Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Checklist - 2005

Here’s a checklist of some pretty standard Erin-Christmas traditions. How many of these things happened to you?

  • Eggnog lattes: 3 this weekend. Home made. Actually discovered that I have yet *another* half gallon of the stuff in the back of my ‘fridge. More nog for next weekend!
  • Number of days 70 degrees or warmer: 3. Put this under my list of “why I hate Texas, reason # 537”. Sure, it snowed here last year when we were in Idaho, and ironically had zero white flakes up there. This year, 70’s and sunny. Blech. It doesn’t seem like Christmas when you’re wearing shorts and sweating….
  • Kitchen accidents: 2 burned fingers, one on my hand, one on Will’s. Turkey recipe called for the turkey to be roasted at 500 degrees, back-side-up for 30 minutes. Then to take it out and flip it. Not an easy thing to do – especially when everything is 500 degrees! And flipping a 12 lb bird is awkward. Methinks I’ll be skipping that step next time I make this recipe. To top it off, the skin from my burn blister peeled off, so now its even more sore. Fun!
  • Smoke alarm soundings: technically twice, but it was from the same incident described above. Boy was that a fun 10 minutes. Bring out this fiery pan from the oven with the herbs and onion and drippings already black and smoking. Have 2 people attempt to flip turkey over, burn fingers. Begin yelling at each other b/c you both have burned fingers and the turkey STILL isn’t flipped. Have smoke alarm go off. Yell at husband to leave the turkey flipping to me and TURN OFF THE DAMN ALARM. Alarm goes off a 2nd time. Yell again – TAKE THE BATTERIES OUT!!! Followed by husband cursing at wife and fire detector at the same time. The batteries are still removed from the smoke detector. Its probably safe to put them back in. Hey, at least Will didn’t light the marshmallows of his Sweet Potato Surprise dish afire as he’s done in past years. Of course, that could be because we didn’t make it this year, either.
  • Home improvement project: 1. Got my cabinets sanded down. 1 trip to Home Depot to buy sander (I had gift cards), 1 trip to Lowes for more sandpaper (its closer to my house), another trip to Home Depot to return sander when it inexplicably died on Day 4 of project, another trip to Lowes to buy 2nd sander, b/c HD did not have another one readily available. Quality time spend with the sander: 15 hours over 4 days, plus 2 hours of down time b/c the sander broke and had to be replaced. Quantity of sawdust inhaled: who knows, I just know it was probably more than is safe. Injuries: none (go me!). Emasculated husbands: one. I wouldn’t let him touch the sander. I figure he had his opportunity several years back when he was laid off and I asked him to do this – and he refused. Besides, this is a detail oriented project. I could see him getting bored with the amount of time it took to a)remove varnish and b)remove stain, thus resulting in me basically having to go back and re-do the sanding. Besides, he seemed to prefer playing computer games all weekend.
  • Bottles of wine consumed: 3.5 (2 during a party). Hey, considering it was only the 2 of us for most of the weekend, and I spent most of it covered in sawdust!
That was pretty much our holiday weekend in nutshell. Really pretty boring. Hope the rest of you had more fun that we did!

      Saturday, December 24, 2005

      Nothing says Christmas like refinishing your kitchen cabinets!

      Preface: I blame this whole scenario on my mother. She does stupid insane crap like this all the time. And I see her do this stuff and think that she's crazy, yet here I am doing the same exact thing. Damn genetics.

      We have wood kitchen cabinets circa 1983. They're decent, but the varnish is peeling and it looks like crap. When Will was laid off and doing nothing for 9 months, I tried to get him to refinish the cabinets. But instead he pretty much did nothing but watch a lot of movies and take a month-long road trip to Idaho.

      So, I basically have two 4-day weekends in a row. And I think to myself, when will I have a window of opportunity like this again? I can sand one weekend and stain/poly the next. Then it will be done, how great?

      So, I buy myself a sander and in my head this all seems splendid. Then I start working yesterday. We don't have a workbench that I can work on. Will built one, but its so tall, that I truly cannot reach past halfway on the table. Not exactly practical. So, I'm sitting on one cooler, and using another cooler as my work bench, b/c otherwise, I'd be sitting on the garage floor the whole time. Its really not *that* hard, but it is tedious. And the sander vibrates so much that my hands stay tingly for quite a bit. And the thing is shaped for man-hands, and well, mine are quite smaller, so I have to hold it with 2 hands. My thumb that I broke 3 yrs ago is still weak as well, so that's not helping. But I did the rough sanding on 8 (out of 13) cabinet doors yesterday. Figure I'll just take it in little chunks. Plan is to finish the rough sanding on all doors/drawers today. Tomorrow I'll either fine sand or start sanding the cabinet fronts. Next weekend will be staining.

