a part of that future."

I'm so proud of them.

kathy a. said...

KLee, so glad your mom is out of the hospital and feeling better! Also that the job is good. Cluesticks to the boss people.

When does Offspring go abroad? For how long? That will be so exciting for her.

Sue, hope the massage helps!

Esperanza, that's sweet.

kathy a. said...

So, my 28 year old son is now getting the super-dooper background security clearance check, and he needs all employers and all places that he has lived going back to forever. Which means I got two calls this afternoon looking for info up to 10 years ago, and yes, he has a file cabinet drawer of minimally sorted papers here, which I could access by moving things. But sadly, no, nothing mentioned the names of supervisors. Fortunately, I found the missing apartment address on my old email.

Mom approves of orderly files, and of copying the thing that has ALL the background information, for just in case.

esperanza said...

Albatross #2 whine: someone assumed I'd be at a meeting this Saturday. Nope. It's Sweet's birthday party, PLUS you didn't tell me you needed me there. Two attempts to delegate have failed. So I'm calling in and being put on speaker phone. That should work well, don'tcha think?

kathy a. said...

What? They assumed you'd be there?? Cluesticks. Speakerphones kind of suck, but not as bad as being there instead of the party.

Happy Birthday to Sweet!!

W: Further questions from son about everybody in the family, and extra questions because his sister was born on an overseas military base. She could be a terrist!!111!!! Also, that pesky misdemeanor he had 8.5 years ago, the paperwork for which is handily stored here.

esperanza said...

My dad had to do similar paperwork many years ago.

I'm only "needed" at the meeting for 15-20 minutes. And it's 1.5 hours away. Let's do the math and agree that speakerphone is the best option.

kathy a. said...

What does Sweet want for her party? (Kid parties are just the best.)

liz said...

I've had to do that paperwork several times. Make sure he keeps several copies, he'll need it again. My husband was born in c@mp z@m@ Japan, so I had to have all that paper work; and I had to be sworn to secrecy by my step-mother before she would reveal her middle name to me.

liz said...

Esperanza, what a lovely tribute your friend wrote. I'm sorry that you are being forced to take part in a conference call you weren't given a vote to hold

Sue said...

Wow! esperanza, that is amazing. Sounds like a wonderful faith community. The Albatross#2 committee, on the other hand, needs a cluesticking.

That's a lot of paperwork kathy. It's the same here. Several members of my family have Super High Secret Squirrel clearance because of their work in the Navy. So much paper! We actually had two guys in trench coats at our door back in the seventies when my Dad was waiting for his clearance. They asked my Mom some questions and went back to their black, official-looking car. He got the clearance. Good times...

W: Post-massage feeling of being beaten up, but very kindly. Definite bruisy feeling tonight.

AW: I'm not going to Big Chunky Meeting. There is no way any meeting is worth the agony that a long car ride will bring. So I emailed my regrets and canceled my hotel reservation. I'll go to the office tomorrow morning and catch up on some work, then come home for the afternoon.

esperanza said...

Sue, I think that's a wise choice.

Sweet's birthday party: dolphin birthday cake. Princess pinata (I am normally pretty opposed to princessy stuff, but beating the snot out of a Princess does have some appeal. I may have to take a turn). Pinatas are fairly standard birthday party activities here. Pizza for supper. Playing. We are pretty low-key on the Pinterest-ish stuff. I like to do the cakes, so I do. I don't like to do decorations, so we don't. I despise party games, so we don't do that either. By the way, long-time Pixies, she's turning 8, which means we've been at this location for just over 8 years.

Sue said...

Love the party ideas esperanza!!! The cake sounds awesome. Also, Mullet nomination for "beating the snot out of a Princess does have some appeal." *snerk*

8 years!

AW: I definitely made the right choice. I didn't sleep much last night because of the ouch.

kathy a. said...

Good decision, Sue.

Esperanza, great party plans! We also skipped the party games (except the pinata), because the kids were always too excited playing with each other to want to do anything orderly.

Second the mullet nomination. ;)

kathy a. said...

If you have not seen this porcupine eating his first pumpkin, you MUST! Very recommended for little kids, too.

Meanwhile, it is burrito night. Mom is making a minimal effort -- canned organic refritos, homecooked and simmering spicy meat, shredded cheese, big tortillas, salsa, some sliced green onion and lettuce. Serve yourself.

esperanza said...

