Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Quiet Fall

My apologies upfront; there have not been many updates to this particular blog. But the fall was somewhat uneventful.

At the end of September, Iwas officially given a layoff notice in my department. Due to budget cuts (our grant was cut by nearly half) my position was terminated. After two months of submitting multiple resumes and having several interviews, nothing panned out. My last day was November 30th in Peds Endocrinology.

I was given a severance package, which came out to about a month's worth of work and vacation. "Great," I thought, "I would take two weeks to get my stuff together, enjoy a quiet holiday and start up again the beginning of the year!" I had many ideas for my leisure time; catching up on reading (my department pooled money together and got me $150 for Barnes and Noble), plan for Christmas, get gifts, etc. I was looking forward to this break.

But, like always, life decided to throw a curve ball.

I was let go on Monday. Three days later on Thursday I got an email from the University's temp agency, saying they were desperate to find someone to be a Coordinator (which is the position ex-Colleague left held, slighty higher than my previous position) and asked if I was interested. I agreed and said I could come in for an interview on Monday. Friday morning, I got a call from this same temp person.

The bad news: They did not want to interview me on Monday.

The good news: They wanted to START me on Monday.

Apparently, I was given great reviews from my former direct supervisor and my boss (the doctor-guy) and they did not see any reason for me to go through the rest of the process.

As this is considered a "temp" job, I did not have to give back my severance. The downside is I do not get benefits, but they may consider keeping me on long-term.

So far, this new job is interesting. Instead of Diabetes Kids, I work with Cancer Kids. That has been an adjustment, since it's unfamiliar territory for yours truly. But so far I have enjoyed it. I am recruiting for a study (just like I did with the Diabetes Kids) and so far, all has been pretty smooth.

Well, sort of.

One of the downers of being a temp: I don't have a desk. Or an office. Or a computer. I am sitting in our conference room, using a temporary laptop, because this department is going to be moving offices after the winter closure (my job closes for two weeks during the holidays; yup, just like when you were in school). When they need the conference room they throw me on top of whomever's not here at the time's desk.

Then there's my "trainer". Very nice, but extremely scattered. On one hand I will be told that I need to do X, Y, and Z, and then, those assignments are passed off onto someone else. Go figure.

Well, enough yammering. Back to the grindstone. Will likely get more detailed later.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and the Shaky

It feels like forever since I've updated my blog, so I thought tonight, with some downtime, I would go ahead and throw something out there.

First the good: It appears that I will be nomadic no more. Finally, after hearing nonsense from banks, we may have a home. It's quite a bit larger than we either need or expected, but we are happy. Also, we have put in offers on several others that may be promising, so we will hopefully soo have to make a choice.

Then the bad, and there's quite a bit: Because of budget cuts, I am losing my job. I have put in several applications, and there are a few promising leads. I actually almost see this as a good: Coworkers Left and Right are beginning to drive me nuts with double-talk and two-faced-ness. Is that a word? It is now! It has gotten to the point that I cannot take time for myself unless I am experiencing a disaster (more on that in a minute), but that everyone else is free to come and go as they please. As soon as something comes along, I will likely up and quit; no notice, no "party", nothing.

The other part of the bad is school. I have dropped 2 of the courses I was taking due to too much work and home issues. Between the moving, the future moving, and the job hunting, I only kept what I had to to continue this semester, and will have to take the rest of the classes either next spring (to graduate in a year) or split them and finish in the summer (which will cost more). Decisions to make, but haven't decided yet.

Now the shaky: I have been having migraines for the past week. For those who know me, I am not normally a huge migraine sufferer (Maybe 2-4 a year). When I do get them, they are mild enough that I can take some Tylenol with a can of Coke and take a nap and I should be good. But this last week they have been perpetual. The cause is many factors: eye strain, blinding office lights, and overall work stress seem to be the key players.

On Friday I opted to go to the doctor's office and she gave me two pills; one to take daily to prevent, and one to take when they hit. I took the preventive one last night, the smallest dosage of the weakest pill imaginable (It was 10 mg; few things are that small).

