Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life as a troglodyte

I was browsing blog posts earlier, and keep seeing the following sentiment: "You must be living under a giant rock if you don't know what's going on with the financial markets."

Why, yes, yes I am living under a giant rock, thankyouverymuch. In this rock, we limit our tv viewing to 2 "short shows" a night, and Charlotte seldom requests the evening news (only when she's used up her allotment of boob tube time and is wheedling for more). Even with the news on, it's rather difficult to pay attention over talkative preschoolers, clingy toddlers, the dishwasher, the washing machine, and something burning on the stove.

But I work! That means I must commute! Therefore, I drive, and there is news on the radio. Sure, but when the 10 minute commute contains 8.5 minutes of commercials, 30 seconds of traffic, and 30 seconds of weather, there's not much room for anything else. And honestly, if I surf 3 or 4 stations on the dial and only get commercials, I switch to a CD. And I'm not entirely sure which AM station NPR is on, but I don't think I have it programmed.

After the kids go to bed? Well, sure I could sit down on the sofa and watch the 10 o'clock news. Or I could do laundry, dishes, check email, exercise, run errands, and read a book (sometimes all of the above after 8:30pm). And I'm pretty much brain dead by 10. And I don't think my husband wants to carry my snoring body upstairs from the couch every night. No, there's no TV in our bedroom.

Don't I read blog posts and internet news sites? Honestly, if more of them would quit blinking huge multicolored banners and obnoxious popup ads, I might. I like my reading simple and non-migraine-inducing. And short, as I'm technically working (at a job that doesn't pay me to read the news).

So, I found out on Friday that there was a financial crisis, when I first heard about the $700 billion dollar bailout congress debaucle. I mean, sure, mortgage companies were having trouble, but that wasn't exactly news anymore. And wasn't there just a big hurricane in Texas? See, I don't miss everything that goes on in the world.

$700 billion worth of crisis? Wow, this rock's heavier than I thought.

Monday, September 29, 2008

To Dye For

I ought to have pictures. I say that a lot, but unless I actually start taking the photos, and setting aside time at home to both organize photos and write a blog post at the same time, it doesn't happen.

Saturday afternoon we had a fun, easy party tie-dyeing t-shirts. Inspired by an article in Family Fun magazine, I bought a bunch of Rit dye, several plastic tubs, and fabric paint. I baked a pumpkin spice cake, a loaf of cheddar-beer bread, made a spinach dip for veggie sticks, cut up apples with caramel dip, and provided apple cider, sodas, and darned georgous weather. Ok, so I didn't "provide" the weather. Mother nature was very accomodating once she heard my party idea. And she feared the result of us having to sweep out the garage.

I must not have been th only one in St. Louis who liked the tie-dye idea, as between 3 stores, I only scored 3 packages of orange dye. And with around 15-20 people showing, I knew that would not suffice. So we had black, purple, and green available too (though we never mixed up any green as it turned out). And not everyone decorated their shirts like pumpkins. My husband's has a large feline face,. Charlotte's is a orange and green splatter paint design on top of a black (gray) shirt. Mine (in purple), says BOO with a pumpkin and a cat face as the O's. (The "boo" goes across my chest in a series of tie-dye rings, and I thought if I left it as plain letters, then folks would be mentally adding a final "b" to the word...)

The shirts were cute. The company was great. The only bummer was that Trystan was sick with an ear infection. He was crabby and clingy all Saturday.

Thanks to everyone who came! I'm sorry we missed some of you who couldn't make it! And I apologize if there are folks we know in person who didn't get our last-minute invite (we had several that may or may not have gone to correct email addresses, or just were never opened by their recipients). I do have more dye if anyone's interested :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Food ramblings...or maybe tummy rumblings

Ever find yourself halfway through a recipe before you realize that you're not making what you thought you were?

That was me last night, assembling cookies for a potluck at work. I pulled out a bag of chocolate chips and was following the recipe on the side--nothing fancy. I don't really read the directions on cookies--you cream butter & sugar, add the egss, then add all of the dry ingredients. The only tricks usually involve refridgeration and roll vs drop. So, I had my creamed butter/sugar/egg, and was mixing together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder? Doh. It was a double-chocolate recipe. Ah well. I have plenty of cocoa powder on hand. I could probably have left it out, because its normally added in addition to flour and other ingredients, but I didn't have another recipe handy to verify (feeling lazy...my cookbook collection wasn't more than 10 feet away). I ended up swapping the straight chips for some white-chocoloate/semi swirl ones that were in the cannister. Et voila. Yummy cookies, a trifle fancier than I planned.