Taco/burrito/salad/arrange it how you wish night is a regular occurrence at our house. I usually have some beans cooked, and they're easy to warm up. (Side note: beans are the only thing I successfully cook in a crock pot. Easy as pie. No. Way easier than pie. Then I smash them up and pretend they're refried).

W: So tired. Mini not so tired.

kathy a. said...

I should remember to do things like make a batch of beans and package for future use. The crock pot is handy, and I use it for soups and stews; but ours is enormous, so I keep adding things, and then it is too much food, even with leftovers. My planning for meals is not ideal. Somehow, I got wired on quantities when my son was a teenager and his bandmates were here a lot -- leftovers didn't last long in those days!

W: My reviewer on Albatross I is all tied up with other things, and this thing will not be done until halloween.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Kathy a, that's a constant supper on our house, too. E is infatuated with burritos (which is great, because I can sneak a surprising number of vegetables into her, inside her burrito).

Esperanza, that sounds like great party plans. I can't believe she's 8! I started at Wednesday Whining (at Phantom's) at a point before your had any kids.

E is making a lot of proclamations about her preferences today: for her birthday (in December), she'd like to have a tea party with a couple of friends, cake, and lots of balloons. That can be arranged easily. She also changed her mind about her Halloween costume: for the past few weeks, she's been excited about being a t-rex for Halloween, but she's changed her mind. I now have promised to make her a penguin costume.

AW: I found instructions online for making an easy penguin costume, using a hoodie and black sweatpants, both of which we have in abundance. If she sticks with this plan for the month, this plan is cheaper than the dinosaur plan.

W: I'm sick, and so is the kid. She's sick, and still has a sore ankle, and that makes her a bit miserable.

W that Sue will understand: current projections have our current terrible Prime Minister winning the election, and I'm so worried.

KLee said...

Glad to virtually see everyone. Offspring will be in London from the beginning of February until the beginning of May. Classes there will actually end before term does here stateside, but there's no better opportunity for her to travel around Europe, which I'm encouraging. We've done most of the prep work (renew passport, update immunizations, get International Student Identity card for discounts and freebies, hound our friends and family for spare change like buskers, etc...). Now, to get her plane ticket booked. It's RIDICULOUS what our local "International" (pardon my guffawing) airport wants to charge for a round trip ticket. $1100 from here, and $700 from a sister city 2 hours north.

Sorry that I hear about Abatrossi and Big Chunky Meetings are still whine fodder, and I am really freaking out that Esperanza's baby is turning 8. I shouldn't be all that surprised, duh -- kids DO grow up, after all. Mine will be 20 in January, and my heart hurts a skosh every time I say that. LOVE LOVE LOVE the penguin costume idea! But, then again, I'm cuckoo about penguins in general.

Speaking of penguins, if any of you were fans back in the day, Berkeley Breathed has revived "Bloom County", my favorite comic strip! I have laughing like a loon at the recent political ones, where Opus is running for president. When Milo asked what he wanted, meaning what his platform was, he responded, "Two spaces after a period.". My kind of candidate! :)

Yeesh, Kathy, on the paperwork, but come to think of it, when my husband worked for a 3rd party computer/IT repair company, he had to jump all those hoops to be able to service the machines in the local FBI office. He almost didn't get clearance because he didn't disclose that his mother made him see a counselor after his parents' divorce when he was a child. He'd honestly just forgotten.

Sorry about sick kids, kids who won't sleep, and all other woes. I'd write more but I have to be up a o' dark thirty tomorrow to help with a baby shower tomorrow. The mother is one of my former GS girls, one Offspring's age. It's a touchy subject with the family, but there's a baby coming in about 2-3 weeks, whether everyone's happy about it or not. She's always wanted to be a mother, but I wished she'd lived a little more of her life first.

Love and hugs to everyone. More next time.

kathy a. said...

QWP -- the penguin sounds adorable! I'm a big fan of using hoodies, and recommend felt for easy costuming, since you can just cut the edges and not have to hem. (We actually still have a dino hoodie that I made for daughter when she was about 3, with colorful spines running from the head down the back. Stegosaurus?)

KLee -- Hope the baby shower goes well! (Yes, things happen...)

I love Bloom County! Have been laughing with friends about the 2 spaces (correct) vs. one space issue.

The study abroad and some travel sound wonderful. Wish I'd had that chance.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

KLee! It's good to see you around here. (And I'm relieved to hear that the chemo overdose doesn't give your mom leukemia, but am still so mad at them for overdosing her in the first place!) I understand the heart-squeezing feelings around the baby shower, and hope it goes wonderfully.

