Catered Lunch Confusion

Jan 30, 2009

The mayonnaise is in little yellow packets.

The mustard is in little white packets.

Mayhem ensues.


Ancient cultures looked to the stars for guidance. Many Americans look to the stars for guidance. In both instances, the stars in question were/are full of hot air and gas. In the latter, the stars share our atmosphere.

Vocabulary Lesson #12: Good News First

Jan 29, 2009



Moments Like These

I just want to tell myself, "chill the f#@& out, already! Seriously, woman, you're making me crazy."

Zombies Ahead

Jan 28, 2009

Dateline: Austin

Transportation officials in Texas are scrambling to prevent hackers from changing messages on digital road signs after one sign in Austin was altered to read, "Zombies Ahead."

Chris Lippincott, director of media relations for the Texas Department of Transportation, confirmed that a portable traffic sign at Lamar Boulevard and West 15th Street, near the University of Texas at Austin, was hacked into during the early hours of Jan. 19.

Wishing I had been that clever in college. Of course, I was in Brownwood.

When Dreams Attack

Jan 27, 2009

Woke this morning in full panic attack mode, inspired by one awful dream. A dream that combined the worst parts of lost friendship, bad work environments, financial mayhem, and showing up to the office with wet hair*. Good thing Handsome understands me enough to insist I sleep in a little and go to the office a couple hours late in order to restore my mental health.

* I know, I know. Most people dream of showing up in their underwear (or naked). Not me. I dream of showing up in less-than-full-combat-gear. And by "combat gear," I mean hair styled, make-up applied, heals and hosiery on . . . personal armor in place. Undone, I feel vulnerable. Which I hate.

Also, where were the dinosaurs and chewing gum? Maybe the wet hair intimidated them?

Blatant Bias

Jan 26, 2009

Begin Rant

"Creationism Defeated in Texas" would have been more appropriately titled, "Scientific Debate Defeated in Texas."

The article focuses on the supposed removal of creationism or intelligent design from Texas school curriculum. In actuality, the TSBE removed the "strengths and weaknesses" language from all scientific curriculum. In essence, Texas school teachers are not required to discuss the strengths and/or weaknesses of any scientific theories, including evolution.

While I'm not a strict creationist, and I find most evolution theory credible, I believe that eliminating the requirement to openly discuss strengths and weaknesses of opposing theories to be a great disservice to the children of our state. It's imperative in rigorous scientific studies to look at all available hypotheses, and test those theories extensively, before concluding that any theory* is actual fact.

The good news is that the curriculum retains language requiring analysis and evaluation. Although, I guess our students must not need to develop the critical thinking skills to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of any of the science they are studying. Our society has proven yet again that we don't need thinkers - we just need blind followers.

*Scientific Theory: a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained. ex: Darwin's theory of evolution, intelligent design, creationism

End Rant

Year of the Ox

Happy Chinese New Year, ya'll. *snicker*

According to the Chinese zodiac, I'm an ox. Specifically, a water ox. Which if you think about it, isn't flattering. At all.

Except for this:

The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. Like their animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in their work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint.

Ox people need peace and quiet to work through their ideas, and when they have set their mind on something it is hard for them to be convinced otherwise. An Ox person has a very logical mind and is extremely systematic in whatever they do, though they have a tremendous imagination and an unparalleled appreciation for beauty. These people speak little but are extremely intelligent. When necessary, they are articulate and eloquent.

People born under the influence of the Ox are kind, caring souls, logical, positive, filled with common sense and with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Security is their main preoccupation in life, and they are prepared to toil long and hard in order to provide a warm, comfortable and stable nest for themselves and their families. Strong-minded, stubborn, individualistic, the majority are highly intelligent individuals who don't take kindly to being told what to do.

So, what are you?

This Breath

Jan 23, 2009

36 years ago, a doctor took pity on a seventeen year old high school junior. He offered her a way out of her unfortunate situation.

"You don't have to go through with this. The laws have changed. You can have a normal life."

She walked out of his office, silent and determined. She already was living a normal life. And, now, she was going to have another.

Thanks, Mom.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us – sinners all.
. . .
Forgive us that we see unrighteousness everywhere but in our own mirrors.