It's been an odd week, cooking-wise. On Sunday I made a dish that resembles more the style of food I ate as a kid: a hamburger pie/casserole. The base was ground beef, frozen mixed veggies, and canned tomatoes + tomato paste (which happened to be "italian style", so it ended with a sort of spaghetti-sauce flair), topped with mashed potatoes (powdered from a box) and baked. It tasted better than I actually expected.

Saturday night, I had made some yummy mocha & chocolate chip scones with a coffee glaze. Double and triple yum. I'm still trying to decide what kind of scone batter/dough works best. Some I've tasted remind me more of bisquick biscuits than scones. Most require heavy cream. This one called for milk instead of cream, but added eggs. They were good, but didn't last as well as some others I've made, tasting kind of stale after about 2 days. I'd love a dense scone, like St. Louis Bread Company serves (I dearly love their cinnamon scones), but I'm not sure what to add or subtract from any of my recipes to achieve their heft and crumble.

The rest of the week so far has consisted of frozen pizza, tacos, and Subway. Nothing inspired, not particularly gourmet, but generally well-recieved and moderately healthy. Ok, so the frozen pizza was questionable. But tacos aren't bad, when they're served on a huge bed of lettuce with salsa (and I don't do sour cream).

Now I'm hungry. Doh! And me with no snacks, except for my box of cookies for the lunch....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yum, yum, home decor

I think we all get the picture. Paint, especially red paint, especially red paint from China, can contain lead. Lead is bad. Lead poisoning is bad. We should avoid it.

However, I'm getting kind of tired of seeing product recalls because of lead paint. The most recent one I saw was for Harry Potter bookends.

Please correct me if I'm wrong in my assumptions here. I thought that people (especially children) got lead poisoning from somehow ingesting (eating, inhaling, inserting?) the lead. Not by sticking it on a shelf and propping up their books with it. Or are kids licking bookends these days? Do we expect the bookends to spontaneously crumble into dust and blow themselves into our childrens' lungs?


In my opinion, any child who would lick a bookend deserves to have them taken away, lead paint or no...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How clean is your house?

If you have children, when do you clean your house? Just curious how everyone else manages to balance the chore. I'm not sure "balance" is the right word in our house right now--it's more like patching a leaky dam with duct tape and chewing gum.

For almost two years, we hired someone to come once a month to clean. She scrubbed toilets, cleaned the oven, dusted the lightbulbs, and made the whole place smell like Pine Sol. Yummy. And, once a month, we had incentive to declutter the place--uncovering the carpet and the kitchen counters and filing all of our financial statements away to at least make snooping a challenge, were she so inclined.

The last couple of months that we used her services, things got a little iffy--she kept requesting to be paid in cash (which we never have on hand, and which makes me raise eyebrows). She would "schedule" our next cleaning, on say, Tuesday the 17th, except that Tuesday would be the 19th. That led to a guessing game of which day she would show. She occasionally would leave a bottle of cleaning liquid behind in a room--an easy mistake, but a dangerous one when the room is the kids' bathroom. Anywho, after a couple of additional scheduling snafus, we no longer have a maid.

Since then, I've been trying to keep up the place myself. Well, ourselves, because my husband really does almost half of the indoor work and more than half of the outdoor stuff. I only work 4 days a week, but my 5th weekday is usually spent running errands or attending doctor appointments (with or without the kids). With one child, it was feasible to clean while she was awake. With two--or rather, with Trystan whose nickname is Trouble--it's nearly impossible to do any cleaning while they're awake.

I like for Trystan to see us cleaning--he loves to get out washclothes (emphasis on the plural), to take items out of the dishwasher (even when they're not clean), to throw things away, and to attempt to sweep or swiffer. We have a toy vacuum that is a miniature of our full-size one, and it frustrates the heck out of him--it's still taller than he is, and he can't manipulate it the way we do the big vacuum. And he's trying to figure out electrical outlets, flushing toilets, tearing paper, and removing twist-off-caps (something the books claim that he shouldn't master until 2-3 years old...hah!)

