You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2007.

Passing a delivery-type truck that had a car (packed to the gills) sticking out of the back, and was towing another truck, also packed to the gills. Dangerous, but hilarious.

Seeing a V22 Ospery hover and land.

Seeing a train full of army gear. Cool.

Having the best grilled cheese sandwhich that I’ve had in a long time.

Not having too bad of a back ache (based on driving the ENTIRE way myself, and thus having lumbar support, which was much more important than actually being able to nap).

Sitting in LA traffic. And then San Diego traffic. But actually avoiding most of it due to Jason M’s iPhone and thus internet access to see what highways are backed up.

Arriving. Finally.


John came home last night to report that a co-worker, who has lots of beauty but obviously no brains, actually thought steel wool came from sheep.

I didn’t think people that stupid actually existed.


Alright, enough about my stress levels prior to a trip, although I’d like to state, for the record, that I finished all my work in time for my meeting with Dr. M, that the meeting went well, that I got all my errands done, and that I made it home by 6pm.

That allowed me to pretty much be done packing about nowish, 7:45 or so, with the possible exception of all the dive gear. As this is a dive vacation, this is only a minor detail.

However, with the stress levels, I did make two whole loaves of banana bread yesterday, and was pretty much forcible restrained by John from making anything else.

But the thing that has really occupied me today is the sheer stupidness of people.

That Ditech loan commercial that says people are smart? Makes me want to smash something.

I have long believed that a person is smart, but people in general are stupid. Stupid may not be the right word, but I’m not here to argue semantics over the issue.


Today, parked in front of a liquor store (here we go with the stereotypes), was a somewhat largish guy driving a pickup truck and wearing a cowboy hat. No problem with this so far, but then you throw in the fact that he had a CONFEDERATE FLAG on his truck.

It frustrates me these days to see people driving around with American flags, to a certain extent. I will support this country in many ways, but I don’t believe we’re doing many supportable things right now. I believe in patriotism through action, through giving, through helping and providing what is needed, not through tying a gigantic flag to your car, which is only going to decrease your gas mileage and probably kill a few bugs.

But a Confederate flag? In California? In the Midwest and South, maybe, yes, but here? That was a bit of a shock.

And really, what is the point in sporting such a flag, other than to show yourself off as somebody who can’t let go of an issue that was resolved (somewhat) about 140 years ago, and then again in the 60’s with the Civil Rights Movement?

I mean, seriously? You just end up looking like a stupid white supremist. Which is totally a stereotype, but I’m a pretty firm believer in stereotypes happening for a reason, sadly.

So that whole thing irritated me.

The other thing is the people who are calling for the Virginia Tech president to resign, and I’d like to say that I stand whole-heartedly behind the governor’s decision NOT to ask for his resignation. I’d like to believe that the guy did the best he could with the resources and information he had at the time.

AT THE TIME, everybody thought there was an isolated murder of two people. Turned out they were wrong, so very wrong, but they had no reason to believe the guy would do what he ended up doing.

This is all, of course, ignoring the fact that he should have/could have been stopped at some point along the way, when he wrote such desperate and chilling writings, when he stalked other students, when he threatened peopel, when he was in mental health clinics (which didn’t share information because they were too afraid of abusing patient privacy–oh dear god what is this country coming to?!?!), when he tried to buy a gun, and so on.

Firing the president of VT won’t make anything better. It won’t bring back those who are gone, and it won’t work to punish the man who did this. What people need to do instead is learn from the tragedy, learn how to spot this sort of behavior before it becomes this pronounced and learn how to possibly react if this whole thing ever (please no) happens again.

I understand that the parents are grieving, and that they’re looking for a scapegoat, somebody alive on whom they can take their frustration out, somebody to blame. Sadly, the person they really need to blame is dead, and there’s nothing they can do about that.

Anyways, it frustrates me, but go Virginia governor guy! And good luck to the VT president.

So yeah, it’s been a trying day, yelling at the random stupidness of people, above and beyond the daily random stupidness of people who can’t drive or what not.