Kathy: good call about using felt. I was just trying to figure out the logistics of sewing the parts onto the hoodie. (I'm not so crafty. Perhaps I'll enlist my MIL to help with construction.)

I'm chuckling today: so, I'm too sick to go to church today, and am missing a baptismal service and a church dinner afterwards. I sent Mr. Q and E with a slow cooker full of chicken stew (I've finally learned my lesson that, for our church dinners, I either bring something that needs to be cold, or I bring something that can live in the slow cooker through the service. No longer will I vie for access to the one oven.) Mr. Q just sent me a text: "Good call on the slow cooker. Discussions about oven use are getting intense down here."

It's funny because I'm not there.

kathy a. said...

QWP, hope you are feeling better. Good planning on the crock pot!

Some other costuming cheats: You can baste or safety-pin pieces onto the hoodie, so it does not need to be forever penguin. All that is required for a costume is a recognizable impression!

Don't know what your penguin instructions say, but if I was doing one, I'd try a white felt bib for the front (maybe attached to a black ribbon to tie loosely around the neck for ease of removal), and wing-like pieces to pin on the sleeves. Maybe stuff the inside of the hoodie with something to add bulk? Oh, and maybe some face paint on her nose/beak? If you're going all out, yellow or orange shoes (or felt shoe covers, just over the top so she doesn't trip).

(My secret resume includes about 200 school costumes, for plays or international day. Much more fun than the day job!)

Anonymous said...

Your church has an oven? #Jealous!

-liz Miller posting from iPhone

KLee said...

I love the community effort being made for the penguin costume -- my contribution: use craft foam (yes, it's a thing!) and cut flipper shapes out for feet. Attach over shoes with elastic, or in a pinch, duct tape. No special footwear needed, no mad sewing skillz required! Safety pin or baste white felt onto hoodie and sweatpants combo for tummy. Likewise with flipper shapes for arms. I may make one of these for school for myself.

Baby shower went fine, except that I got sick right at the end and had to slink out to the bathroom to quietly ack up a plate of barbecue, Brunswick stew, and a jagged pile of tortilla chips. Sorry for the visual, BTW. I did get to set up most of the artistic displays in the room -- a bulletin board with photos of the Mama and Daddy to be, interspersed with lots of GS memorabilia (girl and her Mom were both GS, MOM was a leader for many years and still works for our local GS organization, and the shower was held at our GS camp); and a display around the fireplace of GS stuff, the Mama-to-be's badges and patches, and momentos from her childhood. It was very sweet. A little thing my more snarky pixies will enjoy.... Grandma to be (my closest friend) had picked up a handful of children's books at garage sales, and wanted one displayed on every table, along with a pink Mason jar of flowers, baby-themed confetti, and a small sculpture of an owl. I artfully arranged all that, but took one book back into the kitchen. I said, "Given everything that's happened, and that i don't want to offend anyone, I'm going to leave this book in here." my friend looked at the cover and about snorted up a lung laughing. It was a Sesame Street book: "Everyone Makes Mistakes.".

Felt like crap, so I came home early. Rested a bit, and then JF and I went grocery shopping. Mistake. Had to mainline peppermints and chug water so I didn't barf in Walmart. Got home, and JF insisted on bringing in the groceries while I rested, but he tripped over a downed limb in our dark yard, and bunged up his knee and elbow in the process. He felt worse because he landed on the milk and eggs. We salvaged about eight eggs of 18 and half a gallon of milk, so it wasn't a total loss.

QWP, sorry you aren't feeling well, but at least you don't have to participate in the Great Oven Debacle. I always tend to bring things that don't require much maintenance like warming or having to remain cool, but then again, I am not a pastor's wife, so people don't expect me to be Martha Stewart.

Burritos would sound good, if not for yesterday's ack-fest. May make something lighter for dinner, though I'm not yet sure what. I know it'll be chicken of some sort, because our freezer is busting at the seams with chicken. Probably have to dig around in my pantry to come up with a suitable side dish -- it's like a treasure hunt!

Being sick and old sucks. I did not sign up for this shit. :)

kathy a. said...

Eclipse of the moon! No cloud cover! Everybody forgot a camera, but pretty cool.

esperanza said...

Clouds here. :(

AW: Birthday party weekend is done.