Cleaning after bedtime doesn't work that well most nights. First off, Char won't fall asleep until nearly 10 some nights, and loud noises (like vacuums) distract her. I am incapable of consciousness after about 11pm, and really, incapable of being vertical after about 9:30-10. Late nights aren't an option. Second, once in a while my husband and I want a little time to do something else. Something like watch a movie (or, with my nocturnal habits, half a movie), read a book, do anything on the computer unaccompanied by cheerful music and animated figures, etc. Maybe even exercise.

I don't think I really have a good point here, more of a whine. I am curious how everyone else handles this. I need to look into other options for a cleaning person/service. Something like what we had before, but hopefully with fewer scheduling issues and better payment options. If you have any leads, feel free to email me :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Thursday

Yesterday was a good day. Charlotte and I had a mommy-daughter day. We started off with 4-year old/pre-kindergarden screening at the school district. She did wonderfully. She's a bright kid, and always has been, so I was not worried. But one of the schools we're looking at for next year requests that the kids go through the process. I think her biggest issue was squirminess. There are many days where she has a hard time sitting still. I'm not sure she makes it through a meal without hopping out of her chair a dozen times. And they tested motor skills--including skipping, gallopping, hopping, etc--second to last. She was so excited and fired up that she had to sprint a couple of laps around the room, and then had a lot of trouble staying in her seat for the final question session. All in all, though, she's in the middle of the range in all categories for a normal 5 year old, though she's barely 4.

After that, we went to the zoo. I loved it. No strollers, no bulky diaper bag, no chaos. Just two of us on a georgous day and many hours to kill. She wanted me to read all of the animal descriptions, and she got to call the shots for what all we saw and did. The butterfly house was high on her list, after receiving a Fancy Nancy book for her birthday called Bon Jour Butterfly. We got to watch as the keepers brought out and released butterflies that were freshly hatched from their cocoons, and she had a blast attempting to identify them on the laminated cards provided.

We did the childrens zoo (we even petted goats and gerbils...it isn't quite as icky when you're not freaking out about a baby eating the goat brush), we rode the train, we rode the carousel. We're members, btw--I love not having to pay a la carte for all those activities. She loves penguins, and we got a double-dose there: after touring the Penguin and Puffin Cove, we caught most of the feeding session later. While stopped in one station on the train, we got a beautiful view of the new tiger cubs at play.

When I asked her what her favorite part was, she said "everything". And she was disappointed that we couldn't see the entire zoo. We were there for 4 hours! Because she was so well behaved (only the barest hint of a whine, at 3.75 hours in, and she walked the whole way), she got to pick something from the gift shop on the way home. She fixed on a small pack of stretchy rubber frogs, and a "snake egg" that you soak in water to hatch, and then the snake "grows" in the water. Crazy kid was so excited, that the frogs went to school today for show and tell, and the head is already poking out of the snake egg. She's cheap too--both toys cost about $5 total.

I didn't get my accostumed Thursday evening solo time, and my Thursday night exercise class has been moved to Tuesdays. But, we had a nice dinner as a family (from scratch parmesan chicken that was nicely crispy if a tad overbrowned from a too-hot pan), and I took Trystan to the library to help me drop off books before bed. He loves that place and I spent several minutes chasing him through the shelves, and picking up random books that he pulled down. He loves to climb on the floor cusions in the kiddie section, and take books from the shelves to sit and flip through (sometimes not so gently...but he's learning). The kids books he "chose" got checked out for home (it's as good of a system for finding new books as any...), and I managed to snag two for myself in between aisle dashes.

Char even fell asleep by 9pm, instead of 10 or later last night, after her normal protest about "not being tired." I think she was snoring 30 second after I left the room. I only lasted till 10 because I was reading....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

She felt compelled to tell me...

I received fanmail about my blog. Well, not exactly fanmail. More like errata. If you check my profile, I have a list of some of my preferences in books. There, in the list is Jane Austen. Well, until about 5 minutes ago it was Jane Austin. Oops.

I don't know if the kind person who found that typo and took the time to email me (hi! yes, you @aol.com!) actually reads my blog or just stumbled upon my profile by accident.

