Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wanted: Good Dentist

Like most responsible people with insurance, over the past year I have had two regular dental checkups and cleanings.  At each visit, I mentioned this recurring pain and sensitivity in one tooth but the doctors were convinced nothing was wrong.  Two different dentists said this, in two different practices.  They poked and pressed and x-rayed and flossed it, concluding that nothing was wrong.  They paid special attention to the old root canal in the neighboring tooth, which was done 8 years ago, but each doctor deemed it as sound and secure as it had been the day it was performed.  The second doctor said my gums indicated I wasn't flossing regularly, but the tooth itself seemed perfectly normal.  I couldn't believe this pain was hidden from everyone but me.  It was so bad that if I encountered an unexpected hard texture in my food, EVERYONE in the room would have to know that I was in pain.  It was happening at least once a day.  When it started throbbing all on its own, I went back to the dentist hoping he would be able to fix it.  He thoroughly examined the tooth AGAIN, and decided it must be a cracked tooth.  This is something that can't really be treated -- either the tooth gets better on its own, or it breaks eventually and then they fix the broken tooth.  I was amazed.  I guess it happens pretty commonly, to hear a doctor say there's nothing he can do, but it's never happened to ME.  Unbelievable.  Sure enough, two and a half weeks after that visit, the tooth broke and the dentist fixed it with a filling.  The novacaine didn't have enough of an effect, though, and I whimpered and squirmed and hated it more than any dentist visit I've ever had.  The doctor was really surprised at how quickly the novacaine seemed to wear off.  He said "Most people take ten minutes to get numb, but you start getting UN-numb in ten minutes.  You must metabolize this stuff really quickly!"  I shrugged.  I just wanted to get outta there.  After I left his office, I wa able to relax and my blood started flowing more normally so *only then* did my jaw and lip get fully numb.  Great.

I've lived in this part of New Jersey for four years, and I've been looking for a great dentist the whole time.  I've only met two people who tell me they really like their dentists: one is an hour away, and the other is not covered by my insurance.  All the other people I've asked have felt the same way about their dentist as I feel about mine: "Eh, he's okay.  Nothing special, though."

Friday, September 29, 2006

My gigabyte

I lost my USB thumb drive. I knew the last place I saw it was at home in the evening, and I noticed it missing the next morning at work. So it had to be somewhere in the middle. Either it's in the house somewhere, or it's in the bag I take to work, or in the car. I never went on a tear looking for it for two reasons: 1) I expected to run across it in my daily dealings and 2) there was no critical data on it.

I checked through my bag, looked under the seats in my car, checked the likely spots at home, and couldn't find it. I made up a song to mourn my loss, sung to the tune of "O Christmas Tree": "O gigabyte, O gigabyte, I wonder where is my gigabyte."

A week ago I gave up and bought a new drive. I didn't have time to play with it though, because work was busy and evenings have been full... so this morning I woke up early to install all my favorite Firefox extensions and to save my passwords into Roboform. I spent two hours goofing off on the Internet getting it all set up just so, and made myself late for work in the process.

I got to work and pulled my laptop out of my bag, and THERE IS WAS. My lost gigabyte was right there in the bottom of the bag. I could have SWORN I looked in that spot! It's fallen into that spot several times before, so I knew to look for it there. How did I miss it? And I JUST got done investing two hours into the customization of the replacement thumb drive. Ugh. I'll give that one back to my husband since he's been envying my U3 applications and his thumb drive didn't come with U3 installed. (Shameless pride: He's remarkably generous -- when we found out that one drive had U3 and the other didn't, he let me have the U3 one. Isn't he great?) So now we can both have U3.

Anyway I'm thrilled to have my old drive back now. I quickly installed all the cool extensions I discovered during my goof-off time this morning. I'm having a private little party in my soul today because I found it!

And to top it off, I'm driving a really cool car today. The dealership gave us a Lexus SUV as a loaner car, and it's so much fun. What a difference from my little Civic with a slipping transmission. And the driver's seat makes me feel so big and high up. I grin every time I hit the gas.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Attorney review

We've bought a house. Well, we're close anyway. Our second counteroffer was accepted, and we've signed the contract.... now we're just waiting for the sellers to sign and then begins the period of attorney review. My mom is scared that in New Jersey, it's entirely possible for another buyer to swoop in with a better offer and "steal" your house during the attorney review period. I'm not worried, though, because the market here just isn't that hot. The house has been on the market for over 2 months and ours was only the second offer. The first offer was contingent on the buyers selling their current home, and our offer had no contingencies so we won.

