Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Temporarily Giving Up......

I talked to the Union Rep. at work and she suggested a course of action, if I felt like putting in the work & effort.

She said that what I need to do first is write up a request for a written explination of the reasons I was turned down for an interview on this position. HR would have 2 days to get me that written explination, at which point I'd have 2 days to write up an appeal to the HR Director to reconsider me for an interview, and "this is why" sort of thing.

J. then suggested that I appeal on the grounds of being the only in-house applicant, and give them my reasons why I would greatly benefit the borough to be granted a 1 year trial shot at the position, including: I live very close to the library, so I would be very reliable, even in the coldest weather; this is my home town, meaning I have had the chance to develop a good relationship with my fellow citizens, and that I value that relationship; that I am passionate about this position and I would pour my heart & soul into working with these people that also live & work in my small town, and I'd work my tail off to be sure that I am doing the job in such a manner as to benefit the borough. Also, that I'd be willing to do the position for a year's trial basis at a Library Assistant 1 pay-scale, instead of the Library Assistant 3 pay-scale that it's available at currently. They could pay me less, for 1 year, to give this job my all. If in 1 year I've learnt everything necessary to perform the job completely satisfactorily, then I would be bumped up to that Library Assistant 3 pay-scale, and still keep the job. If I haven't performed the job to their satisfaction, I would maintain my Library Assistant 1 status, but I would be placed elsewhere in the system and they'd hire somebody else to fill the Library Assistant 3 position.

Unfortunately, considering the loss of hours I'd be taking, I can't also afford to take less than $15/hour. And Library Assistant 1's only get $14.60/hour. I would wind up taking home considerably LESS money from each pay-check than I am taking home now. And even the lessened driving time wouldn't compensate. And at this point in our lives, we're not so financially stable that I can work ENTIRELY for the love of the job, there's got to be sufficient monetary compensation as well, for it to be feasible. This job, out here, would almost put us in the red.

So, if I were to appeal and finally be granted an interview, possibly leading to getting the position as a Library Assistant 1 here is the breakdown.

* I would be a Library Assistant 1. That rank could NOT be taken away from me.
* I might eventually qualify for Library Assistant 3, with the requisite pay-scale jump.
* I would be working here at home.
* I wouldn't be driving almost 30 minutes each way, to work 5 days a week.
* I would have an extra 10 hours a week to do other things I want to do (get back into Tae Kwon Do).

* I would be making less per pay-check than I am now, by enough that even considerably reduced fuel usage wouldn't compensate.
* I wouldn't be making enough $$ to actually get to get back into TaeKwonDo, even though I'd have the time.
* I would not have much job security, seeing as I'd be on probation for a year.
* Tay would STILL be in day-care, and we'd STILL be shelling out a good portion of my (now-reduced) paychecks to day-care. More than would make it feasible for me to actually work.

J. DID suggest that I hopefully find the time to volunteer at the school in a children's programming capacity. And she suggested I look further into any on-the-job training that I may be able to talk my bosses into.

And, it goes without saying that I really need to find the time to get a college degree in Library Sciences (which means I've first got to get my basics out of the way).

I don't think I'll be appealing this. There is too much work required to appeal, with very uncertain results. The effort expended would be considerably greater than the returns I'd recieve. *sigh* I hate to say it, but I'm going to give up on this. FOR NOW.

As soon as I get back to work next Monday, I'm going to ask to speak to P & B again (my two bosses) about any on the job training.

When school starts up again on August 20th, I'm going to get my hind end in there & talk to the school's librarian about volunteering to work in any capacity that will give me Library Assistant experience & training.

And I'm going to keep hoping & praying that the Blessed Mother has something even better up her sleeve for me than I thought this position would be. I really thought this was the ideal. But, maybe it's not.

Have a Blessed Day!

Summertime in Alaska.....

This is what I LOVE: Those are my sugar-snaps, all of them, from my plants. I told ya I didn't have a very big plot. BUT, I DO have enough room for a couple of meal's worth. And oooooh, they're best fresh & uncooked.

This is what I HATE: This was taken from right inside my front door, at 7:50 am. Yes, THIS MORNING. This is why I wake up on a summer morning groaning for winter. Pathetic, isn't it????? So much for that front yard, that's just finally starting to look nice again. That corner down there below the willow, just at the edge of the street..... I was going to plant some wild irises there this fall, for next spring. *sigh* They sure as hell better fix the yard, when they leave!!!!! I'm not going to put up with them tearing up my yard & leaving it in shambles, or filled back in with gravel.

Oh, and my next-door neighbour came through Sunday evening with his riding lawn-mower. He wasn't nearly as careful with our lawn & flower-beds as he is at his house. Occasionally he gets a bee in his bonnet to do something about what he sees as our overly-long lawn. And this time, we didn't have the edging fence across the largest section of our flower beds. So, he came through & plowed down half of my flowers. Crushed another 1/4 of them. Chopped up my the pot containing my ivy plant (which was sitting alongside my flower bed for the summer), and left a nasty mess to be cleaned up.

*sigh* Why do I even bother???

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Crimeny sakes.... Will they NEVER learn???

So I saw this article on yahoo just now: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070730/pl.nm/mideast.us.dc

And again I'm struck by the irony of the situation it appears we're getting ourselves into. Historically it appears that we've repeatedly given arms & military support & know-how to "friends" only to have them turn those arms & know-how against us in the not-too-distant future. In the last hundred years, we've done that with Iraq & Afghanistan, if I recall correctly, and they've since turned around & used those arms against us, and now we're trying to dig ourselves back out of the whole we dug by giving them the arms & know-how in the first place. Now we're trotting down the same path all over again. Giving arms & military support & know-how to the Saudi's. What's to stop them, in 10 or 20 years from turning those same arms & know-how against us??? Absolutely nothing. And yet, we seemed determined to repeat history time and again, because our stupid, freaking political leaders won't learn from past mistakes. *shaking head* Seriously, something needs to happen to these people to earn them 1st place in the Darwin Awards, thus purifying the gene pool from their particular brand of stupidity. (Not advocating somebody else doing the harming, I'm wishing they'd manage to remove themselves from the equation on their own. So, no threats or advocation of violence, here.) Unfortunately, there seem always to be more folks ready to take their place in the acts of stupidity.


Really. The idiocy!

Friday, July 27, 2007

What a B*TCH!

So I got a call from the lady at the Borough's HR dept. today. At work. Not 20 minutes into my work-shift, while I was at the desk on check-out duty. She was wondering if I had any library experience, specifically experience beyond the page level and why wasn't it on my application. Of course it would have helped if she'd have LOOKED at my application. If she'd only looked, she would have seen that I've got 5 years of library experience. I verbalized for her that almost 3 years of that experience included duties beyond the average page level and into the realm of assistant duties. She asked again, if I've worked as MORE than a page for the borough. I replied again that YES, almost 3 years of that library experience was at North Pole where the pages do work that is normally reserved for Library Assistants, in larger libraries (such as the one I'm currently at). And AGAIN, she didn't seem to quite understand, because she asked "well, does that mean you were a library assistant???" I told her that I have never had the TITLE of library assistant, but that I have experience consistent with what a Library assistent does at my current library. She responded with "Well, we're not looking at what your duties & abilities are, we're only concerned with what your title was. Were you ever a library assistant?"

And I told her "No, that's why I want this job, because I want to BE a library assistant."

And ya know what she said??? "Well, then it looks like you don't meet the qualifications for this job, based on your past job titles. That means the job will go exterior with nobody from inhouse qualified enough for an interview."

FORGET MY F*&KING JOB TITLES!!!!! My experience, what _I_ AM CAPABLE OF, met the qualifications. Hell, what's-his-name Brown held the job title of FEMA director, and look what a "fantastic" job he did of it. And got knows he had the title but no qualifying abilities. It's NOT ABOUT "job titles", it's about who's got the best qualifications. Or, it should be anyway.