But tomorrow, early in the morning, we’re off for a short vacation, and that’s all good. Work is done with for four whole days, and I’m much more mentally ready to take time off and be less frazzled than I was this morning. I’m even more ready to actually physcially go than I was this morning.

We may have internet in the hotel, but no promises. Hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend, and be safe!

And, with Seattle’s loss and the Yankee’s win, the Yanks are in sole possession of the Wild Card spot, so John will once again be happy.

My ‘To Do’ list is not short enough, but it’s getting there. However, I haven’t started packing, and there are at least 4 errands to be run tomorrow morning before a full day’s work. GAH!

Why is it that, just before we leave for a trip, everything gets crazy? I swear, sometimes it’s like the world is going to explode (or, you know, my head) if we don’t get everything done, even if we’re just going on a 4-day trip. Sheesh.

My immunoprecipitation sort-of-maybe-cross-your-fingers worked, but it’ll be easier to tell tomorrow after drying the gel. I’ve got a meeting with Dr. M tomorrow, too, so that will be data to share with her, which is always good.

Now it’s laundry and bills and cleaning and planning and maybe packing (when the laundry’s done).

Good lord do I need this trip. I’m feeling drained. Belize was fun, but diving is never relaxing, and taking 20 people diving is even less relaxing. The last couple months have been in high gear, and it doesn’t look to slow down at all.

This trip is also diving, so it won’t be that relaxing, but hoepfully it will at least be away and a bit relaxing, at least Sunday afternoon and Monday once the diving’s done. And the diving should be awesome.

Sad to say, however, the good food trend didn’t last, as last night’s dinner was fast and quick, therefore hot dogs (which really should only be ever eaten at sporting events, as that’s the only place they taste good), and tonight I’m on my own, so it’s looking like toast and chicken noodle soup. But I do have some oh-so-tasty peach jam John brought home from a customer to spice it up a bit.

And then it’s off for more craziness for about 33 more hours.

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Amy!
Happy Birthday to you!

Wish I could be there to share it with the family, but I’m sending lots of birthday wishes (and eventually an actual birthday gift!)

Big Sis

I am taking Friday off to go to San Diego to go diving, and thus I’m trying to fit a 5 day week into 4 days of work. Plus two new procedures that I’m doing for the first time, and thus require massive extra amounts of time to figure out, plus zillions of questions to the two poor post docs who are helping me.


This weekend was busybusybusy for both John and I. He had a big sale going on at work, and I worked all weekend. I also made 18 DOZEN cookies for his sale. I like to give the employees something to eat throughout the day, as I’ve seen how crazily they run around. But it was a lot of cookies. And a lot of oven time. And a lot of heat in the apartment. And sadly, a lot of cookies leftover for me to eat.

I made the mistake of chasing John down there Friday morning, as he’d taken off with my parking permit, and thus was at the store during the first day opening minutes rush. Wow. I’m never, ever doing that again. I’ll buy a day pass at school first.

I also made the mistake of thinking that since I had two tanks in the car, I’d just drop them off then. I had to threaten several people with the tanks themselves (steel 100’s, so I was darn serious!) before they’d get out of my way so I could make it back to the rental counter.

We did go bowling Friday night for Cara’s birthday, which was a blast. I came in second on the game I played, and John came in first under my name in the game he played. He got two play two people, though, so I’m not sure it’s entirely fair. Tons of fun.

We went over to Cara and James’ place Saturday night to eat fried chicken made by Cara’s mom.

Oh. My. Goodness.

So tasty. I may never recover, and I definitely need that recipe now!!

Sunday I ended up at the shop hanging out quite a bit after I woke up to discover John had left 9 dozen cookies AT HOME where I didn’t want them to be, then at work for quite a bit, and then John and I went off to explore a bistro just down the street from us, which we’ve talked about eating at for nearly 3 years, but never how.

Best gyros ever! Well, maybe not as good as the ones from Gyro Cart Guy on Welch Ave in Campustown around Iowa State University, but a darn close second! I sense a lot of gyros in my future, and within walking distance, too!