The new house is in a new congregation, but I won't be spreading the news to my current congregation until it's "official." Anyway it's only about a half-hour away, so we can visit whenever.

It's starting to sink in that a home is a big responsibility. We have no idea what's involved in maintaining a home, so I've been reading consumer-advice websites to figure out which maintenance tasks need to be done at which intervals. There's more to do than I ever dreamed. When I was a kid, my parents never let on that it was so much work to take care of a house!

Speaking of my parents, the new house has a relatively big in-law suite with its own bedroom, living areas, kitchen, and bathroom. So they'll be moving in as soon as we are ready for them. There's no big rush for either of us, though, so it's a little strange to be rushing right now. But we have to rush because our contract allows 3 days for getting this done, 10 days for getting that done... we have to hurry up and get all that stuff done. So I expect to be pretty busy for the next coupla weeks!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nose Collapse

I visited the Pittsburgh airport today for a meeting with some US Airways maintenance personnel. Just before lunchtime, one of the maintenance guys who was escorting me received word of a “nose collapse” at the gate. It sounded pretty dramatic to me. As it turned out, a nose collapse means that the landing gear failed and the nose of the aircraft fell straight to the ground.

The passengers on board the plane must have experienced a very strange sensation as the front of the plane dropped ten feet to the ground. The people were deplaned, and the aircraft was jacked up and strapped to the back of a flatbed, then towed into the hangar. Dozens of maintenance workers dropped what they were doing to come out and watch its arrival around lunchtime. I don't want to offer too much commentary lest I offend my hosts at US Airways, but I will say that it was a really cool thing to see. When I walked through the airport shops later in the day, all the staff and crew members were still buzzing about the accident.

I can only post the pictures published elsewhere by the media. For example:

What a great day to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the US Airways maintenance facility! Well, not so great for US Airways I guess.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ow, my aching hip adductor....

According to the sign at the gym, my hip adductor is the muscle along my inner thigh that is targeted by the infamous Thighmaster gadget. I'm in the midst of another 14 days straight at the gym, for the same reasons as last time. This past Thursday was day four. Having re-stocked my MP3 player, I finally had entertainment options beyond the LCD TV built into the treadmill. NOW I had the freedom to move around and use other equipment at the gym.

I hadn't worked my legs in three or four weeks, so that's where I decided to start. I had the brilliant idea to jump in right where I left off, instead of starting slowly and increasing the weight and the reps gradually. My quads and my hip adductors was pretty sore on Friday, but nothing I couldn't handle. I went to the gym again Friday -- I had to, or else I won't allow myself to buy the clothes as a reward at the end of 14 days in a row. I worked my arms to give my legs a rest.

By Saturday, though, my legs felt worse. Shouldn't they be getting better? I decided I needed to get some blood flowing through my legs, so the workout was a gentle one. I sat on the reclining stationary bike, set it to minimal resistance, and pedaled for 10 minutes at a leisurely pace.

But yesterday my legs felt even worse. Yikes. Maybe I really injured myself. I'd had a similar injury a couple of years ago, from skiing with poor form. It was a torn calf muscle that required weeks of physical therapy to heal. So I decided to imitate the principles I'd learned in my past therapy sessions. Duplicate the movements that caused the injury, except very gently. Let the pain be your guide. If it hurts, stop.

My quads weren't hurting so much anymore, so at least it seemed isolated to a single group of muscles now. So on Sunday afternoon I sat on the hip adductor machine again. I set it to the least possible weight and started opening and closing my legs. It was tough to stretch my knees apart, so I did it as far as a could. And then I lifted that tiny weight up and down a dozen times until I got tired. I rested and went back, and I was able to stretch the knees apart even further without hurting.

I went home and was amazed at how much better I felt. I could sit normally, walk normally, and now it just felt like sore (not injured) muscles. Whew. Maybe I fixed it. This morning I woke up and did as much stretching as I could do without pain, and I'm amazed at the improvement over yesterday.