So, I got shot down for an interview, having been the only one INSIDE the borough system, because I haven't previously held a job TITLED "Library Assistant". Evidently I'm not allowed to even interview for a job TITLED "Library Assistant" unless I've been a library assistant already. Whatever screwy type of sense that makes!

So, without considering my capabilities and experience, I've been denied an interview, by HR, before those who I'd be working for have even seen my resume. NOBODY at HR has previously been a library assistant, or a librarian, or even a page, and here they're saying what I COULD and COULD NOT do, based simply on current & past job titles. *shaking head* F*&KING IDIOTS!

So, tomorrow I'm going to call work, and ask who my Union Rep. is, and Monday I'm going to go talk to that Union Rep. about the Union looking into me getting an interview. It's BULL***T that I'm not even granted an interview, when I was the only one who actually applied. I'm not asking for the job. I understand that they need a pool of possible employees to choose from. But I should certainly have a SHOT, based on my past & current experience and the fact that I bothered to apply. I'm also going to talk to the Library Director (very nice guy, and a good boss!) and see if there's anything he can or will do. Again, I only want the shot. I'm not asking (or expecting) to be handed something I don't rightly deserve, but it's bull***t to turn people with experience down based on lack of a title. That's like something you'd expect in another society, not American society.

Oh, and for what it's worth, the woman who would be my highest supervisor (below the Library Director himself) knows that I applied for the job, and she knows that there was only one application from in-house. And I'm hoping that she'll see that my application wasn't sent to her for consideration and will call to HR to inquire into WHY it wasn't sent to her. I think she likes me, as an employee (I worked beneath her at North Pole Branch before), I hope so. I hope I'm not being shuffled aside for somebody's "sure thing". That's what the FIL thinks is happening. He thinks that this lady at HR has a relative or friend who's got less REAL qualifications, and isn't in-house, and the HR lady wants to narrow the field for her friend/relative. I hope that's not the case.

So, I'm rather peeved tonight. And I just had to share.

Just bits & pieces....

I finished reading _HP & the Deathly Hallows_ last night. I can't say as it was my favorite of the HP books. There were parts which felt very contrived.... As if J.K. Rowling was having a hard time getting the plot to come together. A couple of questions which _I_ had that weren't answered (like, why didn't Harry's grandparents take him in, instead of his Aunt & Uncle). Some plot twists which I didn't see coming at all!!!! Other questions were answered (like who was RAB) where the answer was pretty obvious to all. Somebody else had mentioned that the epilogue felt like poorly written Fan-Fic, and I must agree with that statement. Not a bad book, but certainly not my favorite.


I did take my application for that Lib. Assistant job in yesterday. But the woman who will be my boss (and was previously my boss) is out of town for a while, so it may be weeks before I find anything out regarding the job. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, though. And I'm going to go over today and mention to the other librarians that I did put in for the position.

I've decided that if I get the position, one of the first things I'm going to do is get back into TaeKwonDo. This past weekend I realized how much I've missed it. But, over the past couple of years I've been running into folks that used to attend the same school as I did, and the desire to return to it has been building. But last weekend was the straw on the camel's back, so to speak. And, as the new job would allow me 10 more free-hours a week, I would have more time to persue classes. And not just TaeKwonDo, either. I'm going to look into starting on a college education as well. Of course I've got to start from scratch as I did get to college right out of HS. But, I'm not going to keep putting it off. First things first, though, will be finding a Dojo that teaches in a style comfortable for me. The school I used to attend has unfortunately moved locations and is too far for me to travel to, a couple of times a week. I'd love to go back there, but I just can't justify the fuel costs.


A couple of recipes for my friends:

Homemade Kimchi

1 head cabbage, sliced to bite-size pieces. Stuff as much as possible into a large pickle jar. (I could only get 1/2 the cabbage in my jar, this morning.)

Blend together vinegar, store-bought chili-garlic sauce, sugar, and extra garlic & salt to taste. (I used about 1 cup of vinegar, a mix of both white vinegar & rice-wine vinegar; 2 Tbsp chili-garlic sauce; 3 small cloves garlic, pressed; and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Didn't add any salt, though I have for previous batches.) Pour this mix over the cabbage, cover with lid, and stash in the refrigerator for a couple of days before trying.

Really any veggie can be used. I got the basic recipe from the owner of Choice Rib (new restaraunt in Fairbanks, on 3rd Ave). We've had cucumber kimchi, salad-mix kimchi, and turnip kimchi at this place, previously. But, cabbage was cheap at the grocery store this morning, so that's what I used.

Madame Wu's Spicy Noodles (I got this one off recipezaar.com.)

1 lb spagheti noodles (I use angel-hair), dry

1/8 to 1/4 c sesame oil

1/4 c chili-garlic sauce

1/2 c soy sauce

1/2 c rice-wine vinegar

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain & rinse with cold water. Place in large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients & toss. Refrigerate till ready to serve. Will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

DD loves taking a dish of spicy noodles & some kimchi to daycare for lunch, lately. Gets her odd looks from the other students, envious looks from the teachers. *grin*


I had a moment yesterday when I realized that in 10 years, at our next reunion, everybody else will be talking about how adolecense is affecting their children and their return to the job-scene after so many years away for raising their children, and I'm going to be (hopefully!) talking about a child in college and persuing an Olympic Gold in hockey.

(Though, Mom told me yesterday that one of her older brothers just became a great-grandpa, at 55 years old. He had his daughter at 17 years old, she had her son at 17 years old, and how now that 17 year old son has just had his first child. I hope my daughter doesn't follow in my footsteps that way.)

But, thinking about what we actually had in common in HS (all the same age, attending the same school, in the same classes, living in the same town) versus what we all have in common now (we're all still the same age) was very odd. I realized that we were so blind to our commonalities back then, and yet now we've got even less in common with each other, except that by & large we are all much more emotionally & mentally mature than we were back then. When others were busy persuing college degrees, I was busy changing diapers. And now, when everybody else's changing diapers & watching their children climb onto that bus for the first day of kindergarden, I'm struggling with an adolescent daughter and starting to persue a career. When all the other moms are just starting to get back into the work scene, I'll hopefully be a good ways into a solid career. *shaking head* It's odd to think about it that way.

Anyway. Just some odd bits & pieces for today.

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is it so wrong?????

Is it so wrong to be passionate about what you love????

Twice now in the last week I've been told by older coworkers that they hope that my intensity tones down with age. And not that I'm bouncing off the walls..... One of the two times was when I expressed my fervent hope that I get this job out here at the NP Branch Lib. I commented on how I HAVE got my heart set on moving back out here to my local library. And she responded that I shouldn't have my heart set, because that results in getting your heart broken.

The other was today when I commented on how I LOVE to get lost in a good book, or a good series, and the coworker said that it's not good to get lost in novels when you must face life.

Not arguing with either point, in and of itself.... But shouldn't we feel passionate about what we love best???? I love books. I always have. I always will. And I hope I NEVER lose the passion that prompts me to share that love of books with other people. I think I would feel as though a huge chunk of who I am had been ripped away if I ever lose this passion for the written word. Is that such a bad thing???? Is it such a bad thing to want this job close to home so badly that I can almost taste it???? Is it such a bad thing to enjoy spending a little bit each day reading about & sharing in the lives of fictional people, to get me out of my own problems for just a little bit???? I don't spend all my days lost in fictional worlds any more. I recognize that it is not healthy for me (or anybody else) to do so. But, there's just something about spending a short time sharing in the lives of fictional others that allows one to drop one's own problems for just a bit. And whether I'm greatful that my problems aren't so great, or that their problems are similar to mine, it allows me to escape, just for a bit, from my own life.

And beyond the sharing in the lives of these fictional others..... I don't get to travel. I certainly can't see Hogwarts in person, enjoying it through Harry's eyes is something I wouldn't miss out on. Flying on dragon's wings across the Pernese skies.... A treat not to be passed up on. Reading about Claire's life in 1760's Scotland.... Amazing to see how things change & how things stay the same.

Is it wrong to be so passionate about books??? To be passionate about whatever it is you love????

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Now THAT was Freakin' Fun!!!!