Yesterday was another full day of work, and of course I had a full day planned before my virus decided to be ready a day early, which meant I scrambled to deal with it and get stuff frozen down for today (for said new procedure) so I didn’t have to do it all yesterday. But I made it out alive.

Then it was off to dinner with a couple from our Belize trip, who have to be some of the nicest people I’ve ever randomly traveled with. We sat around trading stores for hours, and they fed us the tastiest chicken/potatoes/greek salad/corn/bread meal ever! They actually learned how to cook it all while in Greece and taking cooking lessons. Anytime they want to adopt me, they can!

(Apparently, good food has been a theme the last three nights. No wonder I’m not losing weight. Wonder what will be for dinner tonight?)

But we had so much fun with them, and I’m hoping to get together again soon.

So yes, I’m alive, but just barely. All this excitement and good food means not so much sleep, and then lots of caffeine requirements and headaches in the morning.

Two and a half more days to get three and a half more days worth of work done.

But then! Diving! Vacation! Pizza and ice cream and Japanese food! Woot!

I was listening to NPR on the radio this morning on the way to work, and as John thoughtful took his car with my parking permit in it to his place of work, I got to drive extra far this morning, which meant I got to listen extra long.

They were discussing, among other things, middle school, and whether it was beneficial to students to have a K-8 or a separate elementary and middle school. There were various debates for each, and they also touched on resources, social status of the area, parent involvment and whatnot as ways to improve middle school learning.

The very first call they took was from a lady who questioned the “elephant in the room”: the extreme social pressures, the bullying, the cliques, the stigma of middle school.

I wanted to congratulate her.

Middle school was awhile ago, but it was not the happiest time of my life, which is pretty standard now that I can look back. You’re just beginning to realize the potential of the opposite gender. People become much more judgemental. There are a lot of social games that probably are more relevant to adults, yet children are obviously playing them.

I will admit to making mistakes, and to getting involved in the social games of my peers. Through combinations of my own actions, my naitivity relative to other people, and just simple circumstances, things happened that scarred me for quite some time, and I’m sure some of them I’ll never really get over. I can forgive, but I have trouble forgetting.

I was on the editorial board of my high school’s literary publication, and you would not believe the amount of “dark” poetry and writings we got about middle school. Four years later, it was almost comical, but you could see that the invisible marks left by those two years were still felt, and that is troublesome.

But I don’t think a lot of the problems with middle school come from what the program commentators were talking about. I think the lady hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head. Middle school, in general, is a miserable time for all children, and the more counseling and openness people can generate to allow kids to ask for help, the better.

I survived somewhat intact, as evidence by the fact that I’m here and alive to talk about it (that in and of itself is an achievement for me frankly, but we won’t get into that). My self esteem and confidence, as well as my trust in other human beings, was eventually mended, if not restored. Life is better now.

A very loving relationship with a boy in high school, followed by John, and better faith in myself and my ability to judge and trust others has helped me immensely. I won’t say I’ve completely learned my lesson, as evidenced by my ability to tell people things that I *know* I don’t want to be teased about but that I reveal anyway, but like I said, I survived.

It would have been easier, I think, if somebody had reached out to me and helped me through those times. I did have one teacher who took me aside and told me she didn’t think the boy I was “dating” was good for me, and she was completely right, but in my desperate need to fit in and be appreciated, having a boyfriend was more important.

Ah well, the insights of age.

Regardless, I do believe middle school is a necessary evil, and until we can get those kids to be kids and not play adult games, it will remain just that.

I’ll add this to my mental checklist of things to deal with when I have kids of my own. Based on what I got away with, it also includeds don’t trust ’em as far as you can throw ’em.

Let’s hope I don’t pull to many and unravel!


John, apparently, just needed a weekend off. He’s fine now, and has even said he’ll continue AI training with me prior to our next schedule class, which is the end of September/October. Part of it is, apparently, that he didn’t want to train with Jeff, since he felt a heck of a lot more comfortable with Greg and he’s a little worried about the politics involved. This is absolutely a-okay with me, as I’m wary of said politics, too.