Most who know me know I am a lightweight when it comes to medication, and this was no exception. I fell asleep after taking the pill and about an hour later, I woke myself and Hubs up with tremors. It was like I was shivering all over, but I wasn't cold. I thought it was a panic attack, but I wasn't panicky until AFTER the tremors started and I couldn't stop them. It was a long batch of tremors, at least 15-20 minutes, and I eventually settled down enough to sleep, but in the morning I was completely sore from the chin down and had some difficulty breathing. I went to my doctor who promptly flushed my pills (and my $10 copay) down the toilet and said to not worry about taking any preventive migraine medicine.

On the plus side, I woke up without a headache for a change, but the tremors were just too much to continue with the meds.

So that's a brief update with me. I should be putting up more later, but I wanted to put up something briefly just to prove that, yes, I am alive.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saving Madeline

I am a huge reader. Take one look in my apartment and you can tell there's a definite book worm lurking. I read whatever I can get my hands on, and read 5+ books at a time. I also go through periods, where I favor one genre over another.

Currently, I am back in my LDS book phase, and I was hitting a bit of a wall. I didn't want to read anything doctrinal; I was looking for something to read that was nonfiction to entertain my brain as I commute to work. A major problem/flaw with LDS fiction, however, is that a lot of the stories all follow the same pattern. Cute people meet up, date, and fall in love and get married. If we're lucky, there is a twist in the plot; the man in the story is a commitment-phobe. The girl is too scattered to realize her feelings. All nice and light and, to some degree, entertaining, but I was really craving something out of the norm.

I was very fortunate to get a chance at a sneak peek of one writer's latest work. Rachel Ann Nunes is one of the most prolific LDS fiction writers of our time (Well, my time, anyway, as a member of just under 7 years anyway!) and I jumped at the chance to read her manuscript. I admit it; initially, when I got more active in the church and found that she often wrote what can be considered "LDS chick lit" I expected the same formula and was hesitant to read her books, having been very anti-anything-girly at the time. However, I was given several of her books as gifts, notably The Independence Club and the four books in the Huntington Family series, and actually found myself enjoying them, enough so that I saw the opportunity to read Saving Madeline as something I would love to do.

And I am glad I did.

Although a work of fiction, the premise of the book could have come out of any newspaper across the country (and, having read about the author's inspiration, it appears it has done just that). A divorced man is arrested for kidnapping his own daughter, the four-year old title character, Madeline. After he is caught, he explains to the police, the district attorney, and his lawyer, that he had to take his daughter as his ex-wife was heavily into the drug scene, to the point where the father had reported seeing drugs in plain sight during his visits. Throughout the book, you read about this father's love for his child and his attempts to save her from falling victim to her mother's devices.

One of the great things about this book is that it can be read by so many people from different walks of life. A lot of LDS fiction does tend to rely on knowing Mormon culture, but this book is not like that. It is the kind of book I can give to anyone and they would enjoy it.

Also, Mrs. Nunes is a wonderful author, and her storytelling skills are excellent. Throughout the story, I felt the perspectives of the main characters; Parker, the father rescuing his daughter; as well as Caitlin, his public defender, who is struggling with her feelings about defending a guilty man and wanting to believe that Parker's motives were genuinely sincere.

There were many subplots as well, such as Caitlin's actions that cost her client his freedom, and the interactions between Caitlin, two of her colleagues, and those with Parker. At the end of the novel, it feels as though there were no strings left dangling, and, despite the genre of the novel, the bittersweet ending tied all the loose ends together. Oftentimes we can feel cheated that we didn't know what happened to this character or that person, but such is not the case for this story.

In a way, I have my own sad ending with this book. I enjoyed it thoroughly to the point where a part of me wished it didn't end and kept going, but like all good books should do, it entertained me and left me in anticipation for more.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The long summer

Hello to all!

I apologize for the lack of posting. As does so often, life gets to me.

It's been a busy summer to say the least. There is so much travel required with The Job, and it's either too long at a place I don't want to be in (IE Fresno in 115+ degree heat) or a place I like for two short of a time (Sequoia National for an afternoon). But camps have wound down, I am actually getting two days of work off in a row instead of scattered, and life is somewhat returning to normalcy.