So, 4 of my coworkers & I went to see HP & tOOtP last night. What a blast!!!!! Despite the fact that I locked my keys in my car then couldn't seem to get ahold of DH on the cell phones, I went & enjoyed the movie nonetheless. The popcorn wasn't as good as I was hoping it'd be, but otherwise.... What a blast!!!!

I really think I prefer the way the filming was handled in this movie more than any of the other movies. Number 3 remains my next favorite. Number 4 was just so darkly filmed that a lot of the details weren't visible, it seemed. This one started off matter of factly, and went through the movie covering all the necessary details so that the main points of the story would be understood.

Yeah, they added some bits that weren't in the book. Unfortunately they had to leave out a LOT of details that WERE in the book, but for the sake of time & getting the point across, I think a very good job was done.

I LOVED Tonks, and I wish more of her character had been seen. The actress who played her was perfect. As was Delores Umbridge's character, and Luna Lovegood's. Whomever did the casting did it perfectly!!! My one disappointement was that Trelawney lacked some of the color & pizzaz she had in previous movies. Even though I didn't like her character persay, she was very colorless in this movie and I really wish she'd still been portrayed as very over-the-top & flamboyant. But, all of the characters seemed rather drab in this movies, literally color-less. Of course the Weasley's still had their brilliant red hair, but with Mr. & Mrs. Weasly even that was played down. McGonagal didn't have any scottish tartan color to her, as she has in all the past movies (that I recall). In all the other movies, Dumbledore seemed to always have some shimmering blue quality about him, almost like a moonstone, and that wasn't present in this movie either. Maybe it's because of how the dementors are supposed to make everything & everybody feel so colorless & hopeless, and they're now free to torment as they please, but I missed that colorfull Harry Potter world that we've seen in previous movies. Snape & Sirius were well portrayed, as usual. Loved the one little clip of Prof. Flitwick expressing his dislike for Umbridge. I was kind of struck, in the flash-back clips & visions of Harry's Mom, how she almost resembled J.K. Rowling herself. Of course, in a literal sense, J.K. Rowling IS HP's mom, which made it rather appropriate that the movie Mom somewhat looks like J.K. Rowling.

All in all, a very good movie. And I can hardly wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it again here at home and see the details that I missed.

As for, Did Kati dress up???? Well, kind-of. I did braid my hair rather uniquely, wore my shorts with a crescent-moon patch on the back pocket, and attempted to drape myself in some scarves & a sarong (shawl-style), and a couple of strands of MardiGras beads. I decided NOT to go for the witch hat, though for Halloween I may again. Only one of the strands of beads & scarves (the lightest silk scarf) stayed on through the whole movie. It was just too danged warm to be wearing shawls & multiple scarves & such.

I don't see why other people don't like dressing up. I love it when I have the chance to be more flamboyant & colorful than might be appropriate in daily life. I rather figure that we all take ourselves far too seriously on a day to day basis that when given the chance, I love to dress somewhat flamboyantly and act a little silly & look a little bit rediculous. That's a part of why I love Halloween (American style). Besides any spiritual meanings as Samhain, Halloween gives adults one real chance during the year to be flamboyant & rediculous and enjoy it, in a world that often almost requires us to be colorless & serious.

Ah, well.... Just some Saturday morning musings. I need to get some coffee and get going to the grocery store, and then get that application filled out yet. Then tonight we've got the reunion supper. The hubby is rather peeved about going as NOBODY seems to know what we'll be having for dinner, and as we're paying $55 (because we didn't pay prior to now) a person, at the door, we really better have good food and not mediocre crap. But, suspicions are that we're going to have some bland, patheticly tasteless buffet style food. *sigh* I hope that's not the case. I really do. And, the one friend of DH's that he was looking forward to seeing there (the husband of a girl who graduated with me) is NOT going because he doesn't want to spend $100 on buffet table crap.... S0, now DH is acting all grumpy & peevish about it. *sigh* Ah well. He'll get over himself. Eventually.

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bummed, Pissed, Angry... Any other adjectives????

Just in case anybody here also reads my myspace blog, this IS a cross-post.

So, I knew I didn't get either of the two positions there at Noel Wein that I applied for. The Regional Position, and the Acquisitions position. Ok, fine. I know that it only means that something better is bound to open up for me soon. It always does.

Today, one of the Susan's (there are 3 Susan's that work at the library with me) tells me that the Regional position HAS been awarded to the library assistant out here at NPBranch, which means her position is now open for applications, and that applications are due by July 25. Next Wednesday. Ok, I figure. I'll get home, get the application printed out, scan the job descrip. to see if anything's changed, and get busting on that application and a cover letter, so I can get my coworker to proof-read it for me and I can get it turned in on time.

Wouldn't you f*cking know it..... They changed the description by half a sentence so I'm now ineligable for the freaking job.

The description previously read: Minimum Qualifications:
1) HS diploma or equivalent.
2) 2 years library experience (I have 5 now!) or Associate's Deg. in Lib. Science can substitute for experience
(And others that aren't relevent to my peeve.)
It NOW reads: 2 years Library experience one of which is beyond the page level. An Associate's Degree in Lib. Science can substitute.

WHY THE F***!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I had all the requirements, till they changed it. Now.... Now I don't meet the requirements because of that one stupid little change. And I'm guessing they changed it because out there at NP Branch one of my former-fellow pages (when I worked there) has been working part time as an casual assistant in addition to her page duties. An option I was never told about, much less given, though I expressed my interest frequently in somehow obtaining a position as a Lib. Assistant. But, evidently shortly after I left, PT expressed the same interest, and SHE was given the chance to obtain assistant experience, and now she meets the stringent requirements, but I don't. And the worst part is..... I don't have any way to GET that experience, WITHOUT this position!!! I mean, to get assistant experience, you've got to BE an assistant, and they're wanting the experience without being willing to give me a shot at the job.....

I'm so freaking bummed!!!!! I've put my heart into this job, I've talked to everybody about how I'll do whatever it takes to get experience to become a Lib. Assistant, and for pete's sake... I live 5 minutes from the freaking library, and I was so freaking reliable an employee..... What more do they want from me?!?!?!?!

I'm still going to fill out the damned application though. I'm not going to give up without a fight. With or without that freaking experience, I'm going to apply anyway. They have to do the work of reading my damned application & cover letter and call me & tell me I didn't make it. I won't just back down without a fight. I want that damned job, and I won't give up!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another busy week....

So, let's see.... I told you about this weekend....

Well, DH got home Sunday afternoon, only to get a call from his mom saying that she would be going in for surgery on her ankle on Monday. She had no intention (nor, any way) of telling FIL that she'd be in for surgery on the day he was due back into town (from the same fishing trip). The FIL got in on Monday (with DD in tow, as she'd stayed down fishing with him for that one extra day) to find out that his wife was in surgery and SIL, her boyfriend, and her sons were trashing the house. *rolling eyes* He was considerably less than pleased. Of course, the MIL was in the hospital overnight for observation, as well. She wound up with 2 pins & a metal plate in her ankle. Must've been some nasty break!!!

Well, Monday night DD had a soccer game at 7 pm. Of course I didn't make it as I was at work. They lost 9 to 1. However, this is the first time the opposing team has EVER had a single goal scored on them. No other team but ours has managed to score any goals on this team. So, our girls felt pretty good about that. DD didn't get the credit for this goal in this game (the previous game she'd scored the only 2 goals in the game, winning for our side), but she did assist on that goal. And everybody knows that assists are as important as the goals themselves. Without good team effort, that goal wouldn't have happened. I got home about 9:45 to find that DH and DD still weren't home. They'd stopped by the hospital to see the MIL and it took them a good long time to find their way back out & back to DH's truck. (The hospital is undergoing some revamping & renovations. Again.) So, I started dinner and we ate when DH & DD got home. Got a rundown of the game, then we all went to bed. It was after 11 before DD got to bed, and well after midnight before I crawled into bed.

