Monday, April 30, 2007

A Three Hour Tour

The Shoreline of Lake Austin

In the midst of a sever thunderstorm advisory, my whole team packed up and caravanned down to Lake Austin for an off-site at Austin Party Cruises. I forgot to take my camera. So I had to stop of at the house on my way down to the boat, which meant that I almost missed the “three hour cruise.” (If you hear the harmonies in that phrase, you are dating yourself. And that’s illegal in most Southern states.)

We spent much of the cruise below decks because of the rain. But as you can see from the photo, the skies eventually cleared leaving the temps brisk and enjoyable.

I was most impressed by the number of rich people who live in Austin. The number of megabuck houses that line the lake is astounding. I had no idea there were that many lawyers and lobbyists. While beautiful, it seems to be a dreadful waste of resources. Just shows that the world never changes.

Of course, there was no news on the re-org. Today was a distraction from that.


Monday, April 23, 2007

The Song Remains the Same (at work anyway)

Treble Clef This reminds me of my time in the school band, except that these kids enjoy it.

Nothing to report today on the job front. All is rumor, dust, and waiting.

When I got home, I was asked to evaluate a bunch of applications for scholarships for band camp. Several of the 19 applications were obviously written by adults. Others were so lame the kids obviously wrote them without parental input. I gave those kids higher marks for attitude because they really want it. I didn’t give the kids taking private lessons any additional credit because their parents can afford to pay for the lessons. I wanted to help the kids who wanted it but had less opportunity than some of the more arrogant ones.

Reading the papers was a tad soporific but surprisingly fun.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunshine on My Shoulders

Buddy laying in the sun. Photo by Suna

Buddy looks so happy here laying among the flowers. He is really doing well, and all of the dogs seem to get along—at least, most of the time. They have their little dominance games to play, but I think Rose is winning that one. She masses more than anyone except Buddy, and she is more assertive. Buddy has always been fairly laid back. Rose still has her stripes to earn.

So Buddy likes taking it easy in the sunshine. The stairs seem to be doing his some good, now that he has mastered them. He is trimmer, although I think a little heavier. But they tell me—you know, them—that muscle weighs more than fat, so I am not worried about him. He plays hard. Then he rests.

Mostly, he keeps to himself except when he is enjoying the company of all the humans around here. He really likes the kids and many of their friends. When he barks at them, they sound almost bored when they say, “Shut up, Buddy. It’s just me.” They he goes, “So why aren’t you petting me?” And they respond, “Rose is cuter.”

Buddy is very much like me—easy to get along with but a little crotchety it his late-middle-age. Notice how skillfully I avoided saying, “old age?”

Monday, April 09, 2007

Zombies at ALE

Image Source: Blizzard

Last night I dreamed of work and zombies.

For some reason, ALE had moved into a huge office tower. The phones and network went dead. I think the power was out, but the lights were still on. Almost everybody had gone home, but a few others and I remained. I don’t know why.

I got the impression that those of us who remained were there for days, waiting for something to do, waiting for something to happen. We were just little larks, sitting on our perches and wondering when the food would run out. The elevators were not working, and we were afraid of the stairwells. There was a sense of doom, and we complained that none of us had any weapons. Occassionally, someone would venture down a stairwell, and there would be horrid noises, and they wouldn’t come back.

We just waited. No real violence. No real danger. Just apprehension and waiting. It was like Sean of the Dead without the action, adventure, or humor.

Just like at work the last two weeks.

I didn’t sleep much.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Beleeka Doodle Day

The title for this post comes from the last song on Al Stewart’s first album, Bedsitter Images. Image Source:

I have been up for hours already, but I can’t seem to get going. After a week of being shortslept, I overslept last night, and my body is refusing to get motivated to face a cold, gray day.

It’s almost noon, and the thermometer has crept up to hover around 40. The rain continues off-and-on but mainly drizzles. They sky is overcast, and the sunlight that filters through the clouds is sleepy. So am I.

The good news is that the plants all seem to have survived last night’s near freeze. By the time we got in and I found out how chilly it was going to be, I was already falling asleep. So they stayed outside though the coldest night of the spring. And I slept hard and long.

Despite the weather and my lethargy, I am content. I am smiling as I type this missive. I feel warm inside, happier than I have been in years.

There are still worries and concerns about the future. My job situation is still in flux. The only announcement about the pending re-org of my department said that there would be no announcement before next week. Our Fearless Leader cheerfully told us all to stay on our perches. So that is where I sit, hoping that the sound I hear is someone snoring and not the sound of someone sawing branches.

But even those concerns don’t bother me today. I should have drawn the Four of Swords today—everything feels so peaceful and drowsy—but I didn’t. I am content, and that is enough for today.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fin et Finis

Image Source: Saraphina Mosey

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to write and when. Sometimes I just have to let enough time pass before I can write at all. Sometimes I have to process things before I can share them. I can’t really use my writing to process my emotions; I must process them before I can write them.

So what brings about this thread?

Monday I was having a really nice day. Then X2B called me and said she was missing a piece of jewelry that had lain in the house for weeks. She asked me if I had it. I said I didn’t. She asked me if anyone I knew had it. I said no one I knew had it. She then asked me if Suna had it. I said no. She then said,“I would really hate to find out that she was wearing it.”

That was more than I could stand. It is one thing for her to dinegrate my ethics; attacking Suna’s is quite another. I slammed down the phone in an instinctive action before I remembered it was a cell phone. Of course, it locked up.

After I rebooted it, I called X2B back. I only had one sentence to say before I disconnected again. “After that last outburst, if you have anything else to ask me, ask my lawyer.” If I wanted to be insulted by her, I would have stayed married. I honestly don’t know if she confuses rudeness with power or if she simply has no idea how rude she can be.

Any way, that’s it. There will be no more communication on that front.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Interesting Game at Church

It is frightening how easy it is to fall into dangerous behaviors. Image Source: The Wasp Box

After church today (where Bob Keeshan was nominated to be Saint Kangeroo even though he hasn’t been dead the requisite five years yet) we played an interesting reality-based role playing game. We divided into four teams, each of which was to build a community within a large metropolitan area. My team, named for ice cream, was chocolate, and we were economically and socially oppressed. So, I took on the character of a scheming, self-serving politician who operates in the name of the oppressed.

It was interesting to watch everyone react to the demands of social unrest and not-so-passive aggression. In the end, my team got everything we demanded without having to pay for it. And my team mate and I were able to retire in the Bahamas.

This exercise teaches a scary lesson about the American political reality, a lesson I did not point out in the game. I am sure my fellow players would have denied it even though complicitous.