Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Isaac Walks

Sorry you have to tilt your head. I'm still learning.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Email and more email

I read this article in the New York Times and it made me wonder how my emails are perceived. According to the article, a majority of positive email is read as neutral and a majority of neutral email is read as negative. Explains all those smiley faces and other emoticons that show up in email. I tend to use email probably more than I should with the excuse that I'd probably be bothering someone if I were to actually use the phone or stop by for a chat. My other excuse for email being that I'm not sure when I'd have time for anything other than email. On the other hand, as the article mentions, email can be very effective when the two parties have actually met face-to-face even just once. Considering how very infrequently I email someone I've not met (usually catalog orders and customer service has to respond positively no matter how my email is perceived) there's some hope that most of my email is read as either positive :-) or neutral. :-|

A bit about books....

I just finished Freakonomics and highly recommend it for anyone wanting a twist on what otherwise appears as obvious (it's not). Covering, among many other topics, crime, parenting, and grade-school achievement testing, I can't say anything more (pro or con) than what's already been said about the book so I won't try. Results from an internet search will soon give you more than enough background. It's non-fiction and I finished it within one three-week check-out from the library - not something I can say for most of what I read which means it's not only a quick read, but fascinating as well.

My friend Bruce recommended a cooking book, Home Cooking, and even thought it was published in 1988, it's still a fun book and the "Extremely Easy Old-Fashioned Beef Stew" recipe is quite delicious and it is really easy. The sequel, More Home Cooking, is on my list of books to read.

I'm also in the middle of Grassroots Gardening which Rhonna discovered for me. It's the newest book in a long list by author Donna Schaper. A quick tour of her website offers plenty of material for contemplation.

Currently fifth in line at the library for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle so when my turn comes again I'll finish it - hopefully in my allotted three weeks this time!

If you're interested in another book along the same line as Buy, Buy Baby, look for the book Consuming Kids. Usually I link to the book, but I just discovered this website - which appears to be an outgrowth of the book.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sleepy Boys

This is what I came home to last night. Happy, snuggly goodness.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Environmental Etiquette

Today a nationally prominent environmentalist was in my library at a meeting. I was starstruck. I couldn't wait to go home and tell Kirk. That was, until the incident with the lights. I noticed that the lights were off in our Business Room which is used quite regularly. I went back and turned them on. He came out of the nearby meeting room and complained that no one had been in that room during his entire meeting and there was no reason for them to be on. I explained that when lights are off in a room, it looks like it is not available for public use. It isn't welcoming. He didn't let it go. He continued to argue with my co-worker who continued in the same line of reasoning. I walked away. I was angry. I biked to work in the rain today, so I wasn't really in the mood for criticism about the environment. I really believe that we should all do what we can to reduce the carbon emissions. I also really think that we should treat our library patrons as guests and make them feel as welcome as possible. I also think that, perhaps, he could have approached this in a more productive way. Maybe he could have asked to speak to the administration and asked our esteemed director what the library is doing to improve efficiency. Then he would have found out about the new system that was just put in that better regulates the temperature in the building, reducing our energy use. Instead he was rude to people who have no control over whether the lights are left on in the Business Room.

I really think it is time for environmentalists to reevaluate how we spread our message. Instead of berating people, I think we would get more results by living lives of example and by offering strategy in public forum. If I go to my friend's house and point out her lack of flourescent bulbs then she will come to my house and point out that a lot of the food in my kitchen was shipped there over thousands of miles. Then where are we, what have we accomplished? Anyway, my tirade for today is done.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why not save the world?