      No idea if I will actually finish this all by the end of next weekend - or that it will even look good. All I know is that my muscles are already sore after 4 hrs of this yesterday, and I have many, many more hours to go.

      Do I know how to have a fun time or what?

      Merry Christmas everyone!

      Wednesday, December 21, 2005

      Dear JJ Abrams:

      Do you have any idea the trauma you have caused me in the past month? Ok, its not like you’ve messed up my life, but you sure as hell are screwing with my television life. First, you put Lost on a month long hiatus. A MONTH. You’ll be lucky if I remember what those numbers are and who Walt was. And don’t get me started on the lack of moving forward on your storyline or those “extra bonus minutes” for the Tailaway’s story. Extra minutes? More like heavy recycling of minutes that already aired.

      Then there’s the news that officially broke my tv viewing heart. Alias is no more at the end of this season. Not that at this point, it’s any tragedy. I mean, you guys keep recycling plotlines (SD-6, The Covenant, Prophet 5? Just how many bad guys with multi-level bad-guy networks ARE there?). Then I’m convinced that your writing team is either drunk or they are really a pack of monkeys randomly pounding away on the keyboard. Because that’s the kind of crap you guys are putting on the show. The tiny helicopter of doom? Clifford the big red ball? And exactly how many times did we need to see this red ball in its various incarnations? Its crap. But hey – you’ve been too busy paying attention to your new shiny show Lost and living the good life in Hawaii to even notice that your old show, which was once great, has gone to hell. I guess you’re swayed by the ratings. You fickle bastard.

      You took a show that kicked ass and made it blase. I still remember the first time I saw little Syd on her first mission with the red hair, set out to destroy the mini-Clifford red ball ‘o doom. Ever since then, I want to be her. Who doesn’t? Well, I want to have her job and skills, I could skip the part where all the people she loves die in some sort of tragic and violent fashion, and both of her parents at one point or another have tried to have her killed. But being able to kick ass while in heels and a skin-tight leather outfit? Hell yeah, where do I sign up?

      My thoughts on the show thus far. Season 1 and 2. Awesome. Cliffhanger at the end of Season 2, I still can’t forgive you for that shock, but this is a good kind of shock. The “omg I can’t believe they just did that, that totally blew my mind!” kind of shock. Season 3 with Lauren – ew. MAJOR let down after the cliffhanger. Such potential to do something cool, but yet…. nothing. Season 4… well, that was the drunken monkey season. Oh wait, this was the season where Lost was new. That explains why it sucked. The only good part was the ending with SpyMommy and then the NotVaughn incident (which I replayed about 100 times and STILL have it on my TiVo b/c it was THAT GOOD).

      But now, not so much. The cast has abandoned you. You let Jennifer marry Ben Afleck of all people and reproduce. Shouldn’t there have been some clause with a heavy financial penalty against such things? Then you people wrote it into her storyline even though her eggs were taken from her and then they burned in a Covenant lab. REMEMBER THAT DETAIL, JJ? Well, your team of drunken monkey writers apparently forgot that too. Or maybe your team of writers has been hanging out too much with the cast of Lost and drinking a lot, only they are smart enough to avoid being pulled over. Or maybe they don’t get DUI’s b/c they’re monkeys and can’t reach the pedals…. Something to ponder, for sure.

      This season is still better than Season 4, but not by much. I’ll just have to get my Alias fix by watching re-runs of S1 and 2. And hope that you don’t screw up the ending too badly.

      Very bitterly yours,

      Would you really quit with the month long hiatus shit? First Lost and now Alias?!?!?! No Alias until February?!?!?! It’s bad enough that after May, we won’t have any more Alias at all – but you guys actually need a month break? What for, rehab? To actually FIGURE OUT a closure for the show that makes sense? For all our sakes, I hope it’s the latter and not the former.

      Tuesday, December 20, 2005

      A random collection of thoughts on a Tuesday morning

      I need to quit forgetting items of clothing when I pack my bag the night before for swim practice. Today, while not critical, I forgot my belt. And since I've lost a bit of weight (yay me!) my jeans are a tad bit saggy. I'm meeting a client out on site today, so that should make a lovely impression.


      They have the chlorine cranked so high at my pool that the hair on my arms is falling out. My skin is horribly itchy and I have really bad chemical-induced dry mouth. Our group is stuck at the mercy of the slack-tastic HS swim coach, who I guess just went thru a divorce and is determined to have the rest of the world suffer right along with him. I guess suffering is maximized my itchy skin and hair loss.


