Thursday, August 30, 2007

Please feed Lolly

Call me crazy but Lolly, my Virtual Pet Llama, is becoming REAL to me. In the beginning, I thought she was cute and would play with her if I felt like it. She was on my blog for a few weeks before I learned to "feed" her. I began getting her "food" and "feeding" her a little more regularly. Then one day, I had the headphones on and while I was feeding Lolly I could hear her chewing the hay! And when I accidently clicked on her after feeding her, she Hummmmmmed! She will hum long and loud if I keep the mouse trained on her.

After experiencing her sound ability, I began feeding her often. As I move through my blog, I find her in all sorts of different poses and positions. Lately, I find her looking down at the "more" button as though she is just WAITING for me to feed her.

So, do I have a guilty conscience for neglecting her? or am I well and truly going nuts? or is she real in some sense and I'm developing a relationship with her. Whatever the reason, I find I'm getting quite affectionate about Lolly.

Go visit. Feed her. Pet her. Make her hummmmmm. Maybe you'll understand.

The Moon Rises

Getting off work last night, it was late, I was tired, hungry and a little ornery (combination of tired and hungry?). I'd just parked my work truck and was locking the door when something caught my eye. I could just see a glimmer of bright orange from the corner of my eye. Curious, I crossed the parking lot to get a better view. It was the moon rising! Such a bright, neon orange that I was struck dumb. (Awe struck sounds better, but it was late and I was hungry.)

Suddenly I was no longer tired or hungry. I was energized and elated.

From past experience I know that this color and size will only last a few minutes, until the moon travels a few degrees over the horizon. So I stayed to watch.

What is it that is so facinating about the moon? I can't put it into words just now, but whatever it is, I was in it's spell for 7 glorious minutes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One Extreme to the Other

For many years, I've not cared, especially, for Summer. It's too hot, too many people on vacation messing up the traffic flow and the line for ice cream. This may have started when summer quit being a carefree respite from school and became just another season to live through.

Then we moved to Wisconsin and suddenly Summer is a gift! I still dislike extreme heat, but prefer the heat to the cold that is coming now that we're nearing the end of August. Part of me is in the panic mode, but I remember surviving FIVE winters, and figure I'll endure another one.

Every year I get the same thought. Wouldn't it be nice to bottle the sunshine, intense heat and smell of summer. Then in January when it seems that the cold will NEVER go away, we could open a bottle and be struck in the face with the essence of Summer? Conversely, we could bottle that mind numbing cold of February to blast us in July. A/C and Central Heat are just not the same experience.

Now, if I could only figure out a way to achieve this, I think my fortune would be secured!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Deer in the Backyard!

Out on the deck, nearing sunset, I see a deer across the way and rush inside to get the camera. When I come back and get the camera focused and the telephoto lens going, I see that the deer is looking at something. I take several pictures before I figure out what the deer is looking at.

Joey the cat is outside saying hello to the deer! Joey belongs to Karen, the leasing agent at our building. He is a curious sort and is let outside to wander the perimeter under Karen's watchful eye. This evening, we all got an eyefull! We watched them "play" for several minutes before they wandered out of the camera's range. Lucky Joey, he got to see the deer up close and personal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Shift

Someone on The Daily Om put the link for a short film called "The Shift" in their post. I'm always interested in the things that are suggested by Om posters, so I clicked and watched.

What a breath of fresh air! Sometimes it's so easy to be swallowed up with the negativity and despair around us. That usually leads to a downward spiral of depression and hoplessness.

Then I'm reminded that what I focus on becomes my reality. So, why go for gloom when there is peace and hope and love out there too?

This six minute film changed my attitude. What had been an average day is suddenly seen in a new light. I'm going to bed with a smile on my face and a happy heart.