I make typos. Probably quite a few. Without Word's autocorrect, you probably stumble through a lot of "teh"'s and other common mixups. Sorry. Does it impede your understanding my words? Gosh, I hope not. If all it takes to trip up a reader is to swap two letters then maybe I shouldn't try so hard to be witty. After all, half of my puns probably look like typos. If you get the feeling that I'm not particularly concerned by my digital mishaps (hah! another pun...), then, as Obi Wan said "Trust your feelings, Luke"

So, anyway, thanks for the email. I changed the typo. Yes, I do love Jane Austen's books, and I have a sister in Austin. Distinct subjects. Common brain. No copy editor. Such is life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"I want to snuggle you"

I love my daughter. Truly, honestly, and without my usual sarcasm. She is so sweet. In fact, her most annoying personality traits lately center around her desire to give and receive affection.

Yesterday, I wore a pair of shoes that I bought over ten years ago from Kmart, on clearance, for less than $5. Black velour ballet flats. "I like your shoes Mommy," she said. "The bows are pretty." I can't help but smile.

When she is not tormenting her brother by playing with toys he shouldn't have, right in front of him, she is very sweet. She smiles at him, laughs with him, tickles and raspberries him. Even her rough play is designed to make him laugh. One of these days I will stop worrying about their wrestling. But she also nuzzles him, and they exchange the cutest kisses every night before bed. Trystan won't go to bed without his goodnight kisses.

She has been having a rougher time adjusting to Pre-K than I had hoped. Academically, she's just fine. She writes her name (all 9 letters, mixed case), quite legibly. She constantly astounds me with the knowledge she has absorbed, like those water crystals that I use in the garden, that swell and swell the more you pour into them.

Her biggest problem is affection. She was breastfed, and weaned herself around 19 months old. That decision I have never regretted--my only disappointment was that her brother gave up his night-night milk at a mere 14 months. Even after then, she has continued to insist on skin-to-skin contact in order to fall asleep. When I was pregnant, it was exceedingly sweet that she wanted to snuggle with my bare belly. She has never given up that request, though. She likes to rub bare skin with her hands, but will rub and paw until your arms are sore and over-stimulated.

At school, she is having trouble remembering to keep her hands to herself. She has always been tactile, and likes to snuggle with her teachers like she does at home with us. And up until this month, that has been indulged. Then, all of a sudden, the same teachers who have picked her up and snuggled her for over 3 years are telling her to sit still, by herself, and not to play with her friends' arms or hair. It's rough. Poor kid. She has had a lot of crying fits before school lately, and is worried because she is frequently getting in trouble.

I'm not sure that there's much for us to do at home, besides giving her appropriate affection, and reinforcing the rules (and explaining to our little sponge just why she isn't allowed to stroke someone's arm). I almost wish she had adopted a single lovey--a blanket or doll or something. But all she has is her finger--her index finger, not even the thumb--and we're actively trying to break her of that bad habit as well.

It's sad, really. She's not in trouble for deliberately hurting anyone or being violent or anything, and she is paying attention to what she's learning. And I don't think that there was any way to avoid this transition period. If it wasn't now, it would be next year, or the next. She does have to learn. And in the mean time, I'm not sure whether to give her more snuggles or less at home, to help ease the lack at school. I'm thinking more, myself...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Clothes, again

I hate shopping for clothes. Rather, I hate needing to shop for clothes. Shopping is fun when there's no pressure and an ample supply of money. Like that ever happens.

Even after my trip to the mall a couple of weeks ago, my wardrobe is still, well, just plain sad. It consists mainly of jeans, and comfortable shirts that go with jeans. There is a small subset of workout clothes, and a couple of suits that I'm keeping more for sentimental reasons than because I ever intend to wear them again. Most of the shirts hanging in my closet are oversized denim ones with assorted company logos that I feel bad throwing away, but would never wear unless I were painting or doing yardwork in the dead of winter. I also have a nice selection of formal/party dresses and bridesmaid dresses, mainly from college. Don't ask if any of those fit. I don't intend to find out.

What I don't have much of are nice clothes for work or for church. Work is fairly casual, and church doesn't exactly require a floral bonnet and patent leather pumps, but something other than jeans and a henly would be a nice change. For either occasion.

Yesterday, armed with another of my infamous giftcards, I spent an hour and a half at Kohls. Like my trip to Eddie Baur, I had some success. Some. And I learned a few lessons.