So when I log into the gym tonight it will be day eight of 14. The carrot I've got dangling in front of me is clothes shopping. I'm more than halfway there: Lands' End, here I come.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I have a talk

Tonight I had a five-minute talk to present.  I've known about it for a little more than a week, but -- typically -- I waited until the last minute to prepare it.  I even had off work yesterday ALL DAY and I didn't spend any time preparing.  At 10 PM I started reading the source material, and organizing my thoughts a little until I was too exhausted at 10:45 and I had to go to sleep.  I woke up at 6:30 (which is not enough sleep for me) and fleshed the rest of it out, making myself 20 minutes late for work in the process.  But at least it was done.  So I thought.

The meeting starts at 7:30 PM and I want to be early so I can rehearse a couple times before delivering it.  So I need to leave the house at 6:45 and that should be fine.  I called the other lady who normally rides in my car and explained we would be leaving a little earlier than usual.  At 6:45 I was ready to walk out the door, just need to print it out and off we go.


Something about the print server.  It won't print.  Reboot.  It won't print.  Gnash teeth.  It won't print.  Consider writing it out longhand as a last resort.  No, not enough time.  The other lady is waiting for me outside and it's probably raining and there's not enough time for writing it out.  Think.  Think.  Ugh, I can't think when I'm panicked.  What time is it?  Ack!  It's 6:55 and I was supposed to leave ten minutes ago.  Do I have a fax machine I can fax it to?  Then the fax machine can stand in as my "printer."  Think.  No fax machine.  I have a fax number, but it's a "virtual fax" that delivers an image to my mailbox.  No good for printing.

Ah! I know! They have a computer at the meeting site.  It's an old computer, might not have Word or a USB port.... I'll have to format it in RTF so old software will be able to read it, and I'll have to find a floppy.  Good, found a floppy.  This one should be blank I think.  Put the disk in my computer.  Doh.  They don't sell computers with floppy drives in them anymore.  I don't have a floppy drive anywhere.  (Then why do I still have all these floppy disks in my office??  Not now.  Decluttering the office will have to wait.)  Darn, it's 7:00 now and anyone I can call for help has already left for the meeting.  Why did I do this to myself?  If only I had prepared better, I could have prevented all this anguish.  Who can I call?  Who can fix my print server error message?  Nobody. What an odd feeling -- normally *I'M* the one fixing my friends' computer frustrations. I've been using computers since I was 11 and I've never had a printer error that I couldn't fix. I heard a lot of stories in college like this - frantic students struggling to print the term paper that is due by midnight... but I've never personally experienced anything like this.  Who can print this for me?  Who has access to email so I can send the file, is coming to the same meeting tonight, AND has not already left for the meeting that begins in a half-hour?  STEVE!

"Hi Steve, are you going to the meeting tonight?"
"We sure are."
"Oh, good, because I've got a printer meltdown and I have to give this talk tonight."
"Just email it to me. I'll print it out for you and give it to you when I get there."
"Okay, thanks!  Bye!"

Quick, get the books, get the keys, grab these papers, go to the door, set the alarm, no - I don't need these papers, toss them back in the house, lock the door, and dash to the car.  Pick up the lady who's been waiting for 15 minutes outside, apologize for asking her to be ready so early, and call Steve to make sure he was successful.  That way I can still turn around and resort to handwriting my notes if needed.  Where's my cell phone?  Argh! I left it on the table.  That's okay, I have my company cell phone right here.  Um, Steve's phone number isn't in this phone.  I think I know it.  Two wrong numbers - okay, I guess I don't know it.  Who DOES know it?  Whose number can I recall from memory who will have Steve's number, who has NOT left for the meeting yet?  The lady in the passenger seat knows one number we can try.  Whew, okay, will you dial it please?

"Hi Ter, it's Jen"
"Oh, hi Jen, how are ya?"
"Well, I'm quite anxious because I've got a printer crisis and a talk to give tonight and I need Steve's help.  Do you happen to have his number?"
"Right here."
"Thanks, bye!"