I’m a little ticked off that I spent so much time worrying about him and it was something so small, but I guess that’s why I care. He could have just said he needed a weekend off, but maybe he didn’t know for sure until he took it. Who knows.

I’m just relieved that it seems to be over, he’s recharged, and ready at least to get on with the AI training. Good stuff.


The class dives this weekend went well. It was warm, sunny, clear, and with no noticable waves orsurge. Which meant, of course, that the plankton were out in force, and viz was about 5-8 feet. It cleared up as the day progressed, to about 10-15 feet.

We actually, amazingly enough, did three dives Saturday, which we always say we’ll do and never actually do. The students did well.

I had the two teenager-ish boys and their dad to work with. The dad did excellent, and so did the sons, especially when it came to air consumption and buoyancy. I managed to find two giant rainbow nudibranchs and another small white one that I haven’t figured out what is yet.

I also did a bunch of tours in the kelp with the boys, who seemed to like swimming in among the kelp. Sometimes students get nervous, as it can be really pretty dark, but they enjoyed it.

Decorator crabs were out in force, and they had fun putting crabs on one another and seeing how long it took for the other to notice or the crab to fall off.

I got some more experience touring and doing surface skills, and it went well.

My drysuit was awesome, and I was just as excited for the third dive as I was for the first, which is a new occurrence. It was too hot to be standing around in warm fuzzies in the sun, and it’s tough to quickly get out/into a drysuit before and after using the bathroom, but that’s all made up for in the water.

It was a great time, even if John wasn’t there to share it.


Alisa has finished her AI training. I helped out this weekend, doing some dives as her “student” and messing up on certain skills to see if she’d notice and correct me.

She passed, of course, and very well, too.

Now I’ve just got to get done before the next class so we’re at equal level whenever Greg needs us, which is basically the next class.


I drove Greg to and from Monterey both days, and we did some talking that was very nice. He said I have the right mix of confidence in myself and caution in the students, and he thinks I’m doing a great job. That was a great picker-uper. I mentioned that I’d felt a little left out lately and we addressed that, so hopefully it will get better.

I think he’s aware of the “world revolves around me” personality that Alisa has, and that she’s overshadowing the rest of us. There’s not much we can do about that, but he knows that I, at least, wouldn’t mind a little more attention.

We talked about Alisa and Jeff a bit, and training and John’s and my issues with that, but that was mostly a private conversation. Sorry.

Let’s just say that most problems at this point have been addressed and Greg is aware of them and is likely to do his best to remedy the situations. I’m feeling pretty good about my relationship with him at this point, and my abilities and training, plus my future as an AI by the next class (cross your fingers!).


Amelia has asked me to do another bike ride with her, this time a 100-mile, 5000-foot climbing one in Sonoma. I’m a little wary, based on last time, but I figured we’ve gone biking once and survived, and this might be a good way to exercise any remaining ghosties.

We talked on the phone a week or so ago for about 2 hours, which was excellent. We’ve kind of drifted apart recently, and I think that potentially a chunk of that can be laid at my door, as I’ve been reluctant to do too much reaching out, both for it being taken the wrong way and to protect myself from being hurt again. Plus, she’s obviously become close friends with some other girls in my absence, which is all well and good, but I’ve got some jealousy issues. I’m working on it, though.

Anyways, so the ride. I don’t have time to train, let alone train at a level close to 100-mile rides or for giant hills in the coming weeks, but I figured I’d do what I could and just do the ride and hope it wasn’t too bad.


Except that I then realized that the next ocean session for the next class, where I plan to be AI, and the bike ride are on the same day. D’oh!

I feel like my responsibilities to a larger collective lay with Greg/Ben/James F and helping with the class, especially in light of my talks with Greg about my goal to be AI by the next class and our vague training agenda to achieve that.

So I’ve been given a tailor-made excuse not to do the ride, which the paranoid part of me is very, very relieved to have happen, but the rest of me is bummed about.

I wanted to prove to myself that (a) I could do the ride and (b) I could do it with Amelia, and (c) everything was okay with Amelia. I’ll be doing the class, since I have a responsibility to do so with those guys, but still.

