Mar 29, 2006

Guilty Pleasures...

Mar 27, 2006

Fairly Obvious Signs That I'm a Nerd, Part II...

4. I did trig(onometry) at work today

5. I enjoyed doing trig at work today

6. When the department admin said I could have my choice of office supplies, I requested mechanical pencils and engineering paper

It's so much nicer when the paper does the engineering for you...

Part I

Mar 25, 2006

Ready to Rumble...

This is Zoe's fresh spring haircut, complete with mohawk sculpted by the Cat-Daddy. She went from snuggly fluffball to punk-weasel-dog in less than an afternoon...

Mar 16, 2006

Dream a Little Dream...

I am hit-or-miss when it comes to remembering my dreams. While they are often bizarre, they are not usually all that detailed; or rather, the details are not describable in any way that remotely makes sense. That said, I do have a few standard stress dreams which seem to repeat themselves, especially when I’m anxious about something.

There’s the snake dream. Often many of them will be in my yard and I’ll need to get into or out of the house. Plenty of times the setting has been the house where I grew up, but more recently I tend to find myself in a new house and discover that my yard is in fact a habitat for poisonous snakes, and I have to figure out how to co-exist with them. Once I was on some sort of camping or mountain-climbing trip, and a giant snake the color of those reddish garden hoses, with bright yellow and blue diamonds along its back, pretty much followed me the whole way. Come to think of it, just last night I was traveling along some kind of path, lined with cobras that were spitting and lunging at me. Thankfully the snakes in my dreams have almost never tried to hurt me. Even the cobras were all about intimidation, and didn’t try to actually touch me. The only time in my dreams that a snake intended harm was when I was in the desert with the Von Trapp family. Maria was singing in the background (of course). I was kneeling down, and a rattlesnake was headed my way while my legs were stuck to the ground. It made sense at the time. The only thing I could do was lie backward with my legs still in place, folded behind me. The snake didn't get to me, however, because I woke myself up. It was one of the few times I've sucessfully woken myself up from a dream. Woken--is that a word? It sounds weird...
Then there’s the one where my teeth are falling out, one by one. It starts with one of my bottom front ones wiggling loose. The ones with the retainer cemented to them. Then another, then a top one, and so on, until my molars start coming out too.

And the one where I'm trying to dial a phone number, but just can't get it right. Not just once or twice. Like 10 times. And usually it's for something important, such as calling the fire department. And there is no such thing as 9-1-1 in this dream, it's a full number I'm trying to dial. It's maddening.

There’s the one where I’m teaching a class and mutiny is afoot. One kid will be loud & raucous, or refusing and stay put. Just as I get him/her under control, someone on the opposite end of the room does the same thing. It gradually gets worse until I’m desperately screaming for everyone to sit down and shut up, and the entire class thinks it’s a great game, messing with my head. I had this dream regularly when I was an actual teacher, usually in the weeks leading up to a new year or semester. Even today, I dream of classroom mutiny every so often.

Another school dream started popping up when I was in grad school. In this one, I’m registered full-time, or working full-time while registered for a class or two. Either way, somehow I'll totally forget to attend one class, until about halfway through the term, when I’ll realize it and make plans to catch up and pass the class, but somehow I keep forgetting to show up. Once I was back in high school, needing one class to graduate, and I just couldn’t seem to get to the dang class. It was dreadful.

The one good thing about stress dreams, if such a thing exists, is that they very rarely come true to their full extent in real life. I did forget to go to a lab once in grad school. I left school after class, completely forgetting that lab was held right after the lecture. It wasn’t even the first class of the quarter…I simply forgot. I was very fortunate in that I didn’t miss anything. Even if I had, it would have been a pain to make up the work, but it would have been do-able. I have seen a snake in my yard, but it was small & harmless. We left each other alone, and it went away, and I never saw it again. As an adult, I’ve lost a crown, but never a tooth, and even my worst classroom days never came close to full-scale anarchy.

Being a nervous-type, I deal with stress dreams by talking myself down from the anxiety. Usually a quick pep talk about how it was all a dream will suffice. When that doesn’t work, I devise a plan of action to prevent the events in the dream from ever coming true.

Yesterday was a banner day in the history of stress dreams, as I had what apparently was a sympathy-stress-dream. I’ve never heard of this occurring before, but there’s a first time for everything, I suppose. My dream involved my friend, the future Mrs. L., who is getting married in 2 months. Some background info: the Cat-Daddy and I will be helping out, making sure that the schedule runs as smoothly as possible. It will also help to know that Mrs. L. is currently storing her dress in my guest room, until it’s time to have it altered and pressed before the big day. Understandably, Mrs. L. is busy with plans & preparations, but my role is easy. I get to show up in nice-ish clothes and boss people around. Very little stress on my end. You'd think so anyway...