Try it. You might just like it. (see direct link on the sidebar)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bats in the Belfry

This morning as I was leaving the apartment I stepped onto the landing before starting down the stairs. I caught a "shadow" off to my left, and being in a hurry, didn't pay much attention. Pausing to get a better hold on the armful of gear I was about to transport down the stairs, the "shadow" came from behind me and flew in a circle around my head. As I watched it fly gracefully up the stairs to the next landing, my cluttered mind registered what it was. A Bat! It was small, about the size of a dessert plate. As it glided past I was reminded of watching the Manta Rays at Sea WorldJames made a comment which made me think. So I looked up BATS as a Spiritual Messenger...Bats navigate through the mysteries of the dark without fear. Since they hang upside down (like a fetus in the womb), they symbolize mastery and the birth of something new. Bats encourage us to welcome change by exiting our protective cave and flying into the unknown with confidence. Food for thought!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Still Complaining...

Guess I just love to complain, because it's all I seem to do about the weather. I really think Wisconsin has odd weather! That is NOT a value judgement. It's neither good or bad, just odd. Last weekend the temperature got up to 58 degrees! The week had been in the high 80's and low 90's. Then 58 degrees on Saturday? Sunday got up to 66 degrees. Oh my. It will warm up again on Monday, and I'm shocked to find I'm looking forward to it. I'm not ready for weather under 75 yet.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

12 foot sunflower

After several days of sporadic rain, then intense sunshine, I went to see how my sunflower was faring. It had grown! Last time I'd checked on it, the flower had barely bloomed. The face was about the size of a baseball and it was following the sun. It was tall then, but I think it has become even taller. The head is already so heavy that it can't hold itself up to follow the sun anymore..
I've been growing it as food for the birds next winter. I think this may last several days. Anyone know how I'll know when it's time to harvest?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Caitlin was going in for the Ultrasound that would possibly tell the sex of the new baby. It's never 100% sure, but it was accurate last time and made it so much easier to make plans for Ellie's arrival.

Shaun was sure it is a girl, but Caity feels so different this time that she wondered if it might be a boy. (They both want a girl.)

When Caitlin called her dad to report the results, he could tell that something was up. "What's wrong? You sound stressed," Loren says. "Is everything all right?" (Caity had a miscarriage with the second pregnancy, and has been a bit worried.) "Could they tell the sex of the baby?"

"Everything is fine," Caity says. "They could tell the sex of the baby. They're girls." Long pause.

"They?" Loren parrots.

"Twin girls. Fraternal twins. They each have their own placenta and sac. One is lying on top of the other one," Caity says in a shaky voice. "Last night I had a dream about a baby with two heads. But I didn't even think about it being twins!"

"Wow!" Now the stunned voice belongs to Loren.

They talk for a few more minutes and hang up, promising to talk again soon when the news has sunk in.

When I get home from running errands, Loren is lit up like a firecracker. He can hardly get the news out because he is literally grinning from ear to ear (try talking with a big smile on your face!). We talk for a long time about the wonder of it all and the changes it will bring. We go to bed with a head full of dreams and big smiles on our faces.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair....

Friday evening, someone mentioned that the State Fair had begun, and I started thinking maybe we should go. I consulted the Daily Schedule, the Weather, and all the omens were good for a Saturday visit to the Fair. We've been having weather in the high 90's. I don't like to be outdoors when it's this hot, but the prediction for Saturday was in the high 70's!!! It was the only day for a week that had a temperature like that, so it was a deciding factor. The people that told us about the Fair suggested several things to see, eat and drink. I had a list of things to accomplish! Sometimes I become a bit obsessed with my lists, so I made a vow to be flexible, to allow for spontaneous experiences, and to have Fun. Good thing I did, because the schedule went out the window the first 15 minutes!
While we were standing in line for something (food, I'm sure) I could hear the announcer for a bunch of children's events. I left my hubby in line and ran over to get a look at the Smile contest. These are the 6-8 year olds. It brought back so many memories of my own childhood and I smiled in response. I stayed to watch the 3-4 year old dance contest. That actually make me laugh, and sigh. It's wonderful to see children before they have learned to be inhibited. Wouldn't it be great to move and act the way we FEEL instead of the way we THINK we should look?

