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I'll think of a title later...
Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 09:37 a.m.

The stress from having two major reports due this week is making me flash back to that college end-of-semester crunch. The projects, the papers, the tests, the crushing, overwhelming sense of despair, and the frenzied coffee-driven late-night typing. Back then, I prided myself (in a sick, twisted, masochistic sort of way) on being the type of student who worked best under pressure. I was an A student, but a horrific procrastinator. It's not that I liked the stress (or the panic, or the nervous breakdowns, or the sleep deprivation), it's just that I couldn't really be motivated until crunch time. I knew I should be working, but I just couldn't bring myself to get started. Until, that is, I suddenly realized the deadline was a week away, and HOLY CRAP EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON THIS. Then I was off and running. You know the feeling. It's that moment when your brain kicks into high gear, and suddenly, you know exactly where to start, what to do, and how to do it. Man, could I get some work done.

(Of course, the physical and social side effects of that much stress aren't exactly good. In fact, they're downright bad. But that's not the point.)

Anyway, now I'm out of college and employed and all that, but you know what? I'm still a procrastinator. See? Right now, I'm typing this when I have two major reports due. Why? Because I'm not quite stressed enough to hit that manic work mode. There is nothing to be gained from waiting, but I just can't help myself.

And Christmas shopping? I haven't even started yet. The girl who hates malls and shopping of all types, has procrastinated herself into Christmas shopping AT CHRISTMAS. Why, oh why, did I wait so long? I wanted to get started earlier. Last year, I vowed that I would be done by October. But I just didn't do it. Now I have to suffer and it's all my own fault.

(Thank God for online shopping is all I can say., you are so beautiful. So beautiful.)

Oh yeah, and this morning I woke up consumed with the thought of Christmas cards. See, I haven't even bought them yet. All you people with your cards all done and stacked neatly in a spare bedroom, stamped and ready to go? You are the bane of my (procrastinating) existence.

I'm pretty sure all this self-inflicted pain is indicative of some kind of neurosis. After doing some research, I'm tentatively leaning towards a diagnosis of "chronic stupidity." But I'm no doctor.

I'll go back to working now.

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Get on the horn to British Intelligence
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:54 a.m.

Stolen from Sundry and Jeff. Reposted because Todd didn't believe me when I described it to him and, well, it makes me laugh.

The Dora the Explorer Aquapet from Wild Planet:

Believe it or not, there's a whole line of these things.

(Surely I'm not the only one who has the whole Austin Powers skit stuck in their head right about now.)

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I wish this wasn't true
Monday, November 13, 2006 - 04:18 p.m.

Last Thursday at 5:00 AM, Tiki passed away.

She'd been sick with a mild respiratory infection, but she was getting better. In fact, on Wednesday she was back to her old self, racing through the house to come careening onto the bathroom counter if I even so much as thought about turning on the water. Thursday morning she rattled the window shades to wake us up, as usual, and when Todd got up, she followed him (trilling her little "mrrrrrt" kind of trill) into the bathroom so she could drink out of the sink. She drank her water, hopped down from the counter, and hopped up onto the bed to cuddle up next to me like she does every single morning. Then we heard a thud and a pitiful meow, and when we turned on the lights, she was stretched out on her side on the floor at the foot of our bed. We tried to help her, we did, but I think she was gone even before we made it to her side.

The vet believes it was a heart attack, likely caused by an undetectable genetic defect such as feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Tiki was two and a half years old.

Animals aren't people, and I know that, but they’re as irreplaceably unique as a person. They each have their own distinct personality. They feel happiness and sorrow and pain and pleasure. They feel love. They have their own little quirks and habits and ways of communicating. And I can't help but love them and value them for it.

A lot of people don't understand why it hurts me so much to come home and not see that little white cat running down the hallway towards me. I can't say that I understand it either. A small, cold part of me even feels angry that I'm tearing up writing this. But suffice it to say that while it's not as bad as losing a husband or a child or a parent or a friend, it's still bad. It may not make sense, but there's still a hole in my heart.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006 - 10:18 a.m.

Yesterday was kind of a nightmare day at work. Two major projects blew up in my face (not literally, although that's entirely possible on at least one job) and I had to drop everything I'd had scheduled in order to handle them. I'd planned on voting around 1:00 to try to avoid the crowds, but 1:00 came and went while I was still working furiously. Finally, around 5:15, I was able to extract myself and head home to meet Todd, who had just arrived back in town. Given the late time and my last (terrible) experience at my previous polling location, I fully expected to wait at least two hours to vote, but we waltzed right on through. It was painless. I had no idea voting could be EASY.