1. I can't buy pants at Kohls. They believe that you are either 5'8", or are 60+ years old and in need of elastic waist pants. There is no other option. Seriously, I tried on every pair of gray slacks in the place within a 3-size radius.

2. If you want fall clothes this year, may as well search the summer clearance racks. Because the "fall" collections are full of short-sleeved shirts and tank tops. They might have varied the colors.

3. If I were pregnant again, I would have no need of visiting a maternity department. Unless the "Simply Vera Wang" section really is their maternity department and I missed the sign? Because everything fit like a tent.

Shopping is becoming an epic struggle. I can only find pants that fit at Old Navy or Gap. But Old Navy's styles are getting too young for me, and Gap is too expensive. Eddie Baur has colors I can wear without looking wretchedly ill, but I have to avoid anything woven, and again, expensive. Kohls can be ok for tops, sometimes, but forget buying pants there. Target sucks for everything except bathing suits and underwear. I haven't tried on a stitch of clothing in a Macy's in at least a year, because nothing appeals to me (No, I don't need clothes that can take me from the office to a coctail party...). I won't buy things mail order, because I don't want to spend all the time shipping clothes back and forth that won't fit.

I still have several things that I might like to own. Like a skirt. I have a pair of great black leather boots that would look really cute with a skirt. And I bought a nice pair of pants at Eddie Baur (that fit!) but I haven't found a single top that goes with them--they're a sort of mocha color that doesn't work with brown or plain gray or black (and stores so rarely stock other colors that I can wear this time of the year). If I wait until winter, I might have a heavy sweater that would work. Or I could return them. But that would mean another trip to the mall.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The aftermath of the storm

Thank you for all of the kind words I received after my rant on Thursday. Friday went somewhat better. Somewhat because one of my main sources of conflict had decided to call in sick that day. Somewhat because I hadn't said anything the day before (except here, and I don't expect that any or many of my coworkers would read this), so there wasn't any messy clean up to take care of. Regardless, I have been doing some thinking about my job. I would probaby try to move within my company before attempting anything else--and after having been in the same company and in the same group for 3.5 years, it's probably past time. This is longer than any other single employment/work group I've had ever. Moving within the company shouldn't be too difficult, once I find another group with the right opening. Different is good.

Today has been busy. And hot. What happened to the highs of 80 that we were supposed to see? At one point, the car claimed much closer to 90, and it was humid to boot. Even the approach of Ike isn't cooling things down much. It is a little strange to be sitting in the dead center of the country, and watching the forecast of how Hurricane Ike (now Tropical Storm Ike) is going to affect us. 3-6" of rain forecasted, tomorrow. That will do great things for the swamp that is our backyard, I'm sure.

Charlotte had a birthday party to attend today, so we spent the morning shopping for a gift. She got to choose it herself, and took the job very seriously. Sitting in a living room with nearly a dozen kids, most of them in the 4-6 year old range, is really hard on your eardrums. They shriek. Cake, ice cream, juice boxes, and candy do not help the situation.

And after all that, and no nap, and additional play-date time after dinner, she is still having trouble falling asleep at a quarter after nine in the evening. Trystan's not much better, but he has a stuffy nose and a cough, and took a 2.5+ hour nap. He's got an excuse.

I, at least, am exhausted. And I didn't spend 2 hours running in circles this afternoon. Though perhaps I should have. I had cake and candy too :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Enough steam to power a locomotive

I have had many days, over many years, at many jobs, where I've felt like just quitting. Turn in my notice, and leave. Never come back. Today is one of those days. I'm still employed, btw. I don't think I've ever actually left a job in the heat of the moment. Maybe I'm just chicken.

As I posted last week, I've been frustrated at work. Today, I left in a rage, that had I stayed a few minutes longer, would probably have errupted all over a couple of my coworkers. Not undeservedly, I might add. One in particular deliberately went behind my back and changed a file, sabotaging a couple of hours worth of my time. There was more.