So, in the news for us: A house, potentially. After much looking, praying, looking some more, yelling, and a whole lot of paperwork, we have discovered a place that met our newest set of requirements. We've had to change things around a bit. Originally, our wants were:

1) At least three bedrooms
2) A yard big enough for The Dog (and, likely, a second The Dog to entertain The Dog original)
3) A nicer, quiet neighborhood

Now we were just asking for

1) Walls that aren't termite infested
2) Bathtubs that are actually attached to the wall like they should be instead of under the sink (MAN I wish I had a photo of that one!)
3) A house that does not have carpeting/paint/wallpaper/decor that is older than I am (I'll be 29 this winter, folks!)
4) A house that does not look like the set of a 1970's pornographic movie (LONG story, but yeah, it was bad)
5) A yard that does not have grass that I have to jump to see the tops of

There are some others that were interesting, but I will have to save those for another day.

I hate mentioning getting a house because, everytime I start to talk about it, we lose it. BUT it looks like, so far, this one sticks. We just have to wait for the bank to finalize their ends of it and we can start closing.

It's not a bad house at all. It's five bedrooms, three baths, just under 2900 square feet and a 6500 sq. ft. lot. The kitchen is decent sized, the living room and family room are the biggest, and the bedrooms are on the smaller side, which I don't mind at all. The master bathroom is quite large, and there are his and hers walk-in closets that are just the right size (If they're too big, I start to use them as storage units!).

There are a few downers. The family did have children/teenagers that wrote or punched a few holes in the walls, so that will obviously need to be repaired. The carpets are also in need of repair, and the whole house could use some caulking and paint. The yard will also need some lawn, especially the back, but there is plenty of shade, 6 different fruit trees, and someone already built a kennel for three dogs and a little outdoor Jacuzzi house. We might keep the tub room; the kennel has to go because there is no way The Dog will be confined there. We've also got to replace the AC unit for the chinchilla herd, since they have to be in temperature-controlled rooms.

The biggest difficulty will be Dog and his run. The side of the house is fairly large, so we can easily put in the dog run, giving him access to the garage whenever he chooses. The only problem is that our previous owners, in addition to having three dogs (likely pits, mind you) have a litter of kittens in the garage, and three emaciated strays in the front yard. The outside cats were so skinny, you could see the skin hanging off of the mother cat and see the indentations of her hip and leg bones. I had just purchased a chicken strip lunch but didn't get around to eating it the last time we visited the home, and so I tore up the pieces (5 rather large ones) and left them for the outdoor kitties to eat. The outdoor kittens were approx. 4-6 months old, and I would say the ones inside were about a month. They were smaller than most of my chinchillas, with the exception of the Pooper, who can still be held in one hand.

Sadly, we cannot keep these adorable cats for fear that they would eat the Birds, the Fish, the Chinchilla Herd or be loved to death by The Dog (Think Lenny from Of Mice and Men and you'll get the picture).

I am genuinely hoping that the occupants just haven't returned to pick up the kitties. Otherwise, we may have some temporary squatters in our home. This would be okay for now, since we would need time to touch up the yard and put in the run for The Dog. But I do not want to leave Dog forever, or cause too much of a delay in acquiring Dog 2.

This should be an exciting move. I still find leaving very hard. I cried everytime I've moved, except for the last move from out of my Parental Unit's home to our apartment. I blame the upset on having grown up and lived in the same house until I moved to college. For those who are curious, I made my first move January 2004 to Colorado, then in November of 2004 I got married and moved into married housing. December 2005/January 2006 (It was New Year's Weekend) we moved back to my Parental's home, and in July 2007 we moved to our current apartment, our first "home" in our entire 4 year marriage. Hopefully I can get a lot of pictures of the place before we pack up for good.

Well, that is enough rambling for now. Eye strain from the computer is very much getting to me. Until next time, peoples.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

An Ideal Child

Being a part of such a child-centered universe can be hard. Sometimes, I admit, any desire to have a child comes from the fact that "everyone's doing it". It's the most painful peer pressure (quite literally, when you consider labor) but it is so rampant it's not even funny.

Anyway, we had a good "talk" the other day and I came to a realization. Seeing all the nonsense my friends have gone through and are going through, I am really hesitant to join in on the Baby Bump Club. The nausea, infections, disease, pains, etc just don't make the BBC that great. Would I love a child, though? Probably, because I have always wanted kids. I just don't think that A) We are close to ready for them, and B) I don't necessarily have to give birth to them all.

