Yay!
Friday, March 31, 2006 ~ 11:00 a.m.
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I just got a call from the ASCE club secretary, Emily. She's one of the girls I've been coaching this year, the stern paddler. Today is race day in Gainesville and she was calling to update me on their times.

THE GIRLS TOOK FIRST PLACE IN THE DISTANCE!

They ran a 600-m endurance race in 4:59. Florida came in second at 5:25 and FIT took third at 5:46. 25-seconds! They kicked ass and they made it look easy. I cannot even begin to describe just how proud I am of them. That was my main goal in helping out this year. I decided to coach because I wanted to help UAH field a women's team that could actually win. And I did, with Todd's help. Man, that just kicks so much ass.

The guys placed third in the distance (as predicted). They finished in 4:37, with Florida finishing in 4:31 and FIT in 4:17. This makes me laugh because the target time for our men's team that I set at the beginning of the year was 4:17. And hoo boy, did they whine. I believe at one point I was told that no one could finish that fast. Imagine that.

Also, Emily told me that everything seeems to be lining up for them. They haven't had any deductions on the academic side, Florida's boat has had trouble, and so on. I have to admit that their boat turned out looking better than I ever thought it would, so I should revamp my prediction to 1st or 2nd place for final product.

I really wish I could have been there to see them win that race, but getting that phone call was the next best thing. If they can do as well in the sprints, and if they've been practicing the presentation...well, I'm afraid to say it out loud, like it might jinx them, so I'll whisper...they just might win this thing. Sssshh!

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Happy Birthday, Jen!

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Our office has character. Maybe not class, but character.
Thursday, March 30, 2006 ~ 01:39 p.m.
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Boss Man: "All right, everyone, listen up. We've got a prospective hire coming to the office tomorrow for a visit. We really want to get this guy on board, so we need to make a good impression. That means act professionally. No shouting, burping, cursing, farting....the usual. And if you can't handle that, then please...just stay home."

Employee #1: "You've pretty much eliminated everybody. He'll be visiting an empty office."

Boss Man: *sigh* "Fine. No cursing. You curse, you go home."

Employee #2: "Man, I'm just gonna walk in tomorrow morning, 'Hi, Boss, how the hell are ya? Eh, goodbye now.'"

Boss Man: *sigh* "Never mind. Just....be yourselves."

*slow grins start to spread across every face in the room*

Boss Man: "For the love of god, people, WITHIN REASON."

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In other news:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!

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Oh, what comments will come from this?
Tuesday, March 28, 2006 ~ 03:34 p.m.
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As usual, I was bored and looking online for stuff to entertain me until I can legitimately sneak out of the office. And so I stumbled across this article regarding the increased use of profanity.

It's pretty standard "blar blar people cuss more these days blar blar no shit Sherlock blar blar" and I wouldn't have given it a second thought, but for the following quote, which tickled me a bit:

"Everybody is pretending they aren't shocked...and gradually people WON'T be shocked. And then those who want to be offensive will find another way."

Now, I freely admit that I cuss too damn much. But I have to say that I don't do it just to piss people off. Occasional profanity is just a part of my job environment. I'll let fly when I'm really hacked off at someone. I find a strategically placed "motherf***er" to be extremely funny in some situations. But specifically to irritate people? Not really, although Todd ought to be able to think of at least one exception.

You know what does offend me? People who aren't creative in their usage. I mean, if 95% of your sentence is going to be banned by the FCC, you might as well take the time to include VARIETY, you know? Oh, and cursing in front of children offends me, because that's just not cool.

ANYWAY, the use of profanity is just a part of my environment. I don't notice it, I participate in it more often than my mother would like to think, and it's not really an issue. But there are those out there who seem to think that people curse with the sole intent of being offensive.

Seriously, how many people swear JUST to be offensive on a regular basis?

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Magic 8 Ball Says...
Tuesday, March 28, 2006 ~ 10:34 a.m.
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I'm not sure what kind of predictions to make about the Regional Competition. Based on the standards from when Todd and I were involved, they're not going to do so well. Based on what they say from last year, they might do just fine.

