Thursday, August 27, 2009

and how was your day?

6:00--alarm goes off. I shut it off and fall immediately back asleep (unintentionally)
8:00--Oscar wakes me up
8:01--realize I'm screwed because I have a meeting at 9:15 and don't think I'm going to make it there in time (yay, long commute!)
8:05--call 9:15 meeting coordinator, tell her I'm going to be a few minutes late
9:10--get call from meeting coordinator to check my computer for the conference call number.
9:15--arrive at building, boot computer
9:15:30 go to break room to get a cup of coffee while computer boots up
9:16--all three coffee pots are empty. Curse out loud and seriously consider leaving a passive-aggressive note
9:17--10:00--conference call meeting in which I try to mediate a conflict sans caffeine
10:00-12:00--mandatory employee meeting, wistfully think of all the work that I have to do and am glad that this is the last meeting of the day and have the whole afternoon to work on my deliverables
(11:45--remember that a regularly scheduled bi-weekly meeting has now been rescheduled to occur weekly and that it starts immediately after this one.)
12:00--grab Tootsie roll pop from receptionist candy jar. Lunch!
1:30-1:35--attempt to eat lunch
1:35-2:00--"Lee, do you have a minute for a question?"
3:00-3:30--follow-up meeting to previous meeting
3:30-4:00--meeting with engineer to clarify some design issues
4:00-4:30--sit in office, slightly dazed and wondering how I am going to get all my work done. Realize that the only way to do this is to spend most of the weekend at the office, putting in unpaid overtime, and try not to lose temper.
4:30-4:35--write approximately one paragraph before realizing I need more information from engineer from the 3:30 meeting
4:35-4:45--feel bad about bothering the guy again but I make it quick
4:45-4:46--type up one sentence
4:46--slump in chair and wonder how I am going to make it until 7pm, which is how late I had planned to work
4:47--say "frak it" and decide to leave at 5, my regularly scheduled end-of-shift.
4:47-4:55--watch clock
4:55-5:20--"Lee, do you have a moment for a question?"
5:20--flee the office and go to pub

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I need you to be more clear about what I'm supposed to be vague about."

--an actual comment by a colleague delivered without a trace of irony during a meeting today. The scary thing is that this comment actually made sense in context!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A story in three photos

Chick on left: "something's missing, but I can't quite put my finger on it..."
Chick in middle: "if I keep smiling, no one will notice."
Chick on right: "There is it is! Give it back!"

photos from

Sunday, August 09, 2009

garden harvest

Today's harvest: purple Romanesco beans and two Rocky Hybrid cucumbers (yes, they are full-sized at 3 inches long) from my garden, and five Roma tomatoes and one volunteer tomato from Oscar's garden.  Salad and steamed beans for dinner! :D

Still no cherry toms from my garden, although some are starting to turn. I also hacked off about two cubic feet of extra branches. This plant is now taller than I am.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

more pics of Sam

This boy loved to be held, but this is one the very few times I let him climb up (mostly because he could never figure out where to put his back feet. In this pic, his foot is hooked into my bra which was really uncomfortable!) You can tell here that he wasn't a very large dog; I don't think he weighed even 50 lbs (20 kg).
His favorite place to be...on your lap, with his head on your shoulder.
Second favorite activity after hugging...sitting on lap, covering your face in doggie kisses. (Yes, I learned very quickly to take off my glasses when he climbed on my lap.)

Checking out the world...well, the back yard anyway.

So the story behind Sam's death is very sad. I was having trouble leash training him because he got so excited when he saw another dog and very frustrated if he couldn't go over to say hi. He was not dog aggressive at all, even the folks from the rescue group whom I asked to help said the same thing. "Leash frustration, not leash aggression." 

However, it was decided that he needed a more experience trainer than I to evaluate him and so he went to spend a week with a professional trainer and he was signed up for a Pit Bull specific class at a local dog training center. (Between the first and second classes, Sam was with the trainer.) After the second class, the leader of the rescue group said he needed to stay longer with the trainer, so he couldn't come home with Oscar that day. (I didn't make it to class because I was working.) 