When we first got married, we thought we would have 4-5 children. Now that I think about it, that still seems to be an okay number, but some would be adopted. I'd want to actually try pregnancy once, maybe twice if it isn't as horrible as I suspect :-).

Then this weekend kind of changed my mind about the whole thing.

It seems that, everywhere I go, there are children that are truly not trained to be behaved in the least. Throwing tantrums, hitting parents, constant whining... really, parents? If you want to have a child, do everyone a service and, if they don't behave, don't take them out. What kills me the most are the parents that take their toddlers out at 10:30-11 at night. That's just asking for trouble. Don't get me wrong; I understand he emergency sometimes requires taking them out, but you should at least accommodate for the fact that they will likely be fussy, crabby, etc.

But enough on that.

This last month there have been 6 celebrity deaths. Hands down, the strangest being Michael Jackson, David Carradine and Billy Mays. Although Carradine's is the most bizarre (so far), MJs seems to cause the most controversy. I personally know a lot of people deeply affected by this. In fact, Coworker Right was going to be in London during his tour and wanted to try to get into a show, and was devastated upon discovering his death. However there are those that think of his death as simply good riddance to bad rubbish. This is horrible, especially when you consider that it often comes from "Christians". Perhaps he made mistakes, and put himself in ridiculous situations. Yes he was tried on charges of harming children, but he was acquitted. But there were some good things about this man. He donated to more causes than any other celebrity (he currently holds the world record). He is, by far, one of the most talented and unique music artists, and an inspiration to millions. Most importantly, he is a child of God who loves him as he loves all of us, and only He can judge us. We are just supposed to love each other.

On that note, I think I vented enough for tonight, especially considering I have to go to bed soon so that I can go to work in the morning. It should be a shortened week; we have Thursday and Friday off for the holiday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

News of the World

Well, sort of... the news of MY world, anyway.

So it's another interesting day in my office. As I speak, maintenance is drilling a filing cabinet into our wall (hard to describe it any other way). I am by myself and have been for about an hour now.

Lots going on in my little world. My chinchilla is pregnant again. A lot of people ask me why I keep letting them get pregnant, but I assure you, it was an accident. She was with a boy cagemate because we were sure she was sterile, and then, when I came home from my birthday party, we had a baby! Since Solo Baby was already dry, she was at least 6 or 7 hours old, enough time for Daddy to try again (and, it looks like, succeeding). The one downer is that these babies, if they do not come out in the next week, will be born while we are in Las Vegas.

We actually have a long list of plans for this month. This weekend is Mother's Day, which will be with my mom on Saturday, and hub's family on Sunday. Then I have a few days of work, followed by Vegas. The tentative plan is to see Angels and Demons either at midnight on Thursday or really early Friday morning, then leaving for Vegas Friday mid-day-ish. Saturday is the event I have to attend (A Diabetes day camp) and then we will be driving home sometime Sunday. I will have work that week, and then Friday is a mandatory day off due to budget cuts, so we chose that as the start of my vacation. From Friday, May 22nd until June 1st I will be AWOL from the office. We haven't figured out what we'll be doing because hubby STILL hasn't been approved for the vacation (gotta love that boss, really). We originally planned on DC for the first week, and UT for the weekend, but it doesn't look feasible with Hub not getting his request approved yet. So we'll have to see.

On top of all this, I have classes starting on Monday. Wish me luck; it's been over a year since I've had to do "school work". I've done the full-time-school-plus-full-time-work thing, but it wasn't easy. On the plus side, the courses are all online (the previous attempt involved the in-person classes) so I should, in theory, be able to accomplish this.

Well, I am off to go back to work. Coworker Left showed up, and with the makeup and perfume, smells like a crayon. GAG

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

People and procreation

Don't worry; this isn't as vulgar as it sounds. Just something that popped into my head and I decided to rant on it.

Recently I read that Octomom AKA Nadya Suleman was in talks for a reality show. For those of you who don't know, she had given birth to octuplets earlier this year, which would normally be newsworthy in a good way. However, it soon came out that Nadya already had 6 other children, lives on welfare and disability, and does not even have a job to provide for herself, much less the 14 children she has had.