Oh Lord, we are a country founded in rebellion, and we have fallen into grave sin. We have made greed a virtue. We have borrowed until there is no grain left in the storehouse, and now we throw the costs onto our children and grandchildren. We have cultivated a hyper-sexualized culture. We allow our children to reach their teens without knowing how to behave like men and women. We have sanctioned the murder of millions of unborn children.

Amidst all this, we have the gall to proclaim this God’s most favored nation. We boast, oh Lord, when we should tremble.

-Tony Woodlief, Sand in the Gears, A Confession for the Modern Conservative Christian


Jan 22, 2009

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.

-Tim Cook, COO, Apple Inc., The Cook Doctrine

Perpetual Availability

Several of my colleagues are going on a trip next week - it's a nice prize for top performers. Anyway, the current office discussion is the addition of data plans and international calling plans to their phones. Costs a bit more, but if you plan to use your phone out of the country, it'll save you a bundle on international fees. This I know is true.

And my past experience was relied upon to verify the total cost savings of enrolling in those plans for a month or so. Unfortunately, no one wanted my real advice. Which is this:

Turn off your phone. Leave it at home. Put it in airplane mode. Disconnect.

"But, then I wouldn't know what to do."

I wonder, what is this addiction to perpetual availability? Why do we need always to be reachable? Are we so bored with ourselves, the people around us, and our surroundings, that we'd rather be talking to or texting someone else? Have we lost the ability to simply be?

Is it just easier to use the electronics than to engage in real, honest conversations and experiences? What does it say about who we are as a society? As individuals?

Candle Burning

Jan 21, 2009

Feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, and most of it comes from a looming deadline (which I'll have to discuss at another time.) For all intents and purposes, I've added 3-4 hours of daily work to an already busy schedule. Which means dinner is at 10 or 11 or midnight because that's the only time available to squeeze in a meal with my husband. And which also results in less sleep than my body requires.

I'm tired. My mind is stretched to capacity. And then there's the cedar.

I'm melting! I'm melting!

Wedding Mass

Jan 20, 2009

After the giving of the bride, after the scripture readings, and before the exchanging of rings and vows, there was the homily. Complete with special chairs for the wedding party. Right up front. A few moments for the priest to give the lucky couple some advice.* Good advice for the entire congregation, actually.

He said, "the two most important behaviors in a marriage, beyond your commitment to God, are faithfulness and patience. For when the passion fades, as it sometimes will, patience will get you through. When the grass dries up and turns brown in the heat of a Texas summer, you don't dig up your yard to fix it. You wait, patiently, for the season to change. Because you know that it'll be green and lush in another month or so. Marriage is the same. So be faithful. And more importantly, be patient. Patience, gentleness, kindness, and just plain good manners will sustain you."

Reminds me how blessed I am to have married The Handsome One.

*There is something reassuring about the priest having a public "sit-down" with a young couple embarking on marriage.

Learn Something New Every Day

Jan 16, 2009

I'm a bit of a finicky eater. Always have been. Dad tells me that I survived several years of my childhood eating only chicken nuggets and macaroni & cheese. It wasn't until I met The Handsome One that I learned to enjoy a wider range of foods. Over the years he has introduced me to lots of tasty treats. Like sour cream. Seriously. I WAS that finicky.

The usual routine is that Handsome will offer yours truly some dish or food item for which I have sworn hatred. Offer. Taste. Ok, that's not bad. Almost every time, I enjoy these new and exciting flavors. Except avocado*.

Anyway, I've had a hankering for eggplant lately, so last night I made an eggplant casserole. (HEB grilled eggplant slices layered with meat sauce and mozzarella) Yum!

Well, "yum" for me, anyway. Turns out Handsome hates eggplant. HATES! IT!


Go figure.

*About that avocado. I really, really want to like avocado. Really, I do. I keep trying to enjoy it. In fact, I seem to love it on tacos, but only in Mexico. Back home, can't stand it. Weird, right?

Not Gonna Do It

Jan 15, 2009

I don't want to change this template. I like it a whole lot. So there.

I've made some changes to the comment structure. It's now a pop-up window instead of embedded, and the security word is turned off.

Do a favor and give it a try? For me? Please?


Jan 14, 2009

I think I'm going to have to change this lovely template because the few people who comment, can't. Bummer.