Tuesday.... not a heck of a lot happened, thank goodness. I was busy as a bee at work, though. I had two, hour-long desk shifts, 1 hour at back-up, and then pick-up duties at 5. Didn't get much shelving done at all. Oh, and I've had to clean up the kitchen at work each day, as it's my week for KP. *sigh* Not my most favorite of chores, but at least I can take time out of the rest of my work-day to do it, instead of having to come in early or stay late just to clean up.

Today was considerably less busy at work, but still...... Didn't get much shelving done. I've been doing a good bit of shifting lately. Lots of shelves that're starting to get too cramped. So, I shift where I can. Sometimes 3 shelves over, just to create space for 2 or 3 books. I also did my requisite desk shift & back-up shift, as well as pick-up duty again. And DH & DD are at soccer practice. I've got to get some supper made here in a few minutes, too.

Tomorrow should be about like today, at work. Nothing going on tomorrow night, that I know of.

But Friday....... Friday starts the fun. After work on Friday at least 2 of my coworkers (possibly 4) and I will be going to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. One of us has only seen 1 of the movies, previously. I hope she doesn't feel too lost. I wish I'd known and I'd have lent her my DVDs to catch up. So, following work on Friday I'll be heading over to the theater for the 7 pm showing. I'm trying to convince my coworkers to dress up with me. I want to dress up, but I don't want to be the only one. I kind of wish I had short hair, I'd get out some cherry koolaid to dye my hair and go as Tonks. *grin* I don't though. If I do dress up, I won't be dressing up as anybody in particular. But I've got enough costume jewelry & sarongs, scarves & shawls to do a decent job of dressing up. *grin* I just don't want to go as a muggle. I dress as a muggle every day of the week, most of the year (except halloween). I wanna dress as a witch! *BWG*

Saturday will be the reunion dinner for my class. 10 years ago I graduated HS. I'm looking forward to this, and dreading it all the same. I don't really have a nice dress to wear, but I remind myself that this is Alaska. NOBODY dresses up except for weddings. But a part of me still wants to. Anyway, the reunion supper is from 7 to 10 pm. Dad's going to watch DD for me, so DH and I can go out for the evening. DH is less-than-thrilled about the prospects of 3 hours with a roomfull of folks he doesn't know and doesn't care about anyway. Fortunately at least 1 of his best friends will be there (married a girl that I graduated with). Maybe 2. And possibly some friends from WAY back whom he hasn't seen in a lot longer. Tickets are 50 per person, though, and we have NO idea what we'll be dining on, despite the fact that this is the nicest hotel in town.

Sunday afternoon will be the reunion picnic. DH says he's not going to this. Ok, that's fine. DD is, though. She's not completely thrilled as she's convinced she'll be the oldest child there. I say she probably won't be. It'll be burgers & hotdogs, and side-dishes & desserts provided by my classmates & I. I think I may take a broccoli/cauliflower salad that's well-loved in my family. I'm not totally decided, though. I'm greatly looking forward to this picnic. I'd love to see what everybody's kids look like, how many folks have got. I'm looking forward to seeing how much everybody's changed, how folks have mellowed or strengthened. I'm just sad that most of my good friends from HS won't be there. Some of them don't know anything about the reunion, evidently. I wish Tia was going to be there. I hope Amber will come. I'm kinda torn whether or not I want to see Melissa. I'd love to see Vicki again. I know Tia & Vicki & Melissa won't be there. I'm the only one of our group that I know for a fact is going to be there. Amber is torn about whether or not she's going to come. I hope she does. (Amber, if you read this, PLEASE COME!!!!!)

Well, that's been a look at my week so far, and my plans for the rest of it.... I hope y'all are having a good week so far.


Let's see...... Locally.... The weather's been rather nice. We had a doozy of a Thunderstorm last night that was rocking the house just before the rain started pouring down. It rained good & long & hard and was still raining when DH went to work this morning, evidently. Dad's been grumpy about how much rain we've been getting, but I think it's a nice relief to such hot sun as we've had lately. And we went a few weeks (all of June, I think) without any rain. So now the storms have started up and I'm enjoying it, thank you very much. *wink*

Some folks have asked me what Alaska's like, and I've directed them here to my blog, so I may as well start posting a little bit more often about the general weather & such. As for today, except for the rain this morning the temp has been nice. It got to between 75 and 80 deg. today, and it felt like it.

We're still getting a lot more sunlight than dark. As most people know, the closer to the arctic circle a person gets, the more pronounced the solstices become. And, having just had the Summer Solstice a couple of weeks back, we still have strong sunlight till 10 or 11 pm, when it finally gets dusky. About 1 or 2 in the morning, it's dusky-dark (not truly dark, but dusky-dark). Then it starts getting light again shortly there-after. And we take advantage of the prolonged sunlight in the summer, with late-night fishing trips on the weekends, and even some weekday nights. With the summer as short as it is, those of us who are outdoorsy enjoy what summer we do get as much as possible. And it's supposedly very good for a good portion of the plants. Zucchini, cabbages & lettuce & pumpkins & such greatly enjoy the loooooooooong summer days, and can grow to enormous proportions. Some of us haven't yet gotten the knack of getting our plants to grow much past seedlings, though. *big sigh* Wish I had, but I haven't yet. So, no gigantic zukes for me this year.

We do have green grass in our front yard. I know that some people will wonder how much like the rest of the US, the central part of Alaska is. It's quite a lot, actually. We don't have swimming pools in our back yards (not warm enough to bother with in-ground pools, though a few folks do have the above-ground type), but we do have grassy lawns (some of us better than others). We don't have oaks & maples, but we've got a lot of spruce & birch & willow (and FAR too many poplar, which are weeds!). And birch are nice big trees, though they're not quite so good for climbing as an oak or a maple. Wild roses, fireweed, wild iris' and dandylions grow wherever they can find a spot. (And the first 3 are very pretty.) Many of us plant a large plot of rhubarb somewhere on our property. Many of us also have a wild raspberry or blueberry plant growing somewhere on our property. Whether we want it there or not. I've got some wild-raspberry plants that keep trying to come up in the same space as my sugar-snaps, as a matter of fact.

A LOT of people also keep livestock on property that wouldn't allow it in the rest of the country. An acre of property is enough for somebody who's child's got a lamb their raising for 4-H. Or a small henhouse for fresh eggs. Or that pet pig (who's really kept to breed some bacon for this year's freezer needs). And of course we can't forget that in any neighbourhood in this town you're likely to see a moose wander across your yard at 8 in the morning on a winter's day. (Almost NO child who grows up around here has NOT had a close call, coming around the side of the house to or from school & getting to face off against a moose. We instruct our school children not only how to avoid suspicious strangers, but the most-proper way to avoid getting trampled by that moose.) We've had 7 bears killed in outlying neighbourhoods around my town, this summer. This is a HUGE amount for us, but invariably there's a bear somewhere close that decides to get too hungry for a taste of a dog-musher's dogs (after breaking into the shed that store's the dog's winter-food and eatting all of it), and must be shot before it does any major damage or physical harm to folks.

Our houses look much like anybody else's. Personally I live in a modular. A "double wide" if you will. Not that you'd realize it either inside or out. We don't dress our homes all in antler & animal skins. (Not that I'm opposed to some antlers or a bear-rug, but my hubby's not that good a hunter, the last few years.) My home is done mainly in a hand-me-down country style. *grin* Though I do conceed to the winter weather by putting quilts on windows & having lots of throws & afghans around. Then again, they also serve to cover the thread-bare back of the couch as much as to warm us. *wink*

One thing you'll see a lot more of up here than in many societies around the "lower 48" (not meant to be slander, just the fact that our state is the farthest north in the union, and Hawaii doesn't count as it came AFTER Alaska and isn't connected to the mainland, so we're only refering to the 48 that came before us) is a fancy 2000 sq foot, 2 story house located on a fancy-landscaped piece of property, with a modular on one side, and a shack & surrounded by a junk-yard on the other. A log cabin a couple of places down, and a ranch on the other side of that. We don't have many neighbourhoods around here (mainly the few newer ones) with strict covenants. And even the neighbourhoods WITH covenants have a hard time getting their residents to abide by the rules. A common "lawn decoration" is that 3rd (or 4th, or 5th) car that stopped running a couple of year's back, and it's been sitting up on blocks for since then, waiting for the owner to get the money to fix the engine back up. And the wood-shed out back to provide shelter for your winter's supply, after you installed your own darned woodstove to cut down on the winter fuel bills.