Man, I had been so close.  That 3 should have been an 8 and I would have had the number myself the first time.  Dial Steve.  He got it.  He's bringing the prinouts.  Okay.  Converse with my poor passenger and for the rest of the ride reassure myself out loud that everything's going to be okay.  And anyway there's no point being anxious now because there's nothing more I can do until Steve gets to the meeting with the papers.

We arrive at the meeting at 7:15 and I had conversations that I don't remember now.  I notice at some point that one of the books I'll need for my talk is in Spanish -- I've brought the wrong book.  I borrow someone else's copy.  Finally Steve arrives, I thank him again, and go downstairs to rehearse.  They won't need me till 8:00 or so, and I haven't even timed my talk yet to see if it's within the strict five-minute limit.  I wish I brought a timer.  The thought crossed my mind during the rush to leave the house, but clearly I forgot it in the end.

First run through the talk, with lots of stopping for explanation and adjustment and such, takes ten minutes.  Yikes, this is way too long.  I can cut this -- and this.  Try again, timing carefully.  Four and a half minutes later I'm nowhere near the conclusion.  Cut that right there and let's see if that's enough.  Try again.  After three minutes, I'm not halfway through the material yet.  But I'm not sure I counted the time right because my watch doesn't have the best kind of markings for this sort of thing.  I knew I should have brought a timer.  Start over and time it even more carefully, calling out each minute mark verbally to be sure I don't mis-count again.  At the four-minute mark, I should be beginning my conclusion and I'm not even close!  Okay, fine, let's keep going and see how much I am overtime.  It's six minutes long.  I have to cut off a whole minute.  Holy mackerel, I have to cut something substantial.  Think out loud, re-state the main points and see if I can cut this section and also that section without undermining the logic of those main points.  Uh huh, explain to myself why those two sections can safely be cut.  Yup, with those two sections gone I think this should be better.  Let's run through it again to make sure.

The "one last" run-through doesn't happen though, because right then the door opens, the man points to the ceiling, and says "they're calling for you upstairs!"
"No.  You're kidding."
"No!  They're calling for you."

The clock says 8:05 -- where did the time go?? as I scoop my papers and books and bound up the stairs.  There's another part being given now.  They've quickly adjusted the sequence to put on someone else in my time slot and I will go on afterwards.  I'm relieved that there's not any dead airtime waiting for me to get there.  Stand in the back and wait for her part to finish so I don't distract anybody unnecessarily.  During that standing-in-the-back time, I whisper to the man who retrieved me: "Did they really call for me and call for me and look around and so everyone knows I was downstairs?"  Yep, really.  I'm mortified.

Okay, she's done.  The chairman thanks her and begins his transition, so I need to make my way up front now.  I get to my spot, and smile while the meeting is handed over to me.  Give my talk.  I'm in the zone - it goes great.  I'm speaking in a smooth conversational manner, I can hear it in my own ears that it's sounding good.  It seems like I just got started and I hear myself starting the conclusion.  Boy, five minutes is not a long time to develop things is it?  For a half-second I find myself thinking maybe I cut too much, but no way.  No way.  I needed to shave a minute and I'm sure those last two pieces were a minute of material.  I finish, and the chairman thanks me and I return to my seat WITHOUT the chairman rapping his pen on the chair, which is what he does when you go overtime.  Okay, so I must not have gone overtime.  Good.

I sit in my chair for the next fifteen minutes of the meeting but I'm still wired.  I never had a chance to unwind all that anxiety that had been building since 6:45.  Or really, since last night when I realized I had a talk that was not even begun yet.  I have to talk to someone.  The chairman is done with his duties for the night, so maybe he's in the back of the hall and I can go talk to him.  Oooh, he IS back there.  I didn't actually expect him to be there.  I tell him how horrible I feel about being absent when he was depending on me to be there.  He pokes a tiny bit of fun and assures me that everything's fine, the schedule didn't suffer, stop beating yourself up, and anyway you did just great up there.  He goes back to his seat and I don't feel better yet.  Still wired.  My eyes are moist, maybe I need to cry.  Yeah, I need to tell someone to keep me accountable.  Don't let me do this again, because this is the second time in a row I've handled my talks poorly.  I should have learned this lesson the last time and clearly I didn't.  I'm gonna go downstairs and cry and think about who I can unburden on.