I read the comments that were posted with said article from readers, and people commented on this woman's life, saying she was just a glory hog. They then began to compare her to other reality show large families, such as the Duggars of 18 kids and counting, the Gosselins from Jon and Kate plus 8, and more recently the Hayes family from Table for 12. Essentially, these people were commenting that these four families (and others like them with multiples) should not be given the chance to have other children, and definitely shouldn't be given television shows to parade their kids like a freak show at a circus.

I couldn't just sit back, so I posted. A summary of my thoughts is as follows:

I do not see why there is any comparison between the families shown on TLC (the aforementioned Gosselins, Hayes, and Duggars) to the actions of this woman if but for one reason: These families actually WORK for a living and attempt to provide for their children themselves. Prior to their pregnancies, the men had stable jobs (and, in the Gosselin's case, so did the wife) and were able to foot the bill, or at least attempt it in their pregnancies. And in all three families, they are still bringing in money aside from endorsements and their television shows.

This then made me think of my own environment. Being LDS, there is a big push for family, and many cannot understand why I do not have children yet. There are a variety of reasons, differing at each point in our marriage, but there was one big constant throughout the last four years: it wasn't possible. I don't mean necessarily that we couldn't because of a medical condition. I mean that we did not have the necessary stability to have a child. In my mind I had a few requirements before I would ever consider bringing a child into this world. We needed stability, in terms of having a stable job and in a situation where we wouldn't have the need to constantly move. I would like to have insurance to cover the necessary medical costs, not only because it would help with the bills, but that would "prove" that we had job stability.

A lot of people don't understand why I would do this. Go forth and procreate; God will find a way. And I have to ask why those without these things WOULD still have baby after baby. I am not one to say "Oh, you shouldn't have kids unless you have all of these things like I do". But I do wonder why some people do it; they have children and move in with their parents who will pay their bills and rent and everything else while they go off and have fun. I don't understand why a couple would try for a baby without having a job or a place to live. I don't understand how another couple with a lot of financial and emotional stress already on their plate would keep trying for more children.

Again, I'm not saying people in this spot SHOULDN'T have children, but if you're in a bad place, why would you consciously try to bring a child into the world in this condition? I love children just as much as anyone else, but really, people, I think that if you cannot afford to keep yourself ok and safe, then why bring in these innocent souls to be squatters and bums?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Making the rounds of updates

I've lost track: HOW LONG has it been since I've updated things?

I'd check, but I'm too lazy.

Right now I'm at work. It's just me this morning (Coworker right has a dentist appointment and won't be in until noon-ish; coworker left is just lazy and won't show until sometime after 10:30 most likely). Currently, I'm waiting on a visit for what is now considered MY study, who should be here any minute.

After my team went to Vegas... again... without me... it was decided that I would be in charge of the Natural History portion of our department. That entails screening of family members, processing samples (yes, of blood) and reading off results and notifying any families if they are indeed positive. Positive results mean that the person has the antibodies associated with developing Type 1 Diabetes, putting them at an increased risk of developing it. There are a few options at this point: depending on what antibodies they are positive for, they can either go for one of our two prevention studies (the newest isn't completely up yet) or stay in Natural History, where we do blood tests twice a year to follow up and see if they did indeed develop Type 1.

It is a lot of work, since there are more NH patients than we have of our other 5 studies combined. Plus there's the screening, which is several thousand a year from us and our affiliates... so yah, you get the idea. It's a lot of work.

I've been getting a bit of grief from Coworker Left in regards to this. Since I have been here, Coworker Right (my actual supervisor) has been wanting me to take over NH, making things more streamline, but Coworker Left (who THINKS she's my boss) keeps insisting on doing things her way, which was how things were done before. From what it seems like, it wasn't very successful. For example, by my count, our numbers for clinic last year were approximately 150 screenings the entire year, and I have almost caught up to that... in less than three months. I have also been given a hard time about how I delegate my time (IE You shouldn't go here that day, or you should stay in the office, or you have to do a half-day here and there). I approached Coworker Right about this yesterday, as well as other concerns, and I think it's finally dawning on her that Coworker Left isn't forthright with her own doings.

But enough complaining.