Moreso, there are a large number of folks who live, quite happily, in "dry" cabins. That's right, folks who think nothing of hauling water out to their cabin for drinking & dishes & use an outhouse for the neccessary. Who take a shower at a local club or gym a couple of times a week, or at the house of a close friend. It's normal around here, and dry cabins are invariably the cheapest (decently kept) property around for young college students hoping to live on their own, single working folks, or young couples just starting out. The apartment complexes that populate many states in the "lower 48" just aren't that common up here. What complexes we have don't tend to be very large, and generally are very poorly kept up.

LOL So, I hope that gives those of you who wonder about us Alaskans a little bit of insight into our daily life.

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Recipe and Thanks!

First off.... Whim & Connie, thanks for the support & the sympathy. I really felt like it would be justifiable homocide the other morning, if I went postal. *wry smile* Ironically, yesterday morning wasn't any better as the folks who are/were? planning on building a house on the lot directly across from my house came in with dirt & were back-filling the hole they'd dug last fall. Don't know if they've decided NOT to build there, and were filling in this big gapping hole for safety reasons, or what. But it was 8:30 in the morning when the loader started bringing in bucket-loads of dirt. Needless to say.... Was not too happy about that, either. 2 mornings in a row. Go freaking figure. And this morning the guys doing the lights are back, with a smaller loader, sitting in my drive, removing the metal form from around the cement footer for the light. *sigh* One of these days, I'd really, really love to sleep in without interuption. I know, with 2 dogs and a kid it's unlikely to happen, but doesn't mean I can't wish. *wink* Anyway, Thanks again, Whim & Connie, for the support & understanding.

Now, for that bread recipe you asked for Connie! It's actually one of the recipes that came with my dad's bread-maker years ago. We only rarely used the breadmaker because the loaves were so wierdly shaped, but this was my favorite of the breads we made in it.

Golden Egg Bread
Makes 2 loaves

1 pkg (or 1/2 Tbsp) yeast
3/4 c warm water
4 c all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 Tbsp oil (I use melted butter)

Proof yeast in 3/4 c water, with a pinch of sugar, for 10 minutes. Mix flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Add yeast-water, beaten eggs, and oil. Knead well, till smooth and elastic-y. Place in greased bowl, and oil top of dough, and cover with clean cloth & allow to rise 2 or so hours. Punch down, shape into 2 loaves, and let rise again at least 1 hour. Bake at 350 Deg. F. for 40 to 50 minutes. Tops of loaves may be brushed with melted butter immediately after baking, or beaten egg-white/water mix prior to baking.

For an Onion-Dill variation on this bread, prior to mixing wet ingredients into the dry, I simply add between 2 and 4 (I don't measure, I just dump) dried dill weed, and about 3 Tbsp dried minced onion to flour, sugar & salt. Mix well to disperse herbs before adding in wet ingredients.

Another recipe for you... This comes from the Pampered Chef, but we didn't find it there, we got it from some friends who'd attended a Pampered Chef party then messed with the recipe a bit themselves, before passing it on to us.

Chicken Club Ring (Pampered Chef title)
Chicken Ring (what we've always called it)

3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
4 slices bacon, cooked to crisp & crumbled (more may be used)
1 cup mayonaisse
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp minced, dried onion (or fresh minced, or a tsp of onion powder)
2 Tbsp parsley (I've always used dried, though fresh may be used if handy)
1 cup shredded cheese (a mix of cheddar, swiss & mozzarella is best, though whatever you have on hand may be used)
2 pkgs croissant dinner rolls

Mix all ingredients except dinner rolls. Set mix aside. Take either a pizza pan, or a pizza stone and elevate it to create a turnable platform. (I generally just use my pizza pan, draped in aluminum foil, sitting on a crisco or oatmeal canister.) Now, seperate your croissant triangles, and gently lay them on the pizza pan, with the longer tip dangly over the edge, and the shorter tips overlapping all around edge of pizza pan. Only about 1 inch of the croissant roll (unrolled) should be on the pizza pan, the rest of each roll should be dangling over the edge. Place about 2 Tbsp (will probably wind up being slightly more) of chicken/cheese mix on each croissant section, all the way around the edge of the pizza pan. When you've used all your chicken/cheese mix, fold long tips of the croissants up over the top of the filling, and tuck down under the other side of the segment, on inner edge of the ring you are now creating. More foil may be tucked around outter edges of croissant/chicken ring before baking to promote more even baking. Bake at 350 Deg. F. for 25 to 30 minutes or till heated through and golden-brown. Enjoy!

In the origional Pampered Chef recipe (I only posted what is on the recipe I have copied from our family friend), it also directs the cook to slice some tomatoes into rounds and place a round on the space between each of the croissant segments before baking. When ready to serve, the cook is directed to fill the space inside the ring with shredded lettuce, tomato wedges, etc to eat with the ring segments. It IS called a "Chicken Club Ring" after all.

Ok, there are some yummy new recipes for ya.

Oh, and for what it's worth. Today my hubby turned 33. *grin* I don't know if he'd like me telling the world that, but, oh well. I made him a Cookies & Cream Jello No-Bake dessert. Not what I'd pick, but I know he likes it. And he doesn't know I made it for him. He won't know till he gets home tonight. *grin*

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Crochet, Sugar-Snaps, and bread dough....

First off, sorry for the foul mouth this morning. I don't take well to being woken early in the morning when most sane people are still in bed, sleeping. Esp. when I'm woken by heavy machinery not 50 feet from my bedroom window. I DID manage to get back to sleep for a couple of hours, only to be woken by Dad at 11:20 as he stopped by with some items he's been asking me to take, but knew I wouldn't be able to transport in my car.

So, I'm up, I've eatten, I feel quite a bit better than I did when I wrote the last post this morning, and I figured I'd share some pictures, as it's been a while since I posted any.

First, the crochet: Here are, of course, the two baby-blankets that I have made, currently. The blue, yellow & white one has been done for several months, and was simply made as a spare and to use up leftover yarn from the afghan I made for DD's bed. The pink, purple & yellow is the one I just completed last week. Our friends with the up-coming baby will receive one or the other, once we find out the sex of their latest child. The spare will go back to storage for the next time I find out somebody's having/had a baby. *smile* (Oh, and they are folded into quarters, so I could fit them both in the same pic, they're not REALLY as small as they look here.)

Next pic is the 8 bags I currently have made. I've been in to talk to the folks that own that little gift store I'd previously mentioned, showed the daughter of the owner the bags, and left my name & number. She said her mom would probably be interested, but it's been over a week now & I haven't heard back from her as to carrying my bags in her store. *sigh* I'm considering (only slightly, though) opening an Esty shop of my own. I don't know that I really feel like doing that, though. But, if anybody sees any of these here and wants to buy one.... *hint, hint* *wink*

Thirdly, here are my sugar-snaps. Only in the last 3 or 4 days have the flowers popped out. I'm rather happy because that means I WILL get some peas off of these this year. I wish I had room for a larger plot. Also, the pots of swiss chard & lettuce that I planted a couple of weekends back look like they will produce a bit, also. All 5 plants had all of the seeds planted in them come up. Now it's a waiting game for them to get big enough to thin (or to seperate & replant a little further apart in the same pot), then waiting for them to mature enough to enjoy. My flower-plants (in the flowerbeds) are also there, but not yet producing flowers. I'm somewhat bummed. Unfortunately I need to really weed before I can post any pictures, otherwise all you'll see is the weeds & grass growing up in front of the flower beds.
Last but not least, a view of the bread-dough for a couple of loaves of my Onion-Dill Golden Egg bread. It's been a couple of weeks since I last made bread, so I figured it was time to do so again. And this stuff was so yummy last time that I wanted more. My middle sis was posting, the other day, about how she made that 18-hour really easy bread (the one that bakes in a dutch-oven preheated to 500 deg.), and was telling me I need to give that bread a try. And it DOES look really good, but I just don't feel like waiting 18 hours for a loaf of bread right now. I think I'll definitely give it a try this fall, though. When I've decided to make a pot of soup for dinner, on one of my weekends. I'm sure that bread would go VERY well with a pot of Clam Chowder, or Scotch Broth. But, for now I'm thinking ham sandwiches on Onion-Dill Egg bread. *grin*
Ok. I hope these pics somewhat make up for my bad mood this morning.
Have a Blessed Day!