Walk down the stairs.  Shucks, there's someone already down here.  Need an excuse.  Ah, yes, I took that pencil out while we were practicing before and I didn't put it away.  I'll go put it away.  It's not very sharp anymore though - I should probably sharpen it so that the next person who needs it will find a nice sharp usable pencil just as I had found.  Ask the other person down here if we have a pencil sharpener.  He opens and closes drawers and declares that we don't.  Wipe my eyes because now they're welling up and maybe he will notice I'm tearful and he'll let me talk to him.  He doesn't notice.  He leaves.

I sit down and cry a few little tears of regret -- I feel so stupid for going through all this anxiety when it was perfectly preventable.  And it's the second time in a row I've done this.  I promised myself the LAST time that I wouldn't make the same mistake again.  And I'm embarrassed because after the meeting surely everyone's going to have to make some comment about how I wasn't upstairs when I needed to be.  Then I pull myself together.  After all this is not a really big deal.  It's not worth the time I'm spending now wallowing in self-pity, and not even close to being worth these tears.  Sniffle, blow my nose, check the mirror to be sure my eyes aren't red from crying, and go back upstairs.  At the top of the stairs I realize I still can't go back to my seat because I'm still too wired.  There's not much to distract you when you sit so close to the front, and at least if I stay standing back here I can look at the whole hall and keep my mind busy by watching all the people and the comings and goings at the door.  I certainly couldn't sit and pay attention to the speaker with my mind racing like it is now.

After some time in the back, hey, the meeting's ending in fifteen minutes.  I better go sit down and pay attention or I will have missed practically the whole thing.  And before I knew it, the meeting was over.  After the dismissal, I make a conscious effort to hide my feelings of self-doubt and just thank people when they tell me I did a good job.  Resist the temptation to blurt out how HARD my night had been.  They don't need to know -- just let them think I was really just as relaxed as I looked on stage.

Then Dee tells me I did well.  I know Dee gets super-nervous when she has talks.  I've helped her prepare once before, and when we worked on it together I made sure we were prepared days and days ahead of time to minimize her anxiety.  Just now it dawns on me that the "special" effort I put forth in that instance is really what I SHOULD be doing all the time.  Tell Dee everything.  With the timeline even.  Ask if she'll keep me accountable next time, call me weeks before my talk and start asking questions to force me to start working on it.  I want her to demand a written outline, like a schoolteacher would do.  I really want her to force me to prepare well next time.  She starts to see I'm serious and okay, she agrees to help.

So now I can finally, finally relax.  It's 9:45 and I've been stressed for three hours straight, but now I have a solution.  Even though I've done this same mistake two times in a row now, I feel like I really learned from the experience because I've put a safety net in place and I can be sure it will be better next time.

And not one person commented about my horrifying absence.  What a great crowd.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Back from the Pacific

I've been traveling.  I love to travel.  My company had three regional sales meetings in two weeks, so I spent a few days in Montreal, a few days in Chicago, and one night in Laguna Beach, California.  As you would expect, Laguna Beach was the best.  My room was one flight of stairs and 30 feet from the beach.  It had an ocean view so I slept with the sliding door open to hear the rumbling waves all night long.  I actually tried to fall asleep outside on my balcony because it was such a unique experience to be sleeping so close to the ocean, but by midnight I realized the breaking waves were too thunderous to let me sleep.  I imagine that's what a tornado might sound like, except louder and sustained.

The flight out to Laguna Beach, however, not so great.  Departure from Philadelphia was delayed an hour due to maintenance (broken seatbelt in row 17) and then another hour on the tarmac waiting for our turn to take off.  So my two-hour layover in Las Vegas had dwindled to ten minutes, which is just the right amount of time to run through the airport and yet still miss the connection.  To avoid this fate, the flight attendants made the announcement they usually make in these situations: "Ladies and gentlemen, we have many passengers on this flight making tight connections, so if Las Vegas is your final destination these connecting passengers would appreciate if you would stay in your seats and let them off the plane first."  People never actually do that, though.  At the gate I ended up yelling from row 26: "Hey, folks up front -- I've got ten minutes for my connection -- would you mind clearing the aisle?"  I repeated it a couple of times, apologized for my volume, and dozens of people stayed in their seats to let the connecting passengers get off the plane.  I thanked them as I passed by those rows on my way up the aisle.