I saw last year's boat for the first time on Sunday and, egads, it's one of the worst I've ever seen from a contender. The bow is crooked, the gunwales are higher on one side so the boat lists in the water, and where they dyed the concrete, they patched with concrete several shades lighter or darker. And you could see where they'd drawn on it with a marker, forgot to sand it out, and just clear-coated over it. So, crooked, leaning, and pockmarked. Hideous. But they say they were one of the best ones there. If that's true, then I guess they could win because this year's boat is much, much better.

But anyway, my predictions are thus:

Final Product: 3rd
Design Report: 1st
Presentation: 5th
Women's Distance: 2nd
Men's Distance: 3rd
Women's Sprint: 2nd
Men's Sprint: 3rd
Co-ed Sprint: 3rd

I'm really hoping the girls can crank out a first place finish, but Florida's always fast. I guess we'll see what happens.

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Weekends
Monday, March 27, 2006 ~ 10:08 a.m.
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The surprise birthday party for my granddad was a definite success. It's been 30 years since his last surprise party, so he literally didn't suspect a thing. Congrats to my mom and dad for the uber-sneaky planning!

In other news, the concrete canoe competition is this week, so Todd and I are just about free from our advisory roles. It's been an interesting experience and one that reaffirmed my decision to avoid a career in the field of education. This might come a surprise (ha ha ha), but I just don't have the patience to deal with students.

I confess, I actually want to go see the competition. If it was in Alabama, I'd definitely be there. I don't care much for the club or most of the people in it, but I really want to see the girls I've been coaching race. They actually have the potential to win a race or two (assuming they still have a boat come race time), and I was hoping to be there to cheer them on. On the other hand, Todd and I both decided that watching the races wouldn't make up for being pissed off the entire weekend. Again with the patience thing.

In other news, next Monday Todd is heading to North Carolina for two weeks. I am thrilled beyond words. Not.

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Boogity boo!
Friday, March 24, 2006 ~ 09:16 a.m.
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It seems that a lot of you just don't get what monitoring wells are for or what it is that I do. So, here's an interesting article that ran on the front page of The Deactur Daily back in August. While it was definitely sensationalized for maximum scare, it got most of the technical information pretty much correct.

Danger beneath our feet
Cancer-causing agent lurks in groundwater; are you at risk?

Maybe that will help you understand why I'm so pissed off at the informed residents of Neighborhood B. They won't allow any wells, knowing that the plume likely extends under their house, but if little Johnny starts looking peaky, they'll sue in a heartbeat. Oh yeah, they'll try to get every last dime from the station that's been supplying their SUV juice for the last ten years. And then they'll go to the press and say "Why didn't we KNOW?"

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We haven't had a rant in a while...
Monday, March 20, 2006 ~ 03:29 p.m.
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Sometimes the stupidity and/or apathy of the common citizen astounds me.

Here's the story: Gas Station A has leaked, and there is a huge plume of contamination flowing under Neighborhood B. My company has been putting in monitoring wells in Neighborhood B to figure out how far this crap has gone. This helps the state plan what actions they'll take to clean up the site.

Now, your average Type II monitoring wells don't interfere in any way with landscaping, mowing, or daily activities. They are barely visible. They are harmless, helpful, and paid for by the state's trust fund. But when you ask a homeowner for permission to install one, my god, you're met with the same level of outrage as if you'd just clubbed a moist-eyed harbor seal pup to death on their welcome mat.

And no amount of explanation seems to help. They tune you out right after you say the words "on your property." It's like people have this insane attack dog mentality where their land is concerned. They feel deeply violated at the mere suggestion that they should sacrifice one square foot of their property for a good cause.

The most common answer is "It's not MY problem." It's all I can do to not snatch them up and scream in their faces that it IS their goddamn problem, and it's their children's problem, and it's everyone who lives in this city in this country on this planet's problem, so why don't they get the f**k out of our way and let us do our job to help protect their worthless asses from humanity's general screwups.

"It's not my problem." Jesus, I really hate that answer. I'd like nothing more than to MAKE it their problem. You know, with a bat.

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You know, just in case.
Thursday, March 16, 2006 ~ 01:02 p.m.
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From the USPS Inspection Service:

"Mail bombs may have protruding wires, aluminum foil, or oil stains, and may emit a peculiar odor."