It looks like I will be at one of the Vegas events in May. Originally, Coworker Left took it upon herself to schedule all of our events. Anything that required staying in a nice hotel or a plane ride, she got. Anything that was a day trip was mine. I asked Right to go over this, and she helped stand up for me and let me go to one of the Vegas trips (as Left has gone twice this year, and plans on going again next month... there were three other Vegas events and she planned on attending them all).

So May will likely be another good travel month. After our Vegas trip, hubby and I would like to go to the east coast. I was not given the go-ahead to go to Washington DC with the rest of my team, so I want to go out before it gets too warm. Plus, hubby has a reunion in UT at the end of May, so the way I envision it, we will go to Vegas the weekend of the 16th, leave for DC the 20th, stay a week, fly to Salt Lake maybe on the 28th or 29th, and return home the 31st. At least, that's what I'd like to do.

Well, time to actually put forth effort at work.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Another one bites the dust

So, it's official... I'm slowly creeping towards the big 3-0! I've never noticed as much gray in my hair, never counted how many opportunities I should've jumped on.

Overall it was a party and a half, and I wouldn't have changed a moment of it.

Thursday was lunch with the hubby. I got off work early and went to a cafe by the office. Really nice and quick, with time for me to just come home afterwards and take a much-needed nap. I swear I've been running around a lot, but I'm not sure doing what sometimes.

Friday was a pre-party dinner. Again, in Palo Alto. Again in a place that required cloth as opposed to paper (or, in our case, WalMart bargain bin) table cloths. The napkins were cloth as well, and not dispensed from some clown's mouth. It was nice to be civilized (at least, pretend to be) and split a fancy-pants dessert with my husband. Honestly, how many desserts have rock sea salt and chocolate bacon brittle???

And, yes, I thought it was gross too, but Hubby enjoyed it immensely.

It was during this time that Hubby asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said another chinchilla. I have 11 that range in age from 4 weeks to 6 years, not all by choice, but all loved nonetheless. He said I was nuts to want an even dozen and would have no hand in giving me #12.

Saturday was the big day and (thankfully) more casual. The morning consisted of going to the gun range with Hubby, Only Brother and a cousin (My mom's actual cousin, so a cousin once removed I guess? I've never figured how that works). Yours truly was an excellent shot, although I kept shooting low on the target, so depending on your perspective, I either had a head shot to Verne Troyer (MiniMe) or I caused a potential target to bleed out internally. Either way, pretty cool.

This little expedition only took about an hour and a half, and by noon I was on the couch at Mom's watching Family Guy with Hubby and Only Brother. After I woke up, the whole family went to dinner: Mom, Dad, Oldest Sister, Older Sister with her Hub and Three, Only Brother with Only Boy, and Hubby. And this other place was classy; very redneck and, despite FDA warnings, peanuts on every table and shells covering every inch of the floor!

We went for cupcake cake for dinner at my Parent's house afterwards, and so by 7:30 we were done. Not one to just bum around, I took my birthday money and hit The Bookstore. Before I did, though, I had to take Oldest Niece over to meet the baby chinchillas. While there, I happened to glance into another cage and noticed a small speck of blood. Hubby said not to worry; they fought the other day and it was probably nothing. So I shrugged it off.

After books and dropping off Niece, I came home to feed my animals, only to hear the baby chinchilla cheep... except it wasn't coming from the baby chinchilla cage. It came from the cage with the blood. Sure enough, Chinchilla 12 had made her debut sometime during the day. She currently resides with mom in the Maternity Ward (a cage set up special for newborns) with Dad next to them.

Yesterday was the SuperBowl and, rather than go party, we had our own party. Mom, Oldest Sister, Oldest Niece, Hubby and I cheered and yelled the whole time and likely scared some of our neighbors in the process, but oh well. It was good; the game, the snacks (I made my own version of buffalo chicken wings using from-scratch BBQ and drumsticks).

And now, I sit at my desk. Coworker Left is gone today at one of the clinics from the previous blog. Coworker Right was here today, but both coworkers will be departing to Sin City tomorrow and won't return until Thursday. So I am alone in my office, blogging and playing on the computer. I have enough to do so that, if I finish it all, it LOOKS like I did a lot, but in all honesty, won't take me more than a half day to do.