The next day, the leader of the rescue called me and said that she'd decided that Sam had too many issues and had him euthanized. 

I was heartbroken and spent most of the afternoon crying. And I was furious because she didn't even let me and Oscar know that this was a possibility. Was it a question of resources? I would have been happy to pay for training (and Oscar talked to the trainer, who said she was willing to continue working with him. She didn't think he was a lost cause. She also said that she refused to foster for that group because of their ridiculously high standards.) 

I know that Sam was technically their dog and was told at the very beginning that if a dog didn't meet their standards, euthanization was a possibility. But seriously, most dogs I've known have had more issues than Sam, regardless of breed. Hell, even my own dogs wouldn't meet their standards--Seamus because he can be dog aggressive and be possessive of his toys (only to other dogs, not to people). And Kate, sweet, lovable Kate, is a ferocious defender of territory, and if she's in the front yard will bark fiercely at anyone who walks in front of the house. All these behaviors are no-nos for them.

tomato harvest 2009, part 1

Growing tomatoes is always a bit of a crapshoot here in the Pacific Northwest, since the summer weather can be really unpredictable. There are several varieties specifically bred for this climate; that is, they tend to be smaller, have shorter growing seasons, and don't need a lot of heat to ripen. Even so, this is not a guarantee of anything. These toms just increase your chances of eating a vine-ripened tom. Last year, for example, was a terrible year for toms because it was cold and rainy for most of the summer. In contrast, the weather this year has been so hot and dry that you could probably get brandywines without any trouble. 

It's good to know a lot of recipes for using green tomatoes if you are a gardener in the Pacific Northwest. ( toms can be substituted for any recipe calling for tomatillos.)

This year I planted currant and cherry tomatoes. As you can probably guess, these are small tomatoes with a short growing season. In addition, the currant tomato was supposedly a good container plant. I say "supposedly" because I planted it in a container using the same mix that's in my raised bed and the currant tomato is a really unhappy looking plant. In contrast, the cherry tomato is about about as tall as I am (and I've been pruning this sucker back pretty aggressively too!), and is loaded with fruit which are finally starting to turn red. 

This morning I was able to harvest some currant tomatoes. This photo represents about half of the fruit on the plant:

(Seamus doesn't know what's in my hand but he wants to know if he can have some anyway.)

Despite actually yielding fruit, the currant tomato was not a success. First all, I expected a hell of a lot more tomatoes than a handful. Second, they had a weird texture--very leathery skin, and since they are so small, they have a very high skin ratio. Third, and most importantly--they aren't very flavorful. They are as bland a supermarket tomato in winter. Maybe this is due to the health of the plant and if the plant were happier, perhaps the tomatoes would be tastier. But I am a laissez-faire gardener. I will provide a raised bed, water, and a good soil mix and then expect a plant to produce under those conditions. I know enough not to plant a sun-loving plant in shade and expect good results.  But I'm not going to coddle the plant. If a plant does not thrive under the conditions I can provide, then I'll just plant something else. 

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Goodbye, Samuel T. Pibble. 
I miss you terribly. 

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I'm so disappointed in the president

Of all the incredible beers to chose from, he selects Bud Light? 

Bud Light?????

Ok, incredibly smart guy, but man, does he have bad taste in beer. 

returning to normalcy, more or less

Ok, the oppressive heat wave seems to have broken. Now it is just "regular" summer hot. And possible to sleep again.

The other night, I took a shower and then sat out on the porch trying to keep cool. It didn't work. It was a day of record-breaking heat (104 F [40 c] here in T-town), approximately 70% humidity, and no frakkin' breeze. Even a hot breeze would have been welcome. I had dog hair sticking to the sweat on my bare skin and my hair curled up into a giant ball. I swear, it looked like I had a tumbleweed on my head. bah.