      Swimming is going well, swimmingly. Cranked out another 3,000 yard workout this morning. I need to try and figure out how to swim faster, b/c I'm an in-between-er. Not slow, but not fast either. Which leaves me precisely one lane in our 8 lane pool that I can swim in w/out pissing people off or getting my ass kicked.


      Hubby accompanied me to the grocery store last night. I need to remember that he is not the best grocery shopping buddy. Sure, its nice to have company, but its not so nice when that company makes you forget stuff and pisses you off. See, Will has to drive the cart. But he can't lead. Noooo. Instead, he has to RIDE MY ASS with the grocery cart. And I'm not the speediest of shoppers. I have a list and a mission, but I also like to peruse the aisles a bit. Look at labels. Will is more of a "grab the first item that matches X description and leave" kind of a shopper. Me, I'll stack all the varieties of tomato sauce on the shelf, nutritional labels facing me, and pick the one which has the least sodium and sugar added to them. Well, having Will huffing and puffing behind me with impatience rushes me and makes me forget stuff, which in turn about doubles the time it takes me to shop since I have to go back and forth across the store. Case in point - got a turkey to make Saturday. Got 2/3 of the way thru the store and realized that all I had to cook for Saturday was ONLY turkey. No sides. Sure its just the two of us, and the kitties would be thrilled with a turkey-only meal, but well, I need a *little* more variety. Ended up grabbing a bunch of sweet potatoes. I'll have to think of something else to make, b/c that's not quite the variety I was looking for.


      My supervisor is being passive agressive over email. Gave him this report to review Friday afternoon. He's had oh, since then to look over my ONE text addition, which I did with very little guidance or direction. Last night he said it was ok. This morning he verbally tells me that I need to do a tiny bit more work, but its not too bad. Over email not 5 minutes later, he gets all doomsday on my ass. I'm sure its for documentation purposes, so he looks like a badass manager and its documented that I'm not living up to expectations. Its a fun game. As a result, I'm going to this british pub to sit by the fire and drink this afternoon, because I don't care.


      Made a ton of bling this weekend - website is updated.


      Not doing a whole hell of a lot for chistmas this year. We normally go to Idaho, but it was wayyy too much money to fly (we started researching tix in Sept). Then we thought about going to Big Bend again for camping. But it gets dark soooo early and campfires aren't allowed, which means we'd be shivering in the dark and REALLY bored. And I really hate cooking and cleaning in the dark. So it looks like its a 4 day weekend at the house being bored. I know Will was hoping to do stuff to his car during 2 of those days, so I'm not really sure what I'll be doing. I should make sure I have at least 2 Erin movies from Netflix in the house, though.


      I miss my TV shows. My reality tv shows have wrapped up, which in the case of TAR is a good thing because it was really horrible this season. And Lost is on hiatus. Alias is close to the end *sniff* (I hate you JJ for jacking with my life like this.) My tivo viewing list is reduced to catching up on back episodes of Supernatural, b/c that's all that's on. But those Supernatural boys sure are pretty to look at....

      Wednesday, December 14, 2005

      I was going to post something happy, until work pissed me off

      so, I'm going to post both happy and pissy. lucky you!

      So first - happy post:
      I swam 3,000 yards this morning, which is something I haven't done since high school. Sure, in HS I was swimming 4,000 yards, but hey, I'm clearly not in HS form any more. We've got a US Masters Swimming event next month. The Postal Swim. This post was going to be titled "Going Postal, but not in a Postal Service kinda way" until work decided to kill my good mood. But this is the HAPPY part of my post. Yeah, happy thoughts... Anyways, back to happy. So, the postal swim is an hour long challenge, where you swim for an hour (duh) WITHOUT stopping. The goal is endurance and to see how far you can swim in that time. This is daunting on a physical level, but also on a mental level. Sure, I'm pretty sure I can swim for 60 minutes straight, but can we say b-o-r-e-d-o-m? Not to mention getting past little muscle aches, frustration, etc? So, in practice we are going to work on doing longer sets and focusing on activities within those sets to keep us mentally engaged for the Postal. Yes, I'm a sadist, but well, I accept it and move on.