I have mentioned before that I work 4 days a week. 32.5 hours to be exact. And there is a push at work right now to put in overtime. For the last month, I've averaged an extra hour per day, for a whopping 36 hours a week or so. Not a lot. Nowhere near the 60+ that some folks are putting in. But I am there, and I am working. And it is overtime, to me. But, what about those days off? Surely I'm spending them lazing about the house in my pajamas eating bon-bons while my staff of servants gingerly lift my feet to dust. Surely. Surely I'm not spending them getting pap smears, teeth cleanings, eye appointments, and taking Trystan for MRI's and echocardiograms. Of course not. Not that it would matter. Nothing matters except the job, right?

I say all this, because I am pretty sure that some of my recent issues have stemmed from the fact that I "flex" one day per week. That I don't show up for work. God forbid. I might be....(drumroll please)...PART TIME.

Normally, my schedule doesn't bother anyone. I get my work done, and when I'm not there, no one misses me. This week I was out on Tuesday, and the moment I arrived on Wednesday someone practically jumped on me because a code change I had made on Monday wasn't working. Um, ok. Sorry. Where's the fire again? After all, I've had to wait for days and weeks for other people's code problems to be fixed. And I didn't break anything on purpose.

Now, this was one error in a frustratingly long series of them that I keep thinking I have fixed. And, its an issue that I cannot physically work any faster. I must wait for a long process (minimum 2 hours if I'm lucky...overnight most days) to see if each subsequent problem has been solved. Some of the issues came from other people having made code changes several weeks ago--un-doing code that was backed out *the very first time* it was ever put in (I guess they're always perfect on the first, blind stab at something new...). We shall forget for now that when someone else backed out my code before, that they did so without consulting me first. I found out after the fact, secondhand.

So, this morning, just as I see that my new change is working on one computer (with no errors!), and am puzzled about why it's not working on another (configuration difference?), two of my coworkers gang up on me about some new change that they are already making (it was only 8:30AM! Don't they sleep?) to the process I've been working on. They didn't explain well 1) what was wrong 2) how to fix it or 3) who was supposed to be making the change (me? someone else?). What they were telling me did not fit the app and I could not for the life of me get them to explain it in concrete terms. (Probably like how you're feeling now...and no, I won't explain the discussion in more concrete terms either).

This wasn't a "discussion" it was a heated argument, where I kept saying "that doesn't make any sense...What do you want and where is it supposed to go and how is the code supposed to use it if it doesn't know anything about it?" and they kept saying "xyzabc13344322". The end result of the argument: 1) I showed them (visually, by opening a file and sticking my finger on the screen) that their concern is unjustified and 2) I learned, from an offhand remark, that the test computers don't have the same file permissions as my regular computer--in other words, I was trying to create a file somewhere I wasn't allowed to. That's easy to fix. And I did. I am now 99.999999% sure that my troublesome problem is solved. Completely. Utterly.

Except that one of those two kind coworkers went behind my back and changed a configuration file so that my process would never run. And didn't tell me. So I comissioned a special run of my 2-hour process and kept myself busy on other tasks until it was done. And discovered, to my horror, that it was time and server resources utterly wasted.

I left at 2. Today is the end of the pay period. I hit my 65-hour mark well before lunch time. I had intended to add an extra 3-4 hours of work today. But it's hard to feel like it's worth my time to sit there, only to have my work ripped apart underneath me. And it's a waste of company money to pay someone else to undo my work. And if I stayed logged in a second longer I would have sent a nasty gram to my lovely coworkers (cc'ing my manager). Or thrown something. Or broken down in tears. Tears aren't particularly good for confrontations, and the overload of emotions that was causing me to shake with rage would definitely have resulted in tears had I attempted to verbalize the issue.

Tomorrow, maybe, I'll be in a better mood.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Less Romance, more Fiction

I finished The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult last night. It was the first of hers that I'd read, and I enjoyed it. My only complaint is almost a silly one: she has a witty/pithy image for everything. Everything. Sure, it adds color to the book, and makes you think a bit more. But it was just a little overdone, in my opinion. Too much of a good thing can pull you out of a story.

In other books, I finished Certain Girls a week or so ago. I also picked up a short "romantic suspense" (one of the Harlequin series ones) on the library sale table for 25cents. Actually, Trystan picked it up for me, and went running with it...I read about 30 pages and abandoned it. Alas, I frequently have that problem with their series books. I might go back and finish it at some point, but I've got a whole shelf full of other interesting stuff waiting for me also.

