Friday, June 15, 2007

Showing My Age/Watching Too Much "Noggin"

Okay, I totally just googled the cast of "Oswald" and found out that the voice of the penguin, Henry, is Squiggy from "Laverne and Shirley". I knew it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hello, Patient People.

It's been a long, long time, hasn't it? Although much has been happening (or maybe because much has been happening), I haven't had too much time to put pen to paper lately.

My husband's father passed away at the end of May.

He had been struggling with ALS (that's Lou Gehrig's Disease) for a little over a year. Before he died, he was unable to speak and was communicating via a little yellow notepad upon which he would write things like, "Is the hospice person coming today?" and "Wine" (yes, wine. That's a whole other story). He couldn't go anywhere without the assistance of a walker, and during the last weeks, he couldn't even manage that. The first day that his wife, my mother-in-law, could convince him to use the wheelchair was the day that he died in it. At the end, he could only eat a few things. His throat muscles stopped working, so he would suddenly start violently choking and gasping for breath even when he wasn't eating. He was a man who had survived prostate cancer. He had been a long-distance runner and a biker. He was a fisherman. He owned his own business that he'd bought from his father in the late 60s. And he loved a party.

Back before he was diagnosed, we all noticed some small things, like his slurred speech and his occasionally falling down for no apparent reason. Since he had been known to enjoy a drink or two on a regular basis, we kind of chalked it up to an increased alcohol intake. Concerning, but not immediately dangerous. So everyone was kind of annoyed with him and worried that he seemed to be getting so drunk so often. Over time, though, as we paid closer attention, we realized that the slurred speech was there even when he hadn't had anything to drink; and that he was falling down in the middle of the day at work. His fingers started to feel tingly, and he was short of breath. He and my mother-in-law went to several doctors and finally drove up to the Mayo Clinic and parked there until they could see a specialist. They diagnosed him with ALS, which is a degenerative neural disease with no cure.

That was more than a year ago; and up until the day he passed, he was going to work for at least a few hours a day (he was a local business owner). He came home, sat down in the wheelchair so they could move him into the den/bedroom, and died before he could get to his brown leather easy chair.

I have mixed feelings. I'm struggling with some guilt, because I'm still angry with him over a broken promise that he made to me about 2 1/2 years ago. But, he also once called my husband's ex-wife a shithead, so that was pretty okay in my book.

We're all trying to get back to normal. Maybe this transition is easier for us because for a long time, he was kind of there-but-not-there. He couldn't really participate in any of the family stuff going on around him. "You treat me like I'm already dead!" he once wrote to my mother-in-law.

The wake was attended by a few hundred people, and it was exhausting for everyone - my mother-in-law, my husband, and his brother and sister. But it was kind of cool to see how many people came out to say goodbye.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Grind

Been studying for weeks for a two-hour Finance exam I've got on Saturday. It's my last class, and it's still up in the air whether or not I'll pass it. I've struggled with the homework assignments, and so I have to do well this week. I'm getting most of it, but I worry about my ability to pull it all together in order to answer the questions intelligently.

If I never calculate another Eurodollar swap in my lifetime, it will be too soon.

Monday, May 7, 2007

They Shouldn't Let Us Sit Together.

From: Don
Sent: May 07, 2007 10:34 AM
Subject: RE: ******Practical Problem Solving Training******


Pending further details the below outlined classes are canceled. Apologize for any inconvenience this exercise may have caused.

There will be a class that is scheduled for next week, more to come.


From: M.
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2007 10:38 AM
To: Don
Subject: RE: ******Practical Problem Solving Training******

HAHAHA…what happened???


From: Don
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2007 10:47 AM
To: M.
Subject: RE: ******Practical Problem Solving Training******

For whatever reason, they are not having 4 classes. Just one on Monday the 14th, and they are only having 5 people from [our department] attend.

Who knows!!!!!