Well, back to "work".

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Things

Yes, I know, this is something on Facebook that I received also, but I thought I would post this out here for the Cyber World as well!

1.) As much as I dream of travel, the farthest east I have gotten is Dallas, TX, and I've only been out of the country once, and that was to Tijuana (aka South San Diego).
2.) I am only one of two family members to have completed a 4-year college degree (and the only one ever to have gone to grad school)
3.) I have one of the weirdest pet peeves: warm seats. Doesn't matter what kind of seat, but it always grosses me out like no other!
4.) I often wonder if my birth certificate is a mistake and I am really younger than I am. I sure feel like it.
5.) I've only had three relationships. I was engaged twice. Married once (so far. HA!)
6.) Up until high school, for a variety of reasons, I would usually miss out on 30 days of school. Yet I had a 4.0.
7.) I have started to (or declared) the following majors in college: History, Sociology, Pre-law, Criminal Justice, Child and Adolescent Development, Psychology, Early Childhood Education, Speech Pathology and Human Development and Family Studies (what I eventually got my degree in). In all I've attended 4 universities and 2 junior colleges, not counting the correspondence course I took from BYU and the stint in the Air Force ROTC at UC Berkeley.
8.) Most of my favorite things fluctuate with whatever I happen to have on my mind at the time, but the few that stay the same are "Pizza", "Winter", "Gun Powder", "Tombstone", and "Chaplin".
9.) I do have a love for science and biology, however have never done well in a course in college.
10.) I always joke that I am the love child of my mom and the mailman because I stand out from my family so much: I'm the only one without glasses, the only one without a need for braces, and the only one obsessed with history and literature. This is on both sides of the family, including nieces and nephews.
11.) I learned to play the piano at age 3, and can play both the piano and clarinet by ear. In fact when we were in Colorado, I memorized 10 hymns in an hour on the clarinet. But I can't read sheet music to save my life.
12.) The menagerie I currently own is not the first time I've had so many animals. In junior high, my backyard became the haven for unwed single mother cats. We had 7 kittens in our yard, plus the mothers.
13.) When I leave for work, I do what I call the "changing of the guard". I cover my chinchillas and uncover everyone else. As I do so, I'll sing "Good Morning" to them. I'll even say goodbye to each one of them by name, but that's usually when I'm stalling.
14.) When I applied to Stanford for work, I was told that it would take 25-30 applications to get an interview, and at least 40 before I would be offered a job. I applied to one position, my current one, and got it.
15.) My best subjects in school were math and music. My favorites, however, are psychology and history.
16.) I've never experienced the death of a close friend or family member.
17.) My mom used to tell me that God gave me the weather I wanted for my birthday, because it was always sunny. When I decided to move to Colorado, I prayed for snow. My first snowfall was on my birthday.
18.) Before moving to Colorado, I have never lived in another house aside from the one I grew up in. That's almost 23 years of the same roof.
19.) I think that, if finances and life permits, I would love a large family. I don't necessarily want to give birth to them all, though.
20.) I recently entered my books on a reading list website. So far, it totals about 850 books. That's not counting church books, cooking books, text books, or all the stuff still at my parent's place.
21.) If I could go anywhere internationally, it would be Paris to see the Louvre. In the states, either DC or the OK Corral.
22.) The number 17 has always been lucky to me. I moved to Colorado on the 17th. I graduated on the 17th. Got married on the 17th. Didn't have a sweet 16, but a 17th birthday party. I'm sure there's other stuff, but you get the picture.
23.) Every one of my animals that I currently have were named after a character either from a movie or a book. Chris is the exeption, and he was almost Grissom.
24.) A lot of my email addresses are JMBPerry. Everyone assumes the B is for my maiden name. It's actually for what my parents almost named me.
25.) I had several other possible careers when I was younger. At one point I wanted to be a criminal profiler. I was offered an internship for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in their bomb squad, and because I scored a 97 on the ASVAB for the military, it was suggested that I go into Military Intelligence.

Monday, January 26, 2009

She works hard for the money.... Eeh-ehh, eeh-eeh.

So, here I am, once again gracing the clinic with my presence, offering up to leech anyone of 10 mls of blood to see if they have a chance of developing the same disease their family member has (Type 1 Diabetes).