We're currently renovating our building with new paint and carpet for every office. (Here is where I should carefully avoid mentioning that the new carpet is a fecal brown and the walls are now a corpse-like grayish-white. With black baseboards.) My office is one of the last to receive treatment, mostly because I work on the red-headed stepchild side of the building, but today is the day. I'm stuck back in the CAD room until they finish, which could be as soon as tomorrow or as late as next week, and I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that it's impossible to get anything done on someone else’s computer. All those pictures taken at the last couple of inspections that I downloaded to my computer to sort and put on the server? Yeah, they're still on my computer. The program I use to calculate concentration lines of underground plumes? Nope, don't have that. PowerPoint for my topo maps? Nope. A mouse that works consistently? HA. Coworkers coming in and looking over my shoulder? All. The. Time. Also, this desk is set up on top of the air vent which is currently blowing cold air. Oh tiny office, how I miss you.

So it turns out that the cats require not one but TWO pills a day. For two weeks. Nala, the orange one, is easy. Cover the pill in wet cat food and step back before you lose a limb. Three gulps and it's gone - simple, quick, and efficient. The other two cats, however, require the full-fledged Croc Hunter technique, where you sit on top of the cat, pry its jaws open from above, stuff the pill as far back in its incredibly toothy mouth as possible, then clamp its jaws shut to forestall the forcible ejection of said pill - all while the cat attempts to execute a death roll. It's not been a fun few days, but the antibiotics appear to be helping. It sucks that they'll miss five doses while we're out of town, but I think we all need the break.

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I'll need a transfusion by Thursday
Monday, November 6, 2006 - 10:27 a.m.

This weekend it became apparent that three out of our four cats are sick. This morning Todd dragged two of them to the vet to find out that they have conjunctivitis. In cats, conjunctivitis manifests more as sneezing and sniffling and fevers than red eyes, and they are all miserable. Since they all have FIV, the vet prescribed a couple of antibiotics shots followed by two weeks of daily antibiotics. IN PILLS.

Dear god above, what did I do to be sentenced to give three cats PILLS every day for two whole weeks? WHAT DID I DO?

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Mini Rant
Thursday, November 2, 2006 - 02:58 p.m.

Which is more disrespectful to the troops?

a) Thoughtlessly spending their lives in an unjustified war that has continued to spiral out of control due to repeated mishandling by the current administration.


b) Accidentally implying that soldiers are dumb.

Well, let's see. How about the one that, oh, GETS THEM KILLED?

How else can I put it? "Bullets, IEDs, and a lack of equipment and armor can kill my American ass dead, but words can never hurt me."

The people who are criticizing Kerry are the same people who refused to plan for the consequences of their war, then refused to adapt when things didn't go as they expected. Instead of saving soldiers' lives, they were saving their political careers. Compared to what the administration has wrought, a few words can't even begin to compare.

If you want to "support the troops" then make goddamned sure that the administration acts responsibly. Bumperstickers and flags mean less than nothing* might make the soldiers feel good, but don't do much to protect them.

*Edited because Amy called me out, and damn it, she was right.

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Sugar Shortage
Wednesday, November 1, 2006 - 02:08 p.m.

Last year we had hardly any Trick-or-Treaters so this year I only bought four bags of candy. Ha. It was all gone by 7:30, and it only lasted that long because I began rationing it out to one candy bar apiece. Let's just say that went over like a pregnant pole-vaulter. There was one little two-year-old girl who watched me drop her ONE candy bar into her bag, then raised her eyes to look at me with such a mournful expression that I felt like a total asshole. Then she stood there for at least 30 more awkward seconds, waiting, her gaze never wavering, until her mom finally dragged her away. I felt like I'd taken candy from her. Shortly after, I dispensed our last Snickers and had to lock the door and turn off the lights. At 7:30. Why, oh why, didn't I buy more candy? As it was, I only got to eat one candy bar and two Hershey's Kisses. On Halloween! That is just not right.

But it was fun while the candy lasted. I even made it home in time to speed-carve one of the pumpkins I bought this past weekend. Behold, the fifteen-minute pumpkin:

Maybe next year we'll be more prepared.

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