So in my dream it was suddenly Mrs. L.’s wedding day. To begin with, I wondered how time had passed so quickly, as we had completely skipped the month of April. I had been looking forward to bossing people around, ala “What are you doing here? You were supposed to be over there ten minutes ago!!” but again, time had gotten away from me, and it was now just a couple hours before the wedding. I got my butt to the church, and when I finally got there it was an hour prior to the wedding, and pretty much everything seemed to be in order, except that Mrs. L. wasn’t in her dress yet. I asked her about it, and it turns out it was my job to bring the dress from my house to the church for her, and I’d completely forgotten! So we tracked down the Cat-Daddy, asking him to drive home and pick up the dress. But it wasn’t just the dress; there was the slip, the veil, and accessories. So I started to write out a list so he would know to get everything. Well, I tried & tried, but my writing was totally illegible, so Mrs. L. and I finally decided to go ourselves so we’d be sure to get all of the necessary accoutrements.

We got to my house and started grabbing the dress and accessories, but as we grabbed stuff, there was more & more for us to take. Flower girl dresses, flower girl gifts, entire suitcases of clothes, towels, & shoes (for the honeymoon?? I have no idea). And I'm almost certain there was a lava lamp in there somewhere. Soon Mrs. L.’s mom showed up and volunteered to pack & take most of the stuff for us so we could get back to the church and start the wedding ASAP.

At this point my house was no longer the house I live in now, it was some random house in extremely west Phoenix, and it was my parents’ house and I was just staying with them for the wedding. Or something like that. Whatever it was, it made sense at the time. Mrs. L. and I loaded up the car and were getting ready to go just as a strange couple drove up to the house asking about the wedding. We told them everything was being held at the church an hour away, and they could follow us there if they wanted to, all the while thinking, “duh, why would they come here??” We got into the car & headed down the street. The couple got into their car & started to pull out. I watched for them to follow us in my rearview mirror, but they never did, so I was worried that they were actually there to rob my (or rather my parents’) house, and had just pretended that they were going to follow us to the wedding, when in fact they were going to stuff my parents' belongings into their tiny 1985 Honda Accord hatchback.

Consequently, I decided to drive back around the block & check on the house, only I wasn’t at all familiar with the neighborhood and got all turned around. I never did make it back to check on the house. Eventually I ended up on a main road a good mile away, except that we were now in extremely east Phoenix. Nothing was familiar, but we did make our way up to Loop 202 so we could catch a commuter roller-coaster back to the church.

Yes, a commuter roller-coaster.

An interesting concept, but terribly inefficient, as we kept having to debark and get back in line at several of the stops. And as we crossed into different cities, the coasters were very different. The Scottsdale portion, for example, was bright & shiny & new, and had loops & turns, etc., while the Mesa portion was old & dingy, with crappy seats (sorry, Mesa) that kept ejecting us out of them so we'd have to get back in & try to get going again. This went on for quite some time, and became pretty convoluted. The last thing I remember is being stuck in a warehouse-setting, waiting for one of three doors to open and the coaster to whisk me through it to wherever was next. Mrs. L. walked up wondering what on earth we were doing here when we had to get back to the church for her wedding. From there the dream got fuzzy, and I think it transitioned into a whole other theme involving bikes, snow, and a very strange amusement park. Anyway, to summarize, we did not get back to the church for the wedding.

As a result of this dream, I made two major decisions:

1) Mrs. L. is to retrieve her dress from my house long before an hour prior to her wedding, and I will not be responsible for it.

2) I’m not going anywhere near a commuter roller-coaster unless I have ample time to spare.

Mar 9, 2006

Another One...

You Are a Visionary Soul...
You are a curious person, always in a state of awareness. Connected to all things spiritual, you are very connected to your soul. You are wise and bright: able to reason and be reasonable. Occasionally, you get quite depressed and have dark feelings. You have great vision and can be very insightful. In fact, you are often profound in a way that surprises yourself. Visionary souls like you can be the best type of friend. You are intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and a good healer. Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul

What Kind of Soul Are You?

Who wouldn't want to be told that people like them are the best type of friend?? And wise & bright as well??

Oh, and this time I caught the address of the bigger site (click on the name):
BlogThings. A veritable cornucopia of online quizzes. This could be dangerous...

Mar 7, 2006

For the New Mrs. B...

A very good friend got married over the weekend. I enjoyed the wedding immensely, which is saying a lot since I'm not much of a wedding-person. I didn't cry...I told my bride-friend that she looked hot, and I got to have crazy fun with some friends from college. We temporarily forgot that we were supposedly-mature adults with real jobs and real bills and insurance, and we ran around & told goofy jokes, and giggled about what our newly-married friends would be doing that night (wink, wink). The best thing about the night was all the laughing.

And I had a very important duty. I was one of 3 gift attendants, the other 2 being said college friends. We took our jobs very seriously, as you can see in the pic. We even took very (un)serious oaths to defend the gifts against those who would damage or steal. And when no one tried anything, we made up fake stories to add some drama to the day, but Mrs. B. didn't fall for it, partly because she's pretty sharp, but mostly because she was rightfully caught up in being a bride.