So, we got the placement of the damned street light fixed. It's no longer in our front yard, now it's on the property line between my house & my next-door-neighbour's, so that it light's both of our parking areas without shining directly in our house windows. Good, one problem solved.

Now to give the person who gave the go-ahead to start digging, a call. Because at 7:35 this morning I woke up to their big old drill truck backing up in my parking area, and at 7:50, these guys started drilling. I'll say it again..... 7:50 on a SATURDAY MORNING these guys are in a RESIDENTIAL Neighbourhood, DRILLING UP MY DRIVEWAY! And, because it's got to go through ashphalt (instead of grass & dirt) they say it's going to take longer. And once they get the drilling done, they're going to bring in a boom truck to set the "cage" down into the whole before they do the wiring & the cement-work. (1 guess as to why they call it a "boom" truck, I'm thinking.) Evidently they were given 2 months to do this job of 60 streetlights, and they're trying to get it done in less. *shaking head*

Why they didn't come in and drill the whole yesterday, during the work-day, I don't know..... Why they are doing these things 1 and 2 at a time, instead of a whole road at a time, I've got no clue.

F*CK! I'm so increadibly tired right now. It's a REALLY good thing that S. & Tay are gone for the weekend, because when I'm tired, I'm pissy, and teary, and ready to take folk's head's off. And after 10 years of being a mom, I value what little sleep I get greatly. Top it off, I'm PMS'ing this weekend. So much for a nice, relaxing, QUITE! weekend.

And, when I went out to ask the guys how long this was going to take, the supervisor was absolutely unsympathetic and commented on how HE never gets sleep as his twin little girls wake him up at 4 every morning. Good for f**king HIM! I told him how MY husband was nice enough to take our daughter fishing this weekend so that I COULD have some sleep, and here they're ruining it. And this doesn't happen more than about twice a year, me getting a weekend to myself and getting to sleep in. And it's evidently NOT happening this year, after all. This will be probably the only weekend my hubby is GOING to get to take my daughter fishing, not having any leave-time he can take for fishing & hunting this year.

And I couldn't even find any ear-plugs. F**K! It's now 8:28, I'm awake and so rediculously tired!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another job opportunity.....

I didn't get either of the other two positions I applied for, but that's ok. I try to keep my mind on the thought that if this opportunity doesn't work for me, some day another one will. And that philosophy has stood me in good stead. I didn't really want to leave NP Branch Lib. when I did, but I needed more hours & more pay. The customer service experience I gained working at a local bookstore, and at a local craft store have served me well in my current position, and though I was unhappy for a while, I was given the chance to get the position I've got now, which was what I wanted all along (as a stepping stone to a library assistant position, but without my current position, I wouldn't have a shot at a lib. assistant position at all).

So, I didn't get either the acquisitions position, or the Regional position. *shrug* Ok. No problem. That just means that there's something better out there waiting for me. And it looks like I'm right.

One of the library assistant's from NP Branch got the Regional position, which means that HER position out here at NP Branch will be opening up. It's a Lib. Assistant 3 (only available at NP Branch because they have to deal with reference questions & ILL's as well as regular Lib. Assistant duties like Noel Wein's assistants have), pay is un-listed (which means GOOD!), it's 20 hours a week (more time for Tay, and hopefully schooling!), and it's a 7 minute (summer) walk from home!!!!!! That's the absolutely best part. I'd be HOME!!!! I'd be in my neighbourhood, in my town, around my neighbours. I LOVED IT here before, and if I get this position I'll LOVE IT here again!!!!! (Only, I'll be loving it with more money and the same benefits! *grin*)

Soooo.... Anybody for keeping your finger's crossed & sending lots of P&PT???? *grin* I really, really want this job, and I AM setting my heart & my sights on it! And I believe I've got a fair shot. I'll keep y'all posted!!!!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Whoop!!!! A weekend to myself!

Ok, so more like the second half of the week to myself, or so it seems.... Let's see....

DD got invited to a birthday party-sleep over for one of her hockey teammates today & tonight, and till what-ever-time tomorrow. (Though, we'll have to pick DD up from the party this afternoon for her soccer game, then return her for the sleep-over.) Then Friday, DD and DH will be leaving for a weekend fishing trip down at the Klutina River, before I'm even off work for the weekend. They won't be back till sometime Monday, probably after I'm at work already for the day.

What am I going to do with myself?!?!?! *grin* Friday night, I'm going to order Mongolian Beef & some wantons from our favorite local oriental place, and watch this season's last 3 episodes of StarGate:Atlantis, and maybe HP & the Goblet of Fire (gotta get "caught back up" in time for the next movie, ya know). Saturday I'll maybe do some baking, watch some movies, do some crocheting, do some weeding if the weather permits. Sunday.... *shrug* Who knows. I'll see what I feel like doing when it gets here. A weekend with my bed to myself (no fighting for covers), nobody fighting over what kind of music to play on the sterio, no fighting for the TV or the computer, and no sharing my oriental food!!!!! *grin*

(Can ya tell I'm a real "party girl"?!?!? LOL Just boatloads of excitement around here this weekend, I'll tell ya!!!!! *wink*)


I hope everybody else is having a good second half of the week, and thanks for all the hugs & support!!!

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bad Attitudes & a Broken Ankle....

Well, the 4th wound up being a considerably less-than-completely pleasant 4th of July, that's for sure. And, in part due to the SIL's bad attitude. My SIL has wrecked more cars in her 30 years than most people own in a life-time, and yet MIL handed over her keys to SIL so that she could pick up her older son from town & bring him out to spend the day with her & her most current boyfriend. (She already had the younger son with her.) Of course, FIL quickly found out about the car being lent to SIL (who isn't covered on their insurance, and only has insurance to drive her own vehical, currently a chevy S10) and reamed MIL a new one for allowing SIL to take the car.

On top of that, MIL fell last Sunday and "twisted" her ankle as she tried to catch the 3 year old nephew as he took-off down the drive. She'd called Sunday evening asking the hubby if he'd take her over to the fire-dept. to see if they thought she should go to the emergency room. He suggested she give it a half-hour, wrapped with an ice-pack, then call him back if the swelling was still bad. She never called back, so we assumed that she was ok and had just twisted it. Fast foward to Wednesday, as we were in the house filling our plates with food, MIL showed the hubby & I her ankle and it was twice it's normal size & black & blue & green all over, and she only had it wrapped in a support-brace she'd purchased from the grocery store. My inkling right off was that her ankle was very possibly broken. *sigh* So, we suggested that she needed to have it seen, and she decided to call her younger sister for a ride to FirstCare to have her ankle x-rayed. Sure enough, she broke it in 2 places. *cringe*

So, then she called SIL and told SIL that she couldn't watch the nephew any longer, that SIL would have to take responsibility for the boy (SIL's younger son). SIL, of course, claimed that something is going on with the bathroom at the house she shares with her new boyfriend and that she can't take responsibility for her own son right now. So their dad is back to having both boys.