General Fiction - 7 I added the Picoult book here. Maybe it could fall under Women's Lit, also, but one of the main POV chars is a guy, so this looked better...
Contemporary Romance - 7 Some of these might fall under "romantic suspense"..but I"m mostly splitting Contemporary vs Historical for purposes of this list
Sci Fi/Fantasy - 5
Historical Romance - 4
Women's Lit (Chick Lit) - 3

Grand total = 26 books I think I counted that right. I always think I"m missing something, but then I go back to my posts and star worryign that I'm double-counting.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm having one of those days. One where doing the best I can does not seem to be enough. Someone finds an error in something that I've done, so I make a correction. I double-check the work, and to the best of my knowledge, all is correct. Repeat. For 3 days. Each cycle of "finding an error" is causing other people's work to be delayed by hours, or indefinitely until the whole thing is error free. And I'm not talking about major errors--I'm talking about missing a quotation mark. Or failing to update one file out of 20 (that reside in 20 different spots across the network..not just a cut-copy-paste kind of thing).

It's frustrating me. And it's worse when I hear someone two cubes over grumbling about how they are being slowed down. Like I can't hear that. And like I did it on purpose. Not that anyone's saying that, but still. I'm right here. And I KNOW that its a problem. And if there were a faster way to guarantee that it all works I WOULD DO IT.

Oh yeah, one of my bigger recent project-tasks is getting scrapped. Not because of anything that I did, but apparently someone else in the group had a better idea. Not that the task was my idea or even my design, just that the hours of work were mine. Something like 20-40 hours of work. Flush, down the bit drain. That's a week of my life that I won't get back. At least its not my dime paying for it.

It doesn't help that at work, we are being actively encouraged (not quite mandated, but almost) to work overtime. To the tune of 10-12 hours per week. I don't even work full time at the moment--32.5 hours/week. If I put in 4 9-hour days, I AM working overtime. And no, I don't have more evening or weekend time to give. And I could attempt to work 40 hour weeks for a while, but with our schedule of Dr visits and other assorted appointments, I'll be taking 1-2 days off in every payperiod anyway. I could get here early in the morning. How I would make it out of bed, I don't know, and on days where I take kids to daycare, my kids would be first to arrive and nearly last to leave. Lucky them, they get to "work" 10-12 hour days too. No Thanks.

When do these people sleep? Who feeds their children? Picks the kids up from school? Oh wait, there aren't any other moms of preshcool age children in the group. There are a few fathers of very young children, but for the ones I'm aware of, their wives stay home. So I'm special. Gee, that helps.

The overtime issue was nicely highlighted the other day in a meeting. The top overtime-workers were called out and given a token "thank-you" gift. Except that there was a large tie for "top", so there were like 3 of us who didn't get a free coffee mug. Not that I need another. But really, why not just call the names of those of us who didn't work enough overtime to qualify. It would have taken less time. And been just as annoying.

I try try try not to complain much about work on here. Usually it's just fine. Nothing spectacular. Just fine. Today's just one of those days, I guess.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Labor Day

Ok, so this is a first of sorts. We have discovered recently that our ATT account, along with TV, DVR, internet, and wireless access (hello Starbucks), also provides a flickr account. Sorry to anyone who reads my blog by RSS feed, as it's highly possible that you'll see this post twice. Once as I try to get the picture out of flickr, once after I make a real post out of it.

Labor day weekend was good. Busy. Busy Good. My mom and baby sister (who's 12...not much of a baby anymore) came to visit. Saturday we hit the City Museum downtown. That was an absolutely exhausting blast for all of us. We have photos--haven't uploaded those yet. Sunday we did a little shopping and then took the kids to the pool. Monday, Mom & sis headed home, and the rest of us joined another out-of-town friend at the mall for more shopping & lunch. Then we all went home and slept. Even me, and I hate naps. But I had barely sat down all weekend.

As I get more comfortable with the flickr thing, maybe there will be more photos on my blog. Of course, that depends on the kindness of my resident cameraman. I hate taking photos--they alwasy look like crap when I take them and I prefer to experience life through my own eyes, not the lens of a camera. Doesn't mean I don't like pics. I just prefer that someone else take them. It also means, unfortunately, that there are some 25 shots in our private flickr file of me in a bathing suit as my hubby wore the clothes as well as the recording device. No, I won't be posting those.