We couldn't leave without visiting the Cream Puff Parlor. The “Original Cream Puffs” are celebrating 83 years of Wisconsin State Fair tradition. This is a BIG deal here.We stood in a line for nearly 10 minutes to get our cream puffs. We paid $3 each, and watched people having them boxed up in dozens! During the fair, you can preorder cream puffs to pick up at a special drive up window to take to work. They sell 100's of Thousands of Cream Puffs!! We saw people eating cream puffs everywhere.

It is suggested that you pull them apart and eat it as two halfs with cream on them rather than trying to squash it together and eat it as a sandwich, in which case the cream would all squeeze out onto the ground! Can't be wasting that cream!!!

Eventually we made our way to the Exposition Hall where the vendors were selling things both expected and novel. Since this IS Wisconsin and these folk are know as Cheese Heads, why not buy a baseball cap or a top hat made to look like cheese? And don't forget all the Green Bay Packer memorabilia. Much of the stuff made me squirm, as I remembered being suckered into buying it in the past.

What impresses me is that it's still around!
There was the waterless cookware (two different versions) and the special knives that never need sharpening. VitaMix is still alive and well and had rather a large audience for the demo. Lots of gadgets to make cleaning easier, take impossible stains out (yeah, right) and shine everything from jewelery to tire rims.
I lost count of the number of hot tub and spa sites. We found some of our favorites, the suspended swing, the redwood gliders, the device that rubs your back while you sit in the chair. We ate more food and watched people. After a while, we looked at each other and said, "We're sure not in California!" Wisconsin has it's own variety of people and most of them were drinking beer!

It began to sprinkle, so we ducked into the Arts & Crafts building. I'm always awed by the handmade items, everything from furniture to quilts, from desserts to flower arrangements.
Someone had won a blue ribbon for a Sunflower head as big as a hubcap and full of seeds. I'm growing one in my garden (it's nearly 12 feet high!) but it has only just developed a small flower. I'm only hoping to get a flower that big by October.
The blue ribbon for Kohlrabi (a vegetable I was unaware of before moving to WI) went to a specimen that was bigger than my head! The kohlrabi in my garden is not quite the size of a tennis ball. I want to know where they are growing this stuff! The Bonsai competition was amazing. Some of the "miniature" trees are 80-100 years old! Unfortunately, the blue ribbon flowers were already in severe wilt. And this was only day 3 of the Fair.

Finally it was time to make our way to the Coliseum to get seats for the National Clydesdale Show. The Budweiser Clydesdales, the famous “gentle giants” that have been the ambassadors of Anheuser-Busch since 1933, were scheduled to start the show, but it was raining and they don't bring the horses out in the rain? (That is what was announced) Some fun loving souls decided we should entertain ourselves and began the process of developing the Wave. It took nearly two dozen false starts before the Wave made it all the way around the hall. We were laughing and cheering and making our own fun (remember that everyone had been drinking beer all day!). It was my first experience of participating in and watching the Wave happen. I loved it!

After what seemed like a long wait, the Show began. The first classification was single horse carts. It was thrilling to see those big horses trot around the ring. They are so graceful, yet have such strength, we could feel the breeze created as they passed by us. First the male horses and drivers competed, then the female horses, some with female drivers, some with male drivers. The male drivers all wore shirts, ties, hats and most wore jackets. There was not a standard "costume" for the women. Most of them had bare arms, and I could see the muscles working as they controlled the cart and horse. The carts were bright and colorful. It looked like fun.
There were a few more categories to watch while we were waiting for the GOOD stuff.
The competition for 6-horse hitch was so large they did it in three sections. Fourteen teams were finally judged and seven ribbons awarded. When all 14 teams were in the ring at the same time it was something to see. I could have watched this all day. However, my butt had other ideas. We had been sitting for nearly two hours on aluminum benches and it was beginning to be rather uncomfortable. But the 8-horse hitch competition was still to come. I wasn't going to leave because my fanny was sore. So we stood during every lull in the proceedings and I took a walk around the building. Eight teams were in the 8-horse hitch competition. It was like watching the Budweiser Clydesdales over and over. I finally realized that the digital camera can film short videos, so I filmed most of the rest of the program. (I'm trying to insert it patient!)
Before the evening was over, it was announced that this was the National Clydesdale Competition. In October the World Competition (500 horses!!!) is being held in Madison, WI. Guess where I'll be in October?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Thank God It's Friday!