I just thought you ought to know.

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The Engineer's Solution
Wednesday, March 15, 2006 ~ 09:30 a.m.
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Every now and again, in the dead of night, Todd and I will be awakened by a blood-curdling shrieking yowl and the crash of a small, insane animal throwing herself against the glass of our guest bedroom window. I'll stagger into the room to see the neighbor's large black cat sitting smugly on the windowsill outside, while Lilo goes absolutely batshit loco. There ensues a battle where I have to drag our hissing, spitting, and POINTY cat out of the bedroom and shut the door, just so we can get some damn sleep.

Last night at the grocery store I bought some cat treats. When I got them home, I opened them to find that the seal was broken. Being paranoid I asked Todd if he thought they might be safe to feed to the cats.

Me: You never know. There are mean people out there. Someone could be poisoning pet treats just for kicks, you know.

Todd: They're probably all right.

Me: Maybe...we should feed one to the cat we like the least?

(We're responsible pet owners. Really. But Stitch is fat. And stinky.)

Todd: Here's an idea. Put some outside on the windowsill. If that cat eats them and comes back, then the treats are fine. If not...well, problem solved.

Todd is nothing if not practical.

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Because she's insane
Monday, March 13, 2006 ~ 04:40 p.m.
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For a while there, due to stress, I was obsessed with making marble magnents. I made my first batch and was entranced with them.


See? Pretty!

So I dug through some more magazines, found a ton of perfect pictures and glued up a whole new batch of magnets. I left them on the kitchen table to dry overnight and forgot about them. By the time I remembered, it was too late. They were GONE.

When I yelled at Nala for eating/destroying/hiding my marble magnents, she threatened to burn me with her laser eyes. And maybe crap in my shoe.


Fear me and or be destroyed!

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Just Say No
Monday, March 13, 2006 ~ 03:22 p.m.
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Pain. Oh the pain. After watching my fellow employees try the new guy's homemade beef jerky, you'd think I'd have had the sense to stay away. But no, I, like everyone else before me, succumbed to peer pressure and tried it. I got only the tiniest piece, and it didn't hurt at first. But then I swallowed, and fire shot down my throat, my tongue burst into flame, smoke shot out my ears, and there I was, gulping water from the lab sink faucet, just like everyone else. Gah. I'm pretty sure that tiny, dime-sized piece of HELL is currently burning a hole through my stomach lining.

Todd left yesterday morning for Pasadena and I already miss him. In his absence, I'm looking forward to a fascinating regimen of house cleaning, thank-you note writing, and cat/dog-watching. I might even go a little wild and organize my side of the office. Wacky fun.

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Product Review: Day 3
Thursday, March 9, 2006 ~ 01:55 p.m.
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PRODUCT: Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

STATUS: Still white, but no longer translucent blue. The product has not dissolved my skin or turned me into a carrot. I am pleased thus far. Still no glow.

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Thar be storms a'comin'. Arrr.

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Product Testing: Day 1
Tuesday, March 7, 2006 ~ 01:21 p.m.
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PRODUCT: Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

CLAIM: "...to both hydrate and gradually enhance the natural color of your skin with a healthy summer glow."

STATUS: My skin is currently a blinding white with a bluish undertone. I look not unlike a corpse. The only noticable "glow" is the reflection of the sun off my pasty-white legs. Also, this stuff smells a little funny.

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And will someone please get the damn door!
Monday, March 6, 2006 ~ 04:05 p.m.
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The trip to Oak Ridge was a success. Family was visited, babies were cuddled, and good times were had. Upon returning home, we discovered NO cat vomit, and there was much rejoicing. Even better, we had plenty of time left in the day to go to the grocery store, rake the yard, and cook a real meal things we haven't been doing as of late.

Of course, just as we were filling our plates with delicious, home-cooked food, Stitch loudly deposited a truly unbelievable amount of barf on the dining room carpet. Because nothing says "welcome home, guys" like the partially digested contents of a cat's stomach.

Later, in violation of my previously stated plan, I proceeded to create my very first batch of Marble Magnets (Im such a bad person). Because Nala has a disturbing obsession with glass stones, I left my creations to dry overnight under the watchful disinterested eyes of the dogs. This morning, I awoke to find the glue cured and was completely entranced by how well they all turned out. This being me, you know there will be pictures.