(Both of the nephews are technically in the custody of their dad, but he just had back surgery a month ago so he asked the inlaws if they would take the younger son, the 3 year old, so he only has to worry about the older, the 5 year old. They agreed on the condition that the boy's mom, my SIL, comes over during the day to take care of the younger boy while the inlaws work. Since SIL doesn't have a job right now. She's living with her latest in a string of boyfriends, and doesn't want EITHER of her son's around for more than a couple of hours, but for the most part she's been showing up during the day to keep an eye on the younger rather than making the inlaws pay for putting HER kid in day-care. On Monday, MIL didn't go to work because of her ankle, so on Tuesday when MIL decided she still wasn't in any shape to go to work, the SIL figured that she didn't need to bother with taking care of her own son, her mom could do it. *rolling eyes* Seeing as she's now on crutches, MIL has told the SIL that the SIL will have to take care of her own son now until MIL's ankle heals or the boy's dad's back heals, whichever comes first. My understanding was that the SIL was rather pissed that her mom went & broke her ankle & stuck her with the younger son. Again, forget the fact that the MIL broke the ankle because she was running after the 3 year old to keep him from running into the road, and twisted her ankle doing so.)

So, FIL was pissed & grumpy over both MIL's messed up ankle, and SIL's highjacking of MIL's car when she doesn't even have insurance (again). Tay was, of course, bored & pissy because neither of the nephews was there to play with. And the dog was alternating between freaking out & shivering quietly on the garage floor.

Ah well, the chicken and macaroni salad were good. *wry smile* We also got home in time last night to watch the last of the "Macy's 4th of July fireworks show" on tv before bed. One of these day's I'd love to spend the 4th with Tay in a state that actually gets dark summer nights, so she can see a good fireworks show herself. Maybe I'll try to see if we can get down for my mom's family reunion in Spokane in a couple of years. I think she'd like Riverfront Park on the 4th of July. And I'd love to see my Aunts & Uncles & cousins again. I only wish the hubby wasn't so scared to death of flying, so he could go with us & meet my mom's family. I really think he'd get along well with my uncles. *grin* They've all got the "work hard, play harder" view of life. LOL

I called the MIL on Thursday morning to see how she was feeling, and DH and I had already discussed how it would be an idea for DD and I to go over & help MIL out with heavy-lifting household chores like laundry & vacuuming & anything else she may want our help on, as a broken ankle makes it hard to do the simplest of things (like carrying one's coffee cup from kitchen to living room, as the MIL discovered Thursday morning), much less the more active household tasks. And I doubt the FIL will help much. He and MIL don't seem to have said a civil word to each other in several months now. Well, the MIL said that she didn't need any help at the moment, but thanks for offering, and I told her I'd call back on Saturday. And I did, called early and asked if there was anything I could pick up for her at the grocery store, as I was going, or any movies I could bring over for her. Wound up picking 3 of our movies that she hasn't seen yet, and she asked me to get her a movie rental guide from the store, and pick up Great-Grandma's light-weight vacuume so she (MIL) could vacuume the house. I told her I'd pick it up, but Tay and I would come over and vacuume & do laundry for her, and anything else.

Go figure that when I got there, the SIL was there, with BOTH boys, and one of their friends. And bathing both boys in MIL's bathroom, and feeding all 3 of the kids in MIL's kitchen. And evidently SIL was somewhat incensed that I'd come over and help the MIL with household chores, so she told MIL that SHE didn't need the light-weight vacuume & that I could just take it back to Grandma's house, and that SIL would be over (with younger son) on Monday and would clean MIL's whole house for her. *shaking head* Whatever. So, I got sent BACK to Great-Grandma's with the vaccume & a symbolic pat-on-the-head for being such a good girl to offer, but MIL didn't really need my help at all when her daughter is willing to step-up. I'd be happy about SIL stepping up to help, if I thought she actually was. But SIL has NEVER been one to clean-house. In fact, everybody in the family knows that MIL often goes to SIL's place and cleans for SIL, on the pretense that with 2 boys, SIL can't accomplish it herself. (Then MIL goes on and on about how good a housekeeper SIL is, though I've seen SIL's various apartments when MIL isn't cleaning for her regularly, and it's never been anywhere NEAR "clean".) In fact, when I talked to MIL on Saturday morning, before going to the store, she hadn't heard anything from SIL since she told SIL about her broken ankle on Wednesday evening. It was only after I called & said I'd be coming over, that she talked to SIL and all the sudden SIL was going to come over & do the cleaning, but Monday. *rolling eyes* Smacks of SIL being pissed at me about being "shown up", and trying to put me in my place over who's REALLY important to MIL. And it isn't me. *sigh* Whatever. DH said that if they want to be that way, I shouldn't bother even offering to help any more. He also understands precisely what his sister is doing, and rather suspects that come Monday night, MIL's housework still will not have been done except by MIL herself. I'm not going to offer to help again.

Let's see.... Thursday, I got woken at 8 by DD, complaining of a sore shoulder. She slept on it wrong. *rolling eyes* At 8:30, I got called by somebody at a 1-800 number who was asking for the hubby and refused to leave a message. By 9, Puck was nudging me in the back with his cold, wet nose, whining about how he needed to go outside. Ok, so much for sleeping any more. After watering the neighbour's yard & my flower-beds, DD and I headed in to Pioneer Park (formerly known as AlaskaLand, the closest thing my town has to a "theme park") for lunch & some girl-talk with a friend of mine from HS. I don't get to see my friends very often, so it was nice to just get to walk & talk with her. And DD behaved herself well (after a talk in the car about how often she sees her friends, but this is one of the rare times that I get to see mine, so she better mind her manners) and it was a nice day. It'd be nice to get to chat with A. without a child tagging along, though. We're hoping that when I've got that next week off at the end of July, we can get together for lunch & catch up without kids along. LOL (DD will be at hockey camp, and I'm taking the week off because it'll be a day-camp where I have to drop her off in the morning and pick her up mid-afternoon. That schedual wouldn't work well with my work-schedual, so it's just easiest to take the week off.)

Friday I spent the day bumming around the house, nothing much to do except water the yards & my flowers & crochet & watch movies. I finished that baby-afghan (no picture yet, it's not even washed yet), watched the last 3 episodes of StarGate:SG1 and "HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban". (SG:1 has now ended, as a running show, and I'm going to miss it greatly.)

Then Saturday, as I wrote above, was spent grocery shopping & running to the MIL's and visiting with Great-Grandma a bit (as I didn't wind up needing to clean MIL's house for her). I wound up, late last night, doing a draw from my Goddess Guidance Oracle cards, asking for wisdom & guidance in how to handle the anger & act toward MIL & SIL, and the guidance gained was to focus my energies on MY household, keep MY home a safe place from MIL & SIL, and let out my feelings in creative endeavors. Ok. I guess that also means I need to kind of "let it go" in regards to MIL's & SIL's attitude toward me. Harder said than done sometimes, but I'm trying. And evidently Thanksgiving will NOT be held here any longer, as I really, really don't want MIL & SIL fouling up the atmosphere of my home. (FIL kinda indicated that he thought Thanksgiving would be best held at his place from here on out, but I was still kinda hoping to keep holding it here, but as I really DON'T want SIL in my house ever again....)

Which brings us to today. I've gotta get headed out. I'm going to church with Dad, then over to his place for lunch. Then hopefully back here to veg the rest of the afternoon, do laundry, etc. I'm making a stir-fry for supper. Kinda my version of Mongolian beef, though it doesn't really turn out quite as good as does the Mongolian beef from our favorite oriental resteraunt. Ah well, it's a heck of a lot cheaper, though. *grin*

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th, Independence Day....

Just for a minute, I want to do some grumbling & ranting. First, a question.

What is July 4th truly about??? Does anybody remember???? Let me say it. It's a day to celebrate the signing of our constitution, to celebrate the Declaration of our Independence from England, and because of those two previous items, a day to recall our Bill of Rights as well. It is a day about INDEPENDENCE.

Let me tell you what it is NOT. It is NOT a day to see who can outspend whom on fireworks, on nifty do-dads, on bigger & better grill-outs. It is NOT a day to worry about entertaining one's whole neighbourhood by spending more money on bouncy-castles & carousels than one's monthly salary. It is NOT a day to be retitled "Independent Rental Day" because they (a local store) supposedly have the best deals in town on rental equipment (including said bouncy-room & carousel, as well as giant pig rotisieries, a dunk tank, and other things) and will let you rent these things for 2 days over the holiday instead of just one.

