Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life is Good

Yesterday, due to a variety of things, I got a chance to take the day off work. It wasn't as straightforward as that, and "the day off work" only occurred after a meeting with my boss to plan some future projects, and then touching base with a few coworkers and staff in different sections. On the way out the door, I got ambushed by two subordinates on their first week here, who wanted to know "How are we really doing?"

A good question, that. They didn't want to hear "fine". In a society that's giving participation awards to everyone who shows up, (and then not able to explain away business cutting everyone who doesn't make the grade) I don't blame them for being jittery at being told "You're doing fine."

So I stopped short of the glorious sunlight beckoning me outdoors, and looked each of them in the eye. You're doing good, I told them. None of your mistakes are catastrophic, they're all well within what I expect from people in their first week, and you both are making fewer mistakes as you get