During the ceremony all my cynicism flew out the window and I just sat there with a goofy grin the whole time, thinking about what a gift this marriage is. It seems especially wonderful, since my friend has gone through significant pain in her life, probably more by the time she was 20 than most people encounter by the time they're 60. For me, and everyone else who has known her, it is so special to look back over her life and see where God has led her, how he has redeemed the pain in her life into beauty, strength, and wisdom beyond her years. Her husband has also had his share of lows and such...part of the ceremony included a video the B's made of their stories, how God has shaped them through the years and eventually brought them together. I've gotten to meet Mr. B. He is strong, wise, kind, caring...and appropriately warped enough to complement my friend's (and my) sense of humor. I hope to know him better, and to know them as a couple...IF he promises to behave; that is, if he promises to be a good sport and put up with our silliness.

The wedding was held at the church I grew up in, which also happens to include the school I attended through 8th grade. There were so many memories for me, and even some people from "back in the day," whom I got to surprise simply by walking up to them; and when they said, "SkerriF!! You haven't changed a bit!!" I got to say with great enthusiasm, "It's SkerriB now!" That was fun. I told grade-school stories to my college friends and one of them commented, "You weren't kidding, you really grew up here!" It's true. Between church and school, I was there as much (and sometimes more than) I was home in those years.

Ms. G. was one of those people. She was in charge of the reception. Despite her disappointment in not receiving the promised "Yes I am the boss of you" shirt, she did a spectacular job ordering people around, making sure the evening went off without a hitch. We were 2 years apart in school, so we only knew of each other, and I don't think I'd seen her in about 15 years. It was neat to see her as an adult, a very capable leader with a wicked sense of humor (I hope the word "wicked" means what I want it to mean--hilarious, slightly warped, and something I get a kick out of). She made a great boss; and as a gift attendant, I was pleased that she was, in fact, the boss of me.

Ms. K. was another. She was the maid of honor. We were in the same class, although we didn't know each other well, as during those days she was in the cool-group, while I definitely was not. Frankly, given my social status back then, I've been relieved to find that, all things considered, the social "coolness-tiers" pretty much flattened out by college. Ms. K. and I reminisced some, mostly updating each other on the classmates we knew about. We sort of kept grinning at each other. I can't speak for her, but I know there was so much I wanted to say but didn't have words for. It is interesting to me that, even knowing each other only a little, we share such a complex history over just a few years of our lives. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but then again maybe not. I think if we lived in the same state we might be friends. Although maybe that's not all that profound, since we're both friends with the new Mrs. B.

It was her wedding, but it felt like such a gift to me, having known her for several years now, getting to share in her 'process' through these years and to participate in this special day. Plus, they served Mexican food, which is probably my all-time favorite. And no birdseed or bubbles. No, the B's gave out TOYS as wedding favors. Squishy light-up toys. There was no chicken dance; in fact, there was no dancing at all. Just dinner and conversation in a cool, dusky evening with zillions of little white lights strung about and Norah Jones crooning away in the background. A perfect evening.

Ahh, I feel like quite the cheeseball now, but I don't think I care. OK maybe I care a little bit, but it's worth it.

So thank you, the new Mrs. B., for including me in your special day, and for all the unexpected gifts I received from it as well.

A beautiful day, indeed...

Check Me Out...

I'm Mrs. Professional this week. I'm on a short business trip. Know what's good about business trips? Staying at fancier places than I normally would, and ordering ROOM SERVICE! I've never ordered room service before. I actually found it the tiniest bit nervewracking, being a nervous-type. I had to call & order it, which was no big deal, but then when the waiter brought it to my room I goofed it all up. I went to take the tray from him, but I forgot with things like this, that it is customary for them to do things for you. He laughed at me, then showed me how he is to bring the food in, set it down for me, and such. He was good natured about it. I just hope he wasn't expecting an extra gratuity, because there was already an 18% one included in the bill, along with tax and a friggin' service charge. My frugal heart almost couldn't go through with it, except for two magical latin words: per diem. Another wonderful thing about business trips.

And so I dined on a luscious and healthy Cobb salad, with
avocadros, of course! It would probably have been healthier if it were half its size, but I'm pretty sure it was a step up from the Big Mac I had considered earlier. Definitely worth the loss of dignity, what with my ineptitude in all things hoity-toity.

Bad things about business trips--banging my knee and toes repeatedly on the desk and chair. Apparently it takes me longer than most to spatially orient myself in new places. That sounds way better than merely being klutzy. Also, while I have quite a collection of cushy pillows and covers, I miss having the fur-kids to keep me warm and toasty. And the Cat-Daddy to make me laugh...and keep me warm & toasty. Tee hee.

Tomorrow it's home again. Back to workin' for the man...