I was actually surprised that it had worked.  If flight attendants made their usual announcement after the "ding" that frees us from our seats at the gate instead of during descent, I think more people would extend the courtesy.  When the seatbelt sign goes off and they see that nobody's really staying seated, they do remember the announcement the flight attendant made, and they think sympathetically about those poor connecting passengers, but they figure "why should I wait when nobody else iS waiting?"  If nothing else, my experience shows that they will at least listen to a screaming woman.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm not sure what to think

My goodness!  Scientific experimentation is one thing, but I know this -- if I had the urge to find the answer to a question like this one, I would design and conduct the experiment on a volunteer.  Not on myself!


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Things I learned today

- definition of "gainsay," which appeared in the songbook tonight (song 57 for those of you who use the same songbook as I use): "To oppose, especially by contradiction." From the middle English "gain," for against, and "sayen" for say. Who knew?

- Diet Coke and Mentos is a real scientific demonstration, not just an urban myth. See

- Why they call them Milk Duds: the candy was supposed to be spherical, so the ones that collapsed (which was most of them), were "duds."

Friday, June 02, 2006


So it turns out that I like sushi.  I didn't know this about myself, but it turns out it's true!  Whenever my friends brought me to sushi places, I always got shrimp tempura or something very anti-sushi, things on the menus at these restaurants precisely for people like me.  People who can't get past the idea of raw meat. I'm a microbiologist, after all.  I'm not afraid exactly, because I know this type of food can be handled safely.  I just can't believe people would eat raw meat on purpose.  And anyway, the portions are so small, wouldn't you still be hungry afterwards?
Well on one business trip in California a month ago, it was the same story.  The group wanted sushi, so when we got there I ordered a tempura meal.  It was yummy, and I was full.  But something about the sushi still on the table had my curious streak running hot.  So I asked a couple of questions to let everyone know I was interested in tasting one piece.  Someone suggested the salmon nigiri since that's apparently a good sushi for beginners.  I found it quite yummy.  The texture is just what I had expected, and the flavor was mild and fishy.  I called the server over and ordered two pieces for my very own.
Well today, I was in Center City Philadelphia for a doctor's appointment and needed lunch.  I walked a few blocks around the doctor's office and stumbled upon this sushi place.  I didn't know how much sushi I should order, so I read the menu's lunch specials.  It seemed they sold 12 pieces of nigiri "plus" a plate of rolls or whatever as a lunch for two.  So I guessed 8 pieces of nigiri with nothing on the side would make a decent lunch for one.  I got two kinds of salmon, crab meat, and yellowtail.  I began conservatively: a bite of the same salmon nigiri I had tried in California.  Then I progressed to the new kinds of food on my plate, even to the point where I was putting a little ginger on each bite.  Towards the end I put a little wasabi in my soy sauce even!  It didn't taste any different though, so I concluded that I hadn't used enough.  That's where my adventurous streak wore out though - I couldn't put more wasabi and risk NOT LIKING the rest of my sushi.  I thoroughly enjoyed my food without it.
But I was still hungry in the end.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm mad and you better apologize

