Monday, July 31, 2017

Travel and Vegetables

     I have three trips in four weeks planned. Last week was Cincinnati, this week is Vegas, and then soon it is Minnesota. The trips are conveniently arranged so that I have four or five days between each one. This times is set aside so that I can clean the house, mow the lawn, and madly freeze produce from the garden. After all, the neighbors will laugh at an unkempt lawn, a roommate will rue the tumbleweeds of cat hair in the living room, and the garden waits for no one. So I freeze zucchini, dry tomatoes, and make pesto.
     On top of it all, work is extra challenging right now. The big news is that I got promoted! It's quite exciting, but comes with supervisory duties and I want to learn all I can about managing people so I can do it well. This new responsibility reminded me how much work it is to learn something new. I certainly don't think I was coasting in my job before, but I had figured out how to do my job reasonably well. Now I'm madly juggling new meetings and trying to figure out how to achieve everything I'm supposed to do. I'm sure I'll eventually figure it out, but I can tell I'm thinking about 25% more at work every day that I have been.
     With all this extra thinking, my vacation this week couldn't be more welcome. I'll be attending a Star Trek convention (yup, I'm  that nerdy) in Las Vegas. I attended this same convention eleven years ago, with my friend T and late husband A. T's wife forced him to take a vacation this summer, so he and I will be reprising the trip. I hope to pick up lots of awesome Star Trek swag. Right after I pick and freeze all those green beans in the garden, of course...

Sunday, July 16, 2017


     I have a certain friend (who will remain nameless). I enjoy hearing the stories of her family, because they are always filled with drama. When the family isn't yours, the drama just sounds like a soap opera. I have always felt lucky that my family is not soap opera material.
     I am organizing my family reunion this year. Once every three years, my father's siblings and many of their children get together for a week, usually in Minnesota. In the past, organizing was a tremendous job, because you called all six siblings, the siblings consulted with their off spring, then you called them again. This happened repeatedly, as you decided the location, the timing, the activities. When I took over, I decided to use all my event planning skills from work. After all, I herd (busy, over-booked) physics professors. Can that be that different than organizing (busy, over-booked) family members?
     It's turned out that my skills are pretty transferable. I have a timeline and time estimates to complete my tasks. I use surveys and pilot-test my informational emails with my parents before sending them out. Most of all, I'm trying to stay out of any drama. Of course, feelings are part of any family, but if I can keep them out of my planning, then the job stays straightforward. In fact, I'm thinking about volunteering to run it again next time. Maybe I shouldn't admit that yet, though... I will find out in a few weeks whether everyone else is as pleased with my organizing as I have been.

Saturday, July 08, 2017


It's 7am and I'm sitting outside with a cup of coffee. The heat of the day hadn't hit yet. I can hear a dove cooing, crickets chirping, and all kinds of cheerful birds tweeting. The bees are busy in the squash blossoms. The dog is relaxed, nearby, but ready to spring up the moment I start to indicate it's time for our walk.

In a few minutes, I'll go finish making my picnic lunch,  because my friend E, her kids, and I are headed to the beach today.

It's the best part of summer.

Monday, July 03, 2017


     It turns out that the washing machine couldn't be repaired. Well, that's not quite right. With the help of my father and my friend S, it was determined that the motor was broken. You can replace these, but they cost half the price of a new machine, so I've ordered a new washer. I'm glad I tried to fix it, though, because otherwise I would have wondered whether a $20 sensor was all that the machine needed.
     My new computer arrived, which was great until the fan quit working. Computers are designed to shut down if they're going to overheat (a wise engineering decision!). So I sent my non-working computer back for a replacement. Alas, the company that was so prompt to fill my order is not so motivated to process returns quickly. I've been limping along with my not-quite-completely-broken laptop from four years ago, and I have high hopes that it will be resolved soon.
     I'm chicken-sitting this weekend, something I enjoy doing for my friends N and S when they travel. (They pay in eggs!) The first day I arrived, though, the key was not in its usual hiding space and no amount of careful searching could unearth it. By phone, N and S decided that the best thing was for me to break in, and I requested a discreet ground-floor burglary. I hoped to pry a porch window open, but it turns out that the glass gave way before the frame did. I sealed up the window with heavy duty plastic, fed the animals, and counted my lucky stars that no neighbors called the police. I have only broken two windows in my entire life, and both of them have been on N and S's house. Sorry, guys!