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Why I don't volunteer at the shelter
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 - 03:30 p.m.

Holy crap, our server is CRAWLING today. Usually I have problems of my own (I try to save something and, halfway through, the server eats it with some fava beans and a nice Chianti), but today everyone is equally pissed off. It's funny how waiting ten minutes for one's Word document to finish opening has a way of making one want to stab hapless coworkers in the face.

Yesterday I fell in love with yet another little cat I found wandering around my jobsite. She's tiny and starving, and she's already had at least one litter of kittens. Also, she's outside next to two busy roads, and will probably wind up under someone's tire if something isn't done soon. And then to top it all off, when I went back to the site yesterday afternoon, two kids with a BB gun had just run out of birds to shoot and were looking for the cat.

(It should be noted that I only suspect they had bad intentions where the cat was concerned. If I had actually seen them take a shot at her, I'd be writing this from jail because I'd have shoved little Timmy headfirst down a monitoring well.)

(You think I'm joking.)

In case you don't know my track record, I have a terrible weakness for abandoned cats. There's Lilo and Nala, and you can bet if Todd dies first, there will be at least twenty more. I'll be the crazy old cat lady. I just can't resist them, especially when they're sweet and cuddly and so sad looking.

The catch is, this cat was hanging out under someone's porch and one of the kids told me she was their grandmother's pet. Granted, if she is, then they're not feeding her enough and they're not taking care of her, but I couldn't just, you know, take their cat. Also, these folks are the epitome of redneck, and if I take their pet, they just might SHOOT ME (with something more than a BB gun). So, as much as it killed me to leave her, I did. I also had to ignore the poor little dog they have locked up in a 3 foot by 3 foot pen in the back yard.

But now I feel very very bad about it. On one hand, I need to be on good terms with these people so I can have continued access to their land. On the other, starving! Sad! In danger! Must. Rescue. Cat.

I know. I know. Damaged in the head.

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Friday, June 15, 2007 - 01:03 p.m.

Speaking of conserving water, what did I find yesterday when I got home? Why, a letter from the Harvest-Monrovia Water Authority asking all their customers to conserve water. They're asking that even numbered houses only water yards on Monday and Wednesday and odd numbered houses only on Tuesday and Thursday. It's not mandatory yet, but we're moving that way. Apparently the reason for the concern is that water levels in all their wells are at record lows and the storage tanks are a critical levels. So, good thing I'm okay with my yard being a nice, natural brown, eh?

Today Todd finally comes home. He's been gone for the last two weeks, first to New York, then to help a friend set a cycling record on the Blue Ridge Parkway, then to Camp Lejeune. My life when he's gone is spectacularly boring, marked by 9:00 bedtimes, long conversations with the cats, cleaning, and Law & Order SVU reruns, so I'm glad he's on his way back.

Today I had the physical therapy re-eval for my ankle, and the verdict is, "Meh." That's a direct quote. Basically, after five weeks of therapy, we're on the road to fixing one of the symptoms, but we haven't been able to do anything about the underlying problem (whatever that is, we don't actually know). I have a lot of work to do, but how successful I can be, well that depends on what the MRI shows. Now the ball is back in my regular doctor's court, so we'll see what happens. Bottom line: still no dance.

Also, office ass? Grudgingly invited to the beach.

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It ain't gonna rain no more no more
Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 02:58 p.m.

I really wanted a pretty yard this year. I wanted bright, colorful flower beds - something to make our house stand out, something I'd be proud of when I pulled into the driveway. I looked up what plants grow best where and what combinations look good together. I watched all those landscaping shows, hoping to get some tips. I asked my aunt and my dad (both plant people) and for advice. I consulted a coworker who used to work in landscaping. I had it all planned out. And then it kind of stopped raining.

Huntsville is in the middle of an “exceptional” drought (that’s the worst level of drought the NOAA has on its five-level scale). The lakes and rivers are all low and some wells are having trouble producing, although for now we’re doing okay with public supply. The fields have all dried up and the crops are dying. We’re under a burn ban, because all it will take is one spark and the whole valley will go up like a box of matches. And yet, Huntsville Utilities predicts that we’ll set a new high for water consumption today.

Being the tree-hugging sort of engineer I am, I never feel comfortable watering the yard. And this year, I really can’t justify the waste. So, to get around the guilt and to do my little part, we just haven't planted anything. I put all the projects off until it starts raining again. We’re not under usage restrictions (yet), but if everyone cut back on their own, we wouldn’t need the city to tell us to.

[This is the part where I start griping about being a good citizen and “turn off your damn sprinklers, you assholes,” and then slowly, I come to my senses and realize no one gives a shit. So! Moving on.]

Anyway, the end result is that our flowers beds are totally bare (and ugly) with the exception of the roses that came with the house. So instead of landscaping, I've made the roses my summer project. They're in terrible shape (because apparently the former homeowner had no more idea what to do with them than I), but they're slowly improving as I learn. This year we were rewarded with a beautiful show right around Memorial Day. Now they've slowed down, but they're still blooming and they're still pretty. Between those and the few potted plants we have around, it'll have to do, I guess. At least until I learn to love cacti.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 02:44 p.m.

Why anyone who has longed for a child and who has spent so much time and money and effort and emotion on getting pregnant would risk the lives and health of their children by trying to carry SIX babies is totally beyond my comprehension. But on top of that, the religious platitudes these crazy people throw out really bug me.

You know, they never say "it's God's will" when they can't reproduce normally. Instead they turn to science to help them. And that's fine. I totally understand the desire to have a child of your own and I'd do the same. But you don't get to invoke God's will after you've succeeded in thwarting it.

Besides, God helps those who help themselves, right? Well, they've already helped themselves plenty to get pregnant in the first place, so I don't understand why they don't just help themselves a little more to give their children a better chance at a healthy life. And to ensure that they can afford the children. I mean, they're begging for diapers online. That's just not good decision-making.

Hopefully both litters will be okay and will develop normally, but I just can't understand taking that kind of health and financial risk. And then throwing it all on God, well, that's just silly.

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Seen on the morning news
Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 09:29 a.m.

You know, it's bad enough that we can't count on our state legislature to resolve disputes through debate and discussion, as opposed to punching each other in the face.

What makes it infinitely worse, in my mind, is the governor being asked for a comment and basically saying, "Well, the guy had it coming."

"You know I think Sen. Bishop said it best. He said he's sorry that it happened, wish it hadn't happened there, but on the other hand, I doubt if the senator that called him that will ever do it again...I think everyone reaches a point to where you can just take so much and there's certain things most Alabamians don't want said to them or in front of them." - Governor Bob Riley

Okay, it's not that I ever seriously considered Bob Riley a thinking sort of creature, but really? Two grown men, state senators who are supposed to be professionals, scuffling like children in a school yard on the Senate floor, and Riley thinks it's okay? Justified, even? Never mind that as adults and professionals, they're expected to exercise some degree of restraint, no matter what kind of a name they're called. Nope, Bishop only did what any real man would do, and Barron had it coming.

Thank you, WAFF news, for finishing off what little remnant of faith I might have had in the asshats running our state.

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Random Acts of Ballet
Saturday, June 9, 2007 - 04:57 p.m.

Check out the rest of the videos from the Anaheim Ballet.

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Good thing it's Friday
Friday, June 1, 2007 - 01:06 p.m.

If this was Monday, I totally would not have noticed that the yogurt I grabbed out of the back of the fridge this morning expired in January. Or at least not until I was finishing the last spoonful.

On a side note, apparently we need to be more vigilant when cleaning out our fridge.

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