My colleague at work, we'll call him Jim, made me so mad yesterday.  He had asked for a PDF document a couple of days ago, and I didn't get it to him.  So he called yesterday morning around ten to make sure I hadn't forgotten his request.
"I haven't forgotten, I just haven't gotten to that item yet."
"But now I need it urgently."
"How urgently?"
"I need it today."
So I started on the PDF around 4:45.  I ran into a few problems and needed to do some research to answer another question he asked in another email.  It took me an hour.  So I sent him the PDF and the rest of the email at 5:45.  When I hit send, my message was off my screen and my inbox returned.  In that inbox, I found a new message that had arrived around 5:30.  It was from this colleague, and it was mean - full of capital letters and such.  He had CC'ed my boss, and proceeded to tell me how important his request had been, and he requested it twice including a call this morning where he made it very clear that he needed it today, and he wanted an explanation as to why I hadn't sent his document, and he would need me to send it FIRST THING in the morning.  I replied immediately, also copying my boss, telling him "Relax.  You said you needed it today and you got it today.  I don't let you down."  Then I sent him another message without copying my boss, telling him "Don't be evil."  And maybe one other sentence that I can't remember.  I can't remember it because my whole drive home all I could think of was that I left out a thought from that message -- since when has anybody needed to go to my boss to get me to do anything?  I don't drag my feet!  If I'm not going to do something, I tell you straight out that I'm not going to do it.  Or that I'm not going to meet your deadline or whatever.  Aargh! It's all I could think of, the whole 25-minute drive.  And I was mad at myself for dwelling on such negative thoughts.  I wanted to think about other things, get positive.  Finally when I got home I had my regular routine waiting for me, and the usual hurry-up distracted me.  Thank goodness for the distraction, otherwise I might have sent him another email and I would have regretted it.
This morning, I found his reply in my mailbox.  He blamed it on "one of those days," and called himself "Mr. Grumpy Pants."  And he copied my boss.  It made me laugh, and all was fine.  I don't think it was a sincere apology, but I don't care very much now.  He's done this kind of thing before, and he always has to swallow his words later.  So it was just another one of those times.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Green Day

Driving to work this morning, all the traffic signals on my route were green!  It was amazing.  My drive was reduced from 25 to 20 minutes, and my poor little transmission didn't have to shift in and out of second gear very much.  It really doesn't seem to like that part, so it was nice to have the car in 4th gear the whole way.  But the green-ness of the lights was so surprising in part because it wasn't even a close race - I wasn't speeding to catch the yellow light before it turned red.  I wasn't even speeding to catch the green before it turned yellow.  (Well, yeah that's true, except on the last signal.  By then I had fully realized that this drive had been different from all the others and I didn't want to wreck it.)  It was just green for me the whole way.  I've been driving that route since I started with this company in November 2002 and this is the first time I've even come close to a green day like today.

I think this is going to be a good day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hit in the head with a hangar door

I spent part of my weekend with a friend who was injured at work five
weeks ago. His doctor is telling him to expect to be out of work for
at least eight months, and last weekend was the first time he came out
to visit friends. He was hurting a little, but a little hurt in a lot
of places is exhausting. I wonder when will be the next time he does

This is my friend who works as a ticket agent at the airport, whose
stories I love to hear. My husband and I have both missed his company
for the last several weeks. And his wife has been crazy busy running
him to therapy and doctors and homeschooling their 9-year-old daughter
-- so busy that she's made herself sick. She's been down for the
count for five days now, and she won't just stop and rest.

I hate to see suffering.

Monday, May 22, 2006

14 days

My health insurance reimburses me $150 each year if I go to the gym
120 times during the year. I haven't made it for two years. My
husband made it both years (though we missed out on the money the
first year due to a technicality). Our gym has a keypad where you
type in your numbers to log your visits.

So 120 visits to the gym over 12 months is only 10 visits per month.
I can do that, right? My year began on April 15, but by the end of
Month One I had only gone twice. I had also worked out twice more in
hotel gyms while traveling, but I haven't figured out how to count
those yet because they don't have the keypad logger thing in hotels.

So to get back on track, I need to go to the gym EVERY DAY for 14 days
in a row. Today was Day Three of this marathon. I'm so sleepy.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


1. Follow the movement of the rotating pink dot - you will only see one color: pink.
2. Then stare at the black + in the center, and notice that the moving dot turns to green.
3. Now, concentrate on the black + in the center of the picture. After a short period of time, all the pink dots will slowly disappear, and you will see only a green dot rotating!
4. When you break your gaze, the green and pink dots will be separately visible for a short time.

It's amazing how our brain works. There really is no green dot, and
the pink ones really don't disappear. This should be proof enough, we
don't always see what we think we see.

Copied from here

Let the House Hunting Begin

I stumbled across a home for sale a few weeks ago that really caught
my eye. We called the number on the for-sale sign and asked if we
could see inside. The end result was that the house didn't work out,
but now we have our very own real estate agent.

We met with her and liked her, and she sent us a pile of listings to
look at. I thought my criteria were quite narrow so I was surprised
to see the number of listings that she sent over.