      So now, pissy post:
      Had a chat with both my supervisior (X) and office mgr (Y) about my future and about me working with the other division. X just started sputtering random stuff, like he's worried they'll stab me in the back, etc. Basically, he's worried about losing me. So, I told him that for me to want to stick around, I need to be doing ENGINEERING work. Which jogged his memory that he has to evaluate some remediation system in Corpus Christi next week, and that gee, it would actually be better for ME, the engineer to go, rather than himself, who is not an engineer. Well, no shit. I got my point across, but I doubt it will be retained. Then I talked to Y, told him I'd like to persue the work in the other division to broaden my horizons (and to give me guaranteed work), but if that doesn't happen then they need to provide me with some engineering work. And that includes involving me in "hands on" tasks for this stupid work plan I've been the work horse on and introducing me to our design engineer not as "data manager" like he did last week, but as "the engineer who will be supporting your efforts." He definitely acknowleged my point - but again, only time will tell. Apparently they do have some cool stuff lined up for me, but they don't tell me these plans. I told him that I need to know what's planned for me or else, I'll go make plans on my own.

      Then, lets add their blantant ploy at pissing me off: I took this sales based training course (in house) last year. Well, Xwants me to take it again. I told him that I wouldn't get anything extra out of TAKING IT AGAIN IN LESS THAN A YEAR. So, he sends this email:

      "I have recommended that you take this class again, as I feel it will improve on you interpersonal skills in dealing with clients. This is only being offered as a "tool" for your personal growth, as our company, is such a sales driven organization. I think this training will help you as you work to advance within the organization.If you are willing to accept the fact that the potential for advancement within the company may be somewhat limited for those who do not get involved in the traditional "seller-doer" role, I will ask admin to remove you from the list of participants. I'll leave the decision up to you. Either way, let me know ASAP, for scheduling purposes."

      WHAT THE FUCK is up with that? For starters, they haven't really provided me an opportunity to actually meet with clients. And the one client I do have and like, actually called me first thing when she had an emergency project. I think I do ok given the lack of sales support I have around here. Then, lets talk numbers. I'm not at a Category where I get incentive bonuses for my sales. So, there's not much really to motivate me financially. They did set a sales goal for me last March for one year. Keep in mind we're just shy of 3/4 of the year, and I'm already at 150% of my goal. So do I really need remedial sales training? reeeallly?

      Seems to me like they are going the "lets piss her off enough to make her quit" route. Based on their responses to my requests yesterday, it seems that while they may say that I need to take initiative, my initiative has to match what they want. And I can attempt to play things my way, but they will do whatever they can to be difficult and un-responsive. And then I get dinged on MY reviews for not being a team player and essentially being a horrible employee. But with all this shit, what here is supposed to make me want to be a good employee? I can beat my sales goal with little support, and in return, I get remedial sales training. Thanks. Way to inspire the workforce there, manager.

      So, in summary: swimming good. work bad. buy more jewelry so maybe someday I won't have to work here anymore, mkay?

      Tuesday, December 13, 2005

      Commando tootsies

      I forgot to pack socks to wear in my swim bag last night..... so now my feet are going commando inside my knee-high leather boots. Not the best feeling in the world, but it beats the days where I forgot other critical items and went without.

      One would think I would learn from this and stash extras in my swim bag. Well, I guess I just don't like to learn from my mistakes all that much.

      Monday, December 12, 2005

      Shameless plug for my hand-made jewelry website

      I've hung my shingle out on the world wide web!


      Here's a few examples of what I make - these are all listed on the website.

      Image hosted by Photobucket.com

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      Image hosted by Photobucket.com

      I make custom beaded jewelry from sterling silver, gold, semi-precious gemstones, and crystal. Stop by and ORDER something today ;)

      Now THIS is how to have a Jello Shot party

      Consider this a PSA for all those random hits I get for people searching for "jello" on the internet.

      1,000 jello shots. Keep in mind this is a full-size refridgerator. The top and bottom shelves were just cheap vodka. The 2nd shelf was the "top shelf" shots. Blue rasperry with coconut rum. Lime jello caprihanas. Lemon jello w/Crown. Everclear jello shots. (lets see how many search engine hits I get from this post!) Orange jello with vanilla vodka was my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e! I got there at 6:30 to help set up. The house was jam-packed, and we really didn't even know quite a few of the people that showed up. I did see several people from school I haven't seen since I was up there. One girl walked up to me and said "I remember you from aerobics on campus in Fall 1997." Which made me wonder what the hell I did to her to cause her to remember me. She claimed to remember me b/c she had the same kind of car - only I never drove to campus.... Turns out, when I was the Butte HS JV swim coach in 1994/95, she was one of my swimmers. Which made me feel much better about her remembering me. For some reason, I don't like being memorable. I always assume it was b/c I was a bitch or did something embarassing.

      This was one of those parties where you lose all track of time - because you're having so much fun talking to people. Talked to Will maybe 4 times all night long (he left early). Oops. Spent more time talking to his friend (and I guess now MY friend) Ken (above). Got home at 4 AM, mainly b/c I was playing car-shuffle getting one of Will's friends home safely. Woke up at 1 PM, went to the beer store for home-brew supplies, spent all afternoon making beer - then off to a friend's b'day party at a club downtown.