Bear with me while I work this out. In the meantime, if you want to comment, select the Name/URL option . . . which almost always works. Almost.

Science Proves the Obvious, Again

Jan 13, 2009

Open-plan offices are making workers sick

In 90 percent of the research, the outcome of working in an open-plan office was seen as negative, with open-plan offices causing high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure, and a high staff turnover.

The high level of noise causes employees to lose concentration, leading to low productivity, there are privacy issues because everyone can see what you are doing on the computer or hear what you are saying on the phone, and there is a feeling of insecurity.

Vocabulary Lesson #11: Mission

Jan 12, 2009



What He Said

Jan 9, 2009

From: Gut's Best and Worst of 2008

First the BEST of the BEST

I am not a big fan of his message, but as a messenger, I'm open to what he's doing - I think. As long as he realizes he's the leader of the free world - and ALREADY won the popularity contest -then he needs to be comfortable being a prick. If he can do that, he might do wonders. But if he becomes obsessed with his image, we're screwed. See Jimmy Carter.
. . .
I've never seen a group of people (i'll say it: Hispanics) who work harder in my life, and for what? To be told they don't deserve to be here? Christ, they came here to make a life, and they work 100 hours a week. The sooner we figure out how to reward those who contribute so much, the better it is for all of us. They aren't villains. The system is.

The Power of Bitterness

Jan 7, 2009

Over the holidays, I spent several days in the company of an elderly woman. A bitter elderly woman. For hours on end, she recounted the myriad disappointments, frustrations, failures, and mistakes visited upon her by her family. The ways they abused her kindness, how they ignored her advice, and her heartbreak at their folly. Each member of the family was publicly excoriated, in dramatic detail, for their actions. Even those of thirty years past.

Her mind worried these offenses as though they were the rosary. Over and over, a never-ending stream of grievances. Each bead examined again and again, until they shined for all to see. Her failure of a family, the ruin of her hopes.

And looking at her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, I had to wonder if her offenses were real or imagined. Sure, we all make mistakes and disappoint our families. But is that the test of life, of character? Is our purpose to fulfill the demands and expectation of our forefathers?

This woman's family is filled with hardworking, kind, generous individuals, with an exuberance for life that's contagious. They've had more than their fair share of disaster, pain, and failure. And here is their matriarch, furiously abusing them for getting on with their lives. Rather, for not following her exacting demands.

And there I was: listening, absorbing her ire. In instances, agreeing with her. Shaking my head with dismay, taking on her offense and judging her family, my family, cruelly.

And that is the power of bitterness - it's contagious and it infects every area of one's life.

This family that I love, that I adore, deserves better from me. They are, to a person, loving, generous, kind individuals. And they welcomed me with open arms, neuroses and all.

So, here is my resolution: To think, speak, and behave kindly to others, especially my families. To diffuse bitterness when possible, and to ignore it otherwise. God, help me.

Vocabulary Lesson #10: Digital Man

Jan 6, 2009



A Gentleman! In the Wild!

Jan 5, 2009

I saw one! No, really! Just this morning, I crossed his path in the hallway at my office. Instead of racing ahead to cut me off (as is the habit of most men these days), he paused and waved his hand in the universal "after you" motion. And he smiled as I passed.

This would have been even more surprising has he been a member of my generation, rather than my parents'. Which is a sad commentary on modern society.

Maybe you've noticed what I've noticed: somewhere along the way, mothers and fathers stopped demanding that their sons behave like gentlemen. I guess we could also say that they stopped expecting daughters to behave like ladies.

Now, I consider myself a feminist. Equal pay for equal work. Equal consideration under the law. Etcetera, etcetera. But, I have no idea what was wrong with women and men treating each other politely. It's a matter of respect, and the Feminist Movement sold ours to lowest bidder a generation ago.

Regularly Scheduled Programming

Jan 2, 2009

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas and New Year celebrations were joy-filled and relaxing, and wish you all a prosperous and peaceful 2009.

Apologies as well for being incommunicado during the past week. I was being held hostage by some crazy* Italians. Next week, I'll pick up the semi-regular posting schedule. Until then . . . party on!

* Any by crazy, I mean crazy. Food, drink, and fun - in abundance.