The plan for this weekend is to drive by some of them. It should be fun.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Mom left this morning, after visiting for two weeks. We were very busy and had great fun:
- Longwood Gardens where we took over 150 photos
- Knocking screening which was quite impressive; I can't wait until it airs on TV in 2007
- Dinner at Blue Eyes, where the food was disappointing after they changed chefs, Devon, where you can't go wrong, Red Lobster, which is a classic in my family, The Stone Grille, which my husband hated and Mom & I loved, and several at-home adventures out of the Indian cookbook.
- Poseidon on IMAX, which was way too suspenseful and disorienting for Mom to relax but we enjoyed it
- Mom spent a day visiting an old, good friend and some sights in Patterson, NY, and she learned to hate the George Washington Bridge! She also had the joyful experience of showing her license, registration, and proof of insurance to New York's Finest - but it wasn't her fault: the policeman didn't know the car's registration was up-to-date since New Jersey stopped using registration decals on license plates.
- A trip to the library so Mom could start to catch up with her favorite author, Robin Cook
- Household chores which are always more fun when you have someone you love working alongside you
- Dinners with friends
- The ceremonial visit to Ikea where the cafe introduced us to this fabulous pear cider
- We tried to go to Rita's every day but only made it a couple of times. My new favorite is a Green Apple Gelati
- Mom's famous french pancakes. She has tried and tried to show me how to make them as thin as she makes them, but I think I must be missing one of the necessary genes
- Met together with our new real estate agent to begin the home-buying process

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I am in love with the aviation industry.  I love hearing stories from my friend the ticket agent for United, I love selling my fuel test products to the airlines, I love flight attendant books....  I love this industry.  I would become a pilot if I had an extra week every month.

Southwest Airlines recently started a blog that I've subscribed to, and following a series of links from one recent post I ran into this excellent story about a groom who *barely* catches his flight:

Friday, April 28, 2006

Travel decisions

A new personal best: 11,901 steps yesterday.  I was in Anaheim and visited the gym in the morning, sat in meetings all day, then walked from the hotel to Downtown Disney and back.

Our 5th anniversary is coming up in 5 short months, and we have $5,000 and a little over a week to go anywhere.  It's tough to decide because I want everything - privacy and intimacy so we can discuss big Issues, excitement and sponteneity so we can enjoy the change of pace, planned tours and sightseeing so we can take advantage of the rare opportunity to see other parts of the world, comfort food so I don't have to widen that scary horizon for myself, but the option to try new foods as long as I know I like all the ingredients...  It's fun to dream about all the places we want to visit: Italy? Argentina? Grand Canyon? Alaska? Australia? A local all-inclusive resort and spa? Or a not-so-local one? Stay in hostels and save money for fine dining? Or go for all-around luxury?  It's awe-inspiring to realize the world is really so big, but it all just makes this decision so enjoyably difficult.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I've never been entertained by gazing at art, but last week this story on NPR and the Listener Comments the following week made me want to visit Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey to visit this sculpture inspired by Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party.

A new pedometer record

Saturday my steps reached 11,200+ steps.  A new personal best!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

My pedometer

I have been wearing my pedometer for a couple of months now.  I've only gotten to 10,000 steps once in that time -- it was a day where I was setting up my trade show booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center at the end of March, and my freight was missing.  I had to walk back and forth across the whole convention floor several times to track it down.  It did eventually show up, and I had 10,200+ steps by the end of the night.  It felt so good!

I started this venture by establishing a baseline for myself, which is what the experts say you should do.  I spent 2 weeks wearing my pedometer making no special effort to walk more than usual.  I found that in an average day spent at work, I got 2,000 steps ALL DAY.  If I paid attention and tried to walk more, I would get 3,000.  Weekends usually netted me 5,000 steps.

I've improved that so that I can usually get 4,000 steps on workdays, and today is shaping up to be my second 10,000+ day.  I'm at 9995 and the day is not done.  I feel so good.  It's a weekend *plus* treadmill time at the gym, so that's why I got such spectacular results.

Daily Mail Picnic Animation

I saw this and thought you might enjoy it. Make sure your speakers
are turned on because the song is really funny! : - )