Another radio commercial I've been hearing for the last 2 weeks (I believe it's Freddy M's, though I may be wrong) entails one guy telling his next-door-neighbour what a loser he is because the neighbour is going to have a reading of our Declaration of Independence and not $500 worth of fireworks and another $100 of fancy grilled food, like the first guy. Supposedly our kids should be encouraged to be more excited about Fireworks than learning about their country's history. (Like that takes any encouragement. I don't know a single kid who voluntarily will choose a reading of the Dec. of Independence over a massive fireworks show. Which is why I'm more likely to encourage the education than the entertainment.) The first guy in the commercial is expounding on while his July 4th celebration is SOOOO much better than the second guy's because he's spent a small fortune on fancy trimmings.

I am soooooo sick of hearing & seeing all these ads that trying to co-opt these holidays for commercial reasons rather than to celebrate our freedom & our gratitude towards our ancestors & fore-parents. It's bad enough that we're encouraged to spend month's worth of salary on Christmas gifts, now we're being told that we're bad people if we expect our children to recognize today (or Memorial Day, or Labor Day) as something other than another reason to show off to one's neighbours. It's discusting. And most especially when we're currently at war. How much more unplugged from reality are we going to get???? I don't approve of this war, but at least I recognize that there are American soldiers dying today (and I'm sure that there will be, because there's been a death a day, almost, for the past few months), serving our country, fighting in a foreign land. Maybe I wish they were home with their families grilling-out, instead of fighting in Iraq, but at least I'm not making a mockery of their fight by pretending that today is all about showing up the neighbours and trying to outspend each other.

And so, as I dig out my copy of our Declaration of Independence to read to my daughter and refuse to spend money on a bouncy-tent & a dunk-tank, I'll be thinking of the men & women who founded our nation. I'll say a prayer that none of our soldiers die today, and I hope that I'm among a great many more in our nation who are discusted by the edicts of the stores that we should retitle the day in THEIR honor, instead of honoring those who came before us.

Have a Blessed July 4th. May it mean as much to you as it means to me!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Who's up for some leftovers????

So this was dinner last night. Doesn't look very fancy, but it was yummy!!!! Homemade Lasagna. DH's favorite meal. That's 12 lasagna noodles (I NEVER pre-cook them, they always turn out very nice anyway); about 12 oz chopped leaf spinach (thawed & excess moisture squeezed out, though I shouldn't have bothered with the squeezing); a full 32 oz of ricotta cheese; a full 16 oz mozzarella; a 1/3 of a cup of milk (told ya I shouldn't have drained the spinach!); a pound of ground beef; a jar of prego roasted garlic spaghetti sauce; almost 1 full onion, chopped; a can of diced tomatoes, juice & all; and some parmesan sprinkled on top. Turned out VERY yummy! And this was what was left of a 13x9x2 pan after the 3 of us had eatten. BEFORE I'd doled it out for DH's lunch-leftovers, and DD's lunch left-overs, and the extra that is leftover even after lunches today. I think there's still maybe a 1/4 of the lasagna left if anybody wants to come over for some leftovers. *grin* It's funny because I ALWAYS put spinach in my lasagna, and DH always asks "you put spinach in there again?!?!" and yet he always enjoys it anyway. I just tell him that this is how I avoid making an extra veggie dish to go along with the enourmous lasagna. LOL With enough onion, tomato & spinach in there, we don't need any other veggies along with it.

We finally got over to see Great Grandma last night. As usual, the DH wound up fixing something for her. She's not doing very well right now, though that's to be expected. Along with Alzheimers, she has some digestional issues. Right now she's dealing with what could be refered to as a stomach bug, but it's not likely actually caused by a bug. The MIL was over earlier in the day and stood over Grandma (MIL's mother, actually) and made sure she drank 2 complete bottles of Pedialyte drink. MIL always makes sure that Grandma has a couple of bottles in the house, for days when her body starts acting up. It's an easy way to keep Grandma from getting dehydrated. Unfortunately, it's easy to tell that Grandma probably won't be with us much longer. She looks more & more frail each time we see her. She's not quite 85 years old yet, but one would swear she's 90, from the looks of her. She was doing good until about 3 years ago. As I said, she's just been diagnosed with Alzheimers, and I suspect it's a bit further along than her crack-pot dr. thinks. Add to the fact that her dr's got her on a diet of all white & wheat foods, nothing that has any real nutrition, much less fiber or anything to try to get her digestional problems under control. He's one of these Dr's who loves to prescribe loads & loads of pills, always adjusting this dosage or that, but who's patients seem to always wind up with even more problems. *sigh* For Grandma's sake and for the sake of the rest of the family, I hope Grandma passes easily in her sleep before too much more time passes. Anyway......

So, I've got to go in tonight for 4 hours, been spending the day on the computer thus-far.

Don't have any plans for tomorrow.

Wednesday we may or may not be going over to the FIL's house for barbequing. Though if we do, I've insisted to DH that we take Puck with us. I don't want to come home this time & find that he's shredded more carpetting (as he did last 4th), wrecked any more windows (also did last 4th), shredded his paws (also last 4th), or run off. He's scared to death of fire-works, and I think we'd be better off keeping him with us if we go over to the inlaws for a while. Jenny is either smart enough to know that the fireworks aren't endangering her, or too stupid to register them. We can't tell which is the case, but either way, she's unbothered by them. For which I'm VERY grateful. So, she'll be staying here, if we do go over to the inlaws on Wednesday.

Thursday I'm going to meet up with an friend from HS and we're going to spend the afternoon at Pioneer Park (formerly known as AlaskaLand) having lunch & catching up. She's got a little boy who's just a month younger than DD, but he's going to be with his dad that day, so it'll be just us 3 girls hanging out.

Friday, DH has got an appointment for me to get my car in and have the air conditioner fixed. It's a '91 Buick Regal SE, and the air-conditioner has never worked in the 6 years we've owned it. Which wouldn't be a major problem, I suppose, but it makes for some INCREDIBLY warm drives to & from work in the summer. (And the heater has never worked properly either, which may or may not be connected to the problem with the air-conditioner.) So I spend summer days driving to & from work, roasting. And winter days driving to & from work, freezing. Makes so much sense, doesn't it??? Hopefully getting the air-conditioner (and heater?) fixed on Friday will mean that I can spend summer days driving to work, freezing, and winter days driving home, roasting. *grin*

Then, next weekend we'll get our walk-way in. We didn't get that done on Saturday because we spent all day long running from one side of town to the other and back again looking for some canvas car-ports for our vehicals. Everywhere that carried the good quality kind was sold out. One of the places, though, will get a big order of them in on Thursday and DH is going to go pick up 2. Anyway, after crossing town & back at least 3 times, by the time we got home it was too late for DH to pick up that load of granite for the walk-way. And besides, after talking to his dad they decided to do it a little differently. Instead of rototilling down 8 inches and putting 2 inches of sand & 2 inches of gravel before 4 inches of granite, they're going to hand-dig it out to 3 inches deep, put a layer of plastic down (puncture it for proper drainage, but the plastic will keep weeds from growing up through the granite), then pour the granite in on top of the plastic. So, probably Friday night we're going to be digging that out.

Saturday DH & FIL will go get the granite & fill in the walk-way, and also pick up the lumber for our back deck, which is going to be put off for yet another week. *wry smile* It's always something!

It's funny, even this week off looks like it's going to be rather busy, and I'm starting to think maybe I don't mind being somewhat busy, as long as I get a day to relax every now & again. I'm certainly looking forward to meeting my friend on Thursday for lunch & an afternoon out. And while I don't think I'll ENJOY sitting at the auto shop waiting on my car to be fixed, at least I know I'll enjoy it when it's done.

Ok. I think that'll do for now.

Have a Blessed Day!