If it was something else, something not for personal fun, I think Greg would understand, but he’s made some sticky comments lately about staff missing critical portions of classes (pool, ocean) to skiv off and do fun stuff.

Not much I can do at this point, but I haven’t told Amelia yet.

She’s currently got a lot on her plate with a sick friend and work and all, but we’ll get there eventually.


And finally…

Quite randomly, not connected to the above.

We’ve started our search for a house, as we were actually approved for a loan. The places within our budget, of course, are not great. They’re kind of dumpy or don’t have room for people who need lots of outside space for lots of scuba gear and bike gear and whatnot.

However, our realtor did show us a place that’s $150,000 over our budget (yeeaaahhh, no problem there) that she’d talked about to us prior to us getting the loan.

The place was last updated/decorated in my grandmother’s era, right down to the appliances, the paper lining the shelves, the linoleum patterns, and the (thankfully now replaced) blue carpet. Wow.

It would require probably $20-40,000 worth of work and new everything in the kitchen, and a significant portion of the bathrooms, and all the lights and doors and whatnot to modernize it so we could resell it for a reasonable amount, but it’s got a ton of potential.

There’s a huge yard, fenced in, so it’d be great for gear and bikes and everything, and the possibility of a dog in the future. The house size is perfect. There’s a two-car garage. The HOA dues aren’t bad. It’s close to John’s work. It would give John a project to redo it, since I know that’s something he knows how to do and likes to do and sounds like he wants to do.

It’s just way out of budget, and if we’re going to try something like that, there might be a lot more and better options.

But it’s a start.

This is going to be a very scary and trying process, but I figure if we (and our marriage) survive, we’ll be that much stronger.


So I think that’s about it. Now I’m wrapped up in learning two new procedures at work, doing a bunch of other first-time experiments, and having a meeting with Dr. M tomorrow where I’m planning on proposing to make a bunch of changes to our current plan for a manuscript. Hrm.

Wish me luck!

At the very least, I’m taking Rhiannon and Sam to the airport this afternoon, which lets me be home in time to go on a bike ride (for fun) with John, as he’s got the day off.

From today, because we all need a laugh sometimes:

1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.

2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything.”

3. Two peanuts walk into a bar and one was a salted.

4. A dyslexic man walks into a bra…

5. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: “A beer for me please, and one for the road.”

6. “Doc, I can’t stop singing ‘The Green, Green Grass of Home.’ “That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome.” “Is it common?” “Well, ‘It’s Not Unusual.'”

7. Two cows are standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, “I was artificially inseminated this morning.” “I don’t believe you,” says Dolly. “It’s true, no bull!” exclaims Daisy.

8. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.

9. Deja Moo: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.

10. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn’t find any.

11. A man woke up in a hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, “Doctor, doctor, I can’t feel my legs!” The doctor replied, “I know you can’t – I’ve cut off your arms!”

12. I went to a seafood disco last week . . . And pulled a mussel.

13. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

14. Two termites walk into a bar. One asks, “Is the bar tender here?”

15. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”

16. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, “Dam!”

17. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

18. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says, “Are you sure?” The first replies “Yes, I’m positive.”

19. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

20. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. “But why?” they asked, as they moved off. “Because,” he said, “I can’t stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

21. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named “Ahmal.” The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him “Juan.” Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, “They’re twins! If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Ahmal.”

22. A group of Friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the monastery to close down, but they would not. They were doing great business & tax free! He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest vicious thug in town. He trashed their store, saying he’d be back if they didn’t close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

23. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic vexed by halitosis.

24. There was the person who sent ten different puns to his friends, the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

25. Two cannibals are eating a clown.One says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?

It’s true. I have a gift. I can get anything I want.

I have perfected the sad puppy dog look.

John is not immune, no matter what he’d like to think, and neither is anyone else.

Common responses?

“Oh dear g**, you get everything you want, don’t you?” from a scuba instructor.

“Wow. Just…Wow.” from James F.

“Here, have some.” from just about anyone with garlic fries.


But I have sworn to use it only for (my own) good. 😉


August 2007
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