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Global Warming: blah, blah, blah. It isn't real right? Well, I think it is, but what if it isn't? The things we do that could help slow down global warming are good for us anyway. When we insulate our homes, turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees, and hang our clothes out to dry, that saves us money on our energy bills. When we walk and bike around town, that makes us healthier. When we eat locally produced foods, they taste better and we support the local economy. It's all good stuff. So even if you think Global Warming is bogus, why not do stuff that makes your life better anyway? Then, if by some crazy miracle, most of the scientists in the world are proven to be correct, you'll know you've been doing the right stuff all along.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

West to California

A fast, fun trip to California where we visited my brother and sister-in-law. Planes, trains, automobiles and the ocean. Midwest Airlines is a carrier of choice in my book - business class seating throughout the cabin, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, and a FULL can of Coke (not just a bit poured over ice - in a small cup - like some airlines offer). On our flight to L.A. Joe received a "First Flight" certificate signed by the crew along with a BAG full of cookies. While waiting for Craig to come home from work the first day, Jackie and Joe played an amusing pretend game of Dorothy the Dinosaur (Jackie) meets Bob the Builder (Joe). Although our stay was brief, we enjoyed ourselves and Joe was an excellent traveler. The whirlwind, off-the-beaten-path tour included visits to Travel Town, Santa Monica Pier, and, for late afternoon relaxation, Roxbury Park (and to make sure Joe was good and tired). It wouldn't be a vacation for me without a "won't find it in Kansas" dining experience. In Santa Monica I feasted upon a Cornish Pastie, chips & peas (yum - thanks, Craig) at Ye Olde King's Head while Joe gulped his spaghetti. Unfortunately I was too full to partake of the Bread & Butter Pudding for dessert.

Friday, October 5, 2007

That's my boy

Joe fell asleep while eating his bed-time snack. Literally - he was chewing when I took this picture!
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Out with the old...

This is the old kitchen floor after removing the nasty, dirty carpet that we tolerated for about 8 years too many. That gray spot in the top-left picture is the actual pile of dust that remained after removing the carpet. We didn't pile it up like that - it was there on it's own! Farther back in the picture you can see where we'd already cleaned up. After the carpet the underlayment had to be taken out (the gold/brown colored part of the floor). This was just stapled down, fairly easy to remove and revealed (middle picture) the lovely vinyl tile circa 1940. I wouldn't have picked it, but it was definitely better than the nasty rug. Luckily, it made a great surface to install the incredibly cheap and easy peel-and-stick tile ($200 vs. $1400 estimate for professional floor installation). After several hours of work during the past week...

Now we actually have to clean up spills so we don't slip on the floor. Lucy is adjusting to the new floor and, as always, is willing to help with most any food/liquid cleanup.

Joe's thorn to bear....

This thorn is what remained after spending almost two weeks in the bottom of Joe's foot. I recall seeing about that much taken out soon after the original incident. However, how it got there isn't nearly as interesting as the time since then. After Joe hobbled back to our friend's house, we removed what we thought was all of it then cleaned up with rubbing alcohol and put a bandage on his foot. Well, next day it didn't look much better and looked a bit infected. Much to Joe's protests, we drained the wound, a small piece of the thorn came out, and we re-bandaged it. It still didn't look very good after another 24 hours so we called the doctor. He looked at it, prescribed some antibiotics and did a staph culture since this happened during the wave of staph infections sweeping through Manhattan. Joe and I were leaving for California (will post more soon) the next day and we wouldn't know the culture results for two days. Rhonna could tell that the doctor really wanted to say that we couldn't leave town. We left anyway with our antibiotics, bandages, and high-powered antibiotic soap to wash the wound three times a day. Saturday came and Rhonna called to say the culture was negative (big sigh of relief). We had fun in LA, but the foot still wasn't getting better. Joe had is annual checkup scheduled for early in the week so, in spite of his otherwise excellent health, he still had a sore foot. The doctor scheduled a sonogram to look at the wound in case there was more thorn in the foot. The sonogram was inconclusive which is hard to believe considering later that same day we returned once again to the doctor to have her remove the piece shown in the picture. Good grief, just how far was that in the foot to take nearly 2 weeks before it began to come out? Well, Joe's just fine now and the sore foot never did seem to slow him down much, amazingly enough. The only issue now is his allergic contact dermatitis from the bandages the nurse used to cover his four immunization shots he received during his annual check-up. It looks like a combination between poison ivy and chicken pox. Nothing serious, but enough already!