For the last several weeks, I have been enduring a godawful backache of epic proportions. I've never had "back pain" in my life, so when I twisted wrong and felt something in my back go SPROING CRACK, I didn't really pay it much mind. I figured two days, three tops, and I'd be back to normal. Oh ho ho, NOT. Instead, while I feel fine during the day, nights have become pure torture. Usually about 5 AM, but sometimes as early at 1 AM, I'm woken by a screaming pain in my lower back, which is only alleviated by rolling onto my side and bashing my head repeatedly into the wall. I'm pretty sure I'm not dying, but really, what the hell is up with my back?

So seeing as Im a huge fan of SLEEP, I'm about resigned to visiting the doctor, for all the good a blurry photocopy of back exercises and a pat on the head will do me. Really, I think I just want someone official to tell me I'm going to be okay. You know, as opposed to my husband who keeps telling me that my spine is protruding from my body, implying that one day it will detach completely and set out on its own, leaving me in a state resembling that of a paralyzed jellyfish. That and Im kind of hoping for a muscle-relaxer or something.

In other news, weve had to start locking the doors here at work, because weve had a bit of a bum problem. The people who work here all have a code to get in, but for anyone else wishing entry, we have now installed a doorbell. It's not a particularly annoying doorbell (as doorbells go), but I dislike the way it resonates throughout the entire building. And can honestly say that I never before realized just how many people visit this office in a day. I think we need to hire a doorman. One with a funny hat and white gloves.

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Fridays never go fast enough
Friday, March 3, 2006 ~ 12:29 p.m.
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Nothing like a two-hour round trip to do five minutes worth of work. Cullman. It's always Cullman.

This weekend, the majority of the Nestor clan is assembling in Oak Ridge to celebrate my grandfather's birthday. To split up the drive, Todd and I are heading to Hendersonville tonight. I fully anticipate coming home Sunday to a house artfully decorated in piles of cat vomit.

The marble magnents project proceeds. Thus far, I have restricted myself to clipping interesting images from magazines. I have not yet purchased supplies, nor do I intend to until the Christmas thank you notes are complete. I've started the notes - now I'm just waiting on my stamps to come in. Yes, I order stamps online because I hate the post office that damn much. DO NOT JUDGE ME.

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This is me being nice
Thursday, March 2, 2006 ~ 04:35 p.m.
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The whole abortion ban thing kicking up in South Dakota? Oh, it's rant-worthy. But there's no rant in the world that won't be shrill and merely repeat what other people have said better elsewhere. So I'll just settle in, try to be a good person, and NOT hope that one day it's Julie Bartling's daughter who's knocked up with a rapist's child. Because no one deserves that.

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Time's been flyin'
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 ~ 06:46 p.m.
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As Pat has noticed, I really haven't had much to rant about lately. I haven't had much to talk about at all, really. Things have caught my interest, certainly, but once the insane whirlwind that my days have become dies down, I just can't remember what I was supposed to post.

Work has been extraordinarily busy. Contradictorily, I have been extraordinarily unproductive. That's frustrating, to say the least. Also, Todd and I got roped into advising the canoe team, and that, as they say, is a cluster in and of itself.

Okay, they don't say that. But I do. And it is. Oh, it is.

Anyway, this is me posting to say that I have nothing to post. I throw myself on your mercy, or at least your indifference, and will offer no more excuses.

So, I've been stressed. And whenever I get stressed I have an inexplicable urge to be crafty. Last week, I decided I was going to start making homemade cards. Have you seen those books on card craft? They're insane! But they convince you that card making is the best thing since crack, and I confess I got sucked into the myth. I even went so far as to buy some supplies before reality caught up with me. "You idiot! You haven't even finished your Christmas thank you notes! Just when the hell are you going to MAKE cards? Never, sweetheart, so just put the gel pens down and back away slowly." This week, it's a similar story, if a different medium. Now the craft I absolutely must do (or I'll die) is MARBLE MAGNENTS. Oh, I'm determined to make some, yes I am. You just wait and see. Right after I finish those thank you notes, ha ha ha.

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Past Tense:
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2006