Some weeks seem to gang up on me and put me through the wringer. This was one of those weeks. I'm exhausted, I ache in every major muscle group, I can't remember the last full nights sleep I got, and I'm sick of living on energy bars, jerky, and caffeine.

I want a real meal (roast beef, garlic mashed potatoes, tiny peas, a lovely green salad with lots of interesting veggies, with layered chocolate cake for dessert); a long soak in a tub of fragrant water while I sip wine by candlelight; a 2-hour massage complete with aroma therapy; and clean, crisp sheets to fall asleep in.

What I'll settle for is take out pizza that I cook at home while I swill beer in a tepid shower. Then I'm falling into bed, sans clean, crisp sheets, to sleep for 10 hours!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Looking for Work in all the Wrong Places

Maybe it's shallow of me, but I can't handle being at a job for more than three years. The first year I'm learning, checking out the parameters, enjoying the new and exciting. The second year I begin to put my mark on the situation. This is where I try tweaking things to see if I can make it better than it is. This involves figuring out ways to streamline production, cut waste, improve morale and keep things fun and interesting. The third year I find out if I've made an impact. If I have, I'm enjoying my work and making a difference. If I haven't made an impact, I'm alternately bored, disgruntled, discouraged, discontented. If nothing improves, I'm looking for a new job, an alternate way to make my living.

The job I have now is in its fourth year! I've been through the process and realize its time to move on or give up and accept that this is all it's ever going to be. It is tempting to just settle into a groove, but the work is physically strenuous and the early morning are getting harder and harder to deal with. So, it's time to look for greener pastures.

Starting with the Want Ads in the local paper is depressing! I read them from A to Z and realize I'm not qualified to do much of anything. Forget that I have a college education and 30 years of experience--in THIS job market, I'm unskilled. No computer skills and/or no experience in the specified field eliminate me from 80% of the ads. However, 90% of the ads make me glad that I'm unskilled and unqualified, as I realize I'd be bored stiff within six months.

On to bigger and better methods of finding a job. I start on the Internet with a general job search. The sheer number of jobs available is very nearly overwhelming. I randomly click on something that catches my eye and save them to look through at a later time. Soon I have a file of jobs that appear interesting. I find I have registered on multiple sites and need to download (upload?) a resume so that I can apply online. So far I haven't done this, as my resume is a living, changing organism!

I did e-mail a couple of the more interesting possibilities. One is to work in Antarctica for a season as part of the staff that provides food for the scientists doing research projects. Another was to the University of Madison, Appleton Campus to help with the selection process for the candidates to their Medical Residency program. The third possibility is to drive the school bus. I got a response from each of these e-mails, and I have to decide what to do next.

In many ways, it is a relief to finally get the process started. As I get older, I'm less inclined to do what is necessary to change jobs. I don't enjoy interviewing. It's difficult to learn and acclimate to the new job once it's offered and accepted. I've come to realize that I only have 15 more years to work, and need to find something I can stay with until retirement. It's time to build up a small portfolio, make my 401K viable, and qualify for a pension if possible.

Fifteen years in the same job? The mere though of this induces panic. Then I tell myself that I don't have to stay in the same "job"--but I DO have to stay with the same company. I need to find something that I can grow with, that allows me to progress, be promoted, and have a variety of experiences. It also limits the field. I can't just go with the next most interesting position. I've done that for 25 years (and enjoyed most of it). I need to find a career. HELP!

Tell Me Who/Where You Are!

My Personal Widget