      Methinks I ought to go thru some sort of detox program for the next week or so....

      Thursday, December 08, 2005

      the dice are tossed

      So, a post about work stuff.... I've been at this current job since Aug 2004 and well, have never ever really felt like I fit in here. I don't really have any friends, no lunch buddies, no partners in crime, and worst of all no real work, no career development, no focus. I went from being completely billable and running some good project at my last job (but having a TON of other issues which made things horrible for me) to this place where I just float and bob from project to project.

      I'm one of those types who doesn't mind working hard if I know my labor is a)valued and b)part of a master plan for my career development. I basically am a horse that needs a carrot dangled in front of me to get me motivated to work. I have to know that there are grand plans for me, be privy to them, have input, and *gasp* see those plans come to fruition once in a while.

      Currently, I have none of that. My "job" is a shape shifting beast that changes on the whims of my managers. I rarely can predict what I'll be doing 2 weeks out, and frequently it seems my "value" to the team is merely being a scribe or database manager, with little opportunity to develop new skills. Case in point, I worked on a work plan to do some groundwater remediation, which is being designed by some engineer in one of our East Coast offices. Turns out, she's been in the office for the past 2 days and NO ONE has even thought that gee, it may be a good thing to introduce us, as supposedly, my work will be supporting her design efforts. I had to go figure out who she was and introduce myself to her. Later in the day, I was in Sr Project Manager's office and she came in, and he introduced me to her as essentially the "data manager" for the project. Not the Jr Engineer who's helping with the work plan and will be involved with design implementation in the future. Nope, I'm data manager. And keep in mind I've had my PE for 2 years. Whoopie freaking do.

      These little disses really don't make me want to perform.

      So, about 6 months ago we hired this guy who does pipeline permitting. He likes to drink beer after work. So do I. Gee, seems like we could be *gasp* buddies. What a novel concept! We both like to diss our company and complain about how bass-akwards everything is here. On multiple occasions, he's attempted to persuade me to switch from my remediation division to his pipeline division. I've always been hesitant, because, well, I have no idea what they do. And "permitting" scares me. I did wastewater permitting a few jobs ago and HATED it. Too much reading, too many regulations to pilfer through, not much creative thought. I like remediation work - when I'M DOING IT (which I'm really not lately). But life in my division is pretty miserable for me and I'm at the point where either I should a)find a new job doing remediation work or b)switch to the pipeline division. I haven't had the best of luck in the job hunt so I think I'll try pipeline for a bit. They have a "role" for me - going to a major oil company for their every-other-week status meetings and basically take notes and produce meeting minutes. Sounds a bit too "administrative" for me, but the advantage is a)face time with some important people and b)there is potential to learn a LOT about how these projects are run and what the industry is like.

      So, we go to my division manager to pitch this "role" to him. And he's all shades of unhappy. "what about Erin's field work schedule?" ("the hell? I've been in the field 5 TIMES in 1.5 years") "what about Erin's role in this project?" (yeah, the one I was introduced as 'data manager') It did not go over well, which is ironic since I asked him about the potential about doing some pipeline work 2 months ago, and he was amenable to that proposition. This makes me want to jump to the pipeline group EVEN MORE because this guy apparently cannot think past a few weeks OR consider that I may want to branch out more. So, there may be a hostile jumping ship from one division to another in the next few months, which should be entertaining. I just hope I like what they do, or else I could be in a world of more unhappiness, at which point, I think I may just want to hide under a rock and make jewelry for the rest of my life....

      Monday, December 05, 2005

      Which Lost Character are You?

      Yeah, another non-post. Sorry. Will recap my Colo trip with photos soon. I spent all weekend on re-vamping my jewelry website (and will be publishing it soon on my very own domain name! woo!), so I'm a bit tired of photoshop right now.

      And yes, I'm 90% over my cold. For those of you that care ;)

      But for now...

      You scored 27% kindness, 65% courage, 36% seedy past, and 41% secretiveness!

      "Stay away from my son. And me."

      You are Michael. You are strong, brave, and a little paranoid. You're not the most social person on the island, but you don't mind. As long as you can take care of Walt, you should be right as rain. You're open about your past and you don't see much of a need to keep many secrets from others. Just try branching out once in a while - who knows, maybe you'll actually make a friend or two.

      Your polar opposite IS: Hurley. You are similar to: Jin and Sayid.

      Link: The Which Lost Character Are You Test written by ack_attack on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test