From: M.
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2007 10:49 AM
To: Don
Subject: RE: ******Practical Problem Solving Training******

Who are the five people? I want to get their names, in case I ever have a problem that needs solving.


From: Mike
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2007 10:50 AM
To: Don
Cc: M.
Subject: RE: ******Practical Problem Solving Training******

Don –

While we wait for these classes to be rescheduled, should we:

1) ignore all our problems, or

2) continue to attempt to solve them in the old untrained, impractical manner?

Please advise.

– Mike

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Today is Beltane, the traditional mid-point of Spring. It's sunny and 80 here! Just a perfect day.

The Pagan year is divided into 8 sections: the quarters and the cross-quarters. The quarters represent the equinoxes and solstices and the cross-quarters designate roughly the mid-point between them. Generally, the cross-quarters are considered to be the "high" holidays, as they're meant to represent the fullest part of the season - Beltane for spring, Lughnassadh for the summer, Samhain for the fall, and Imbolc for the winter.

Beltane is also arguably the, ah, friskiest of the Pagan holidays. It's finally warm enough to peel off those coats and sweaters, and come outside squinting into the sunlight after a long winter. It's the first time in a while that we can go running around without worrying about frostbite on our more delicate areas. Things are becoming alive. You can't help but feel joyful at the sight of the sun beaming through all the tiny leaves that decorate the maple tree like a pale, bright green halo. Beltane is a celebration of the simple act of creating life. Of fire and warmth. Of survival and procreation. Of life-affirming and (oh, I'll just say it) very raunchy sex.

The Pre-Christian Celts knew this about the liveliness that Spring begets; one of the vestiges of Pagan faith that survives today is the Maypole. A tall pole is erected (!!) in the middle of the town, with ribbons attached at the top. Each dancer holds the loose end of one of the ribbons, and a large wreath is set over the top of the pole. As the dancers weave in and out and plait the ribbons down the pole, the wreath moves slowly down upon it until it rests on the ground. To wit:

(I'm sure I don't need to spell out the imagery for you, do I?)

Now go find someone to love. Happy Beltane!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Actual Words I've Actually Heard at Work

What with all the corporate-speak and the buzzwords and the general business blather I'm forced to listen to every day here in the cubicle farm, it's both scary and a little refreshing to be able to present to you the List of Corporate Non-Words that Sound Really Good. This is a list that hangs in my cubicle, and I add to it every time I hear someone utter a word that isn't really a word (or, might possibly be a word but could easily be replaced with a simpler one).

I started out by only including words that I received in written correspondence, but I recently changed my rules to include spoken conversations. I subtract a point if I only overhear it, but I give bonus points if I hear a word being used by a VP or above.


My cubicle-mate/coworker thinks I should include "sortation", but I haven't yet. ("What is that? Is it a system you use to sortate things??")

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fashion at Work

I know I complained about those gaucho pants before, but I saw something today that almost made me laugh out loud. You know those Italian loafer shoes that all the cool boys are wearing these days?

Besides the alligator detailing and the two-tone brown with the buckle, look at how pointy that toe is! Practically a weapon. It makes me think of those poulaines that you always see in those 15th-century paintings:

I don't know why these are fashionable. Come on, guys, you look like you have clown feet.

Not sexy.

These are possibly only to be outdone by that old middle manager standby, the tasseled loafer:

Bleargh. If I were single, this? Would be a dealbreaker.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


This picture makes my feet tingle. Vertigo, anyone?

That confirms it. I will never, never, never, be able to bungee-jump.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's About Time

Also: Here's hoping we never have to use it again on a headstone.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Love plus Infinity

My dad and my son at the National Zoo, 2007


Love the earth and the sun and the animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others,
hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
or to any number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
and with the young, and the mothers or families,
re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
and dismiss whatever insults your own soul;
and your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Walt Whitman

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Hey, I just moved over from Yahoo. I feel like I just graduated from a tricycle to a what? Schwinn? Anyway, there you have it. I graduated from blogging nursery school. :)