There are two clinics in the area, clinic A and clinic B. Clinic A was visited once a month by my Coworker Left, and I covered Clinic B. However, because of the low numbers, it was decided by the doctors that we visit BOTH clinics EVERY week, and rather than have us come down here a lot, we only come Mondays and need to watch both of the clinics, easy a 15-minute drive from each other (albeit both on the same major street).

Most of the problem is with Clinic A. The physicians and staff there don't really care about recruiting so much, and in the past year (all of 2008) they have only had 3 people screened (to put in perspective: This month at our university's clinic I had 9 screened two weeks ago, and 5 last week. And these are just Wednesday afternoons, not all-day things). It makes me sad that these people want the prestige associated with this university but do not want to put forth the effort to help make it better through research.

Today I've had a few screenings already and should have some more this afternoon (two that I know of for sure anyway). As weird as this sounds, I have a fascination with blood. There's a lot of reasons for this. Holding that tube is like holding life. After all, blood is in living things, and is essential to them. There is also the idea that, when it comes down to it, we are all made up of this same stuff, so in a sense we are all the same, but that something so small makes us unique. And our uniqueness is in this warm liquid that flows through us.

OK... enough of the romanticism about blood. I feel enough like a vampire as it is. On to other stuff.

Today during lunch I went through the two bookstores; BN and the church bookstore. My one positive to covering both clinics is that, smack in between is a BN and an LDS bookstore. I hadn't set foot in a BN since before Christmas, and the last time I was at the LDS bookstore would have to be the same, but I haven't bought anything there since last October's conference. I made up for it though. I bought 6 books there, plus magazines and a framed art piece at BN that was regularly $35 but with discounts and sales it was only $7.50. It's really beautiful; a comet shooting across the sky over Stonehenge. Very cool indeed.

I had to be really selective about what books I read now. Since I'm trying to work out more, I'm bringing stuff "to do" during the workouts. I usually do the bikes and the treadmill, and have to keep my mind occupied so I don't feel so much like I'm "working out" but just enjoying myself. I've found myself bringing four things with me: my Tazmanian Devil key with the chip to unlock the gym; a book, my iPod ear buds because they have TVs attached to each piece of equipment (except for weights, of course) and a bottle of water. I do look odd in there, with ear bugs on attached to a television that I listen to, but don't really watch because I am too busy reading what's going on to Stephanie Plum, and yet I can tell you who she's hunting as well as what Paula Deen prepared on her show.

I've only been working out for a few weeks now, and although I don't have a scale to track my progress per se, I am noticing a difference. I do tend to eat less, and I feel lighter in general. I've also learned a few things, the most important being not to watch Food Network while you're working out, and to learn to stretch more to increase flexibility.

Well, enough yammering on my part. Time to start working and writing!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yes, Virginia, Chivarly ISN'T Dead!

I had an interesting encounter on the bus yesterday. Being my lazy self (that's what happens when I only get one day off in a week) I jumped on the absolutely last bus I could without having to drive to work. Needless to say, there were 20 people ahead of me in line already, and the bus looked already to capacity with other folks who couldn't shake off the humpday sleep and opted to come to work late. Wearily I ascended the stairs of the bus only to, surely enough, get stuck standing smack-dab in the middle of the bus.

As I sighed and began to load my purse and backpack into the overhead cargo, a man (probably 45-ish) stood up from his chair and insisted I take his seat! I wasn't sure if I should be shocked by this generosity, or appalled that he likely thought I was pregnant and need to seriously lose some weight! Either way, I was moved.

It reminded me of my dating days. Growing up ultra-lib, I never expected men to hold doors for me (to buildings or to cars) or any of the other subtleties of chivalry. You can ask my husband about racing him to the car so he couldn't open the door. And it wasn't just me that had this problem: I lost count of how many girls have raced my husband or any male to the car door so they don't open it.

It gave me inspiration, and an idea of sorts: What about a dating book, not on how to get a date, but how to ACT on the date? What are the do's and don'ts that I can pass on from my own insane dating experiences?

So that is the new project of mine: To write like no other. At least this time it's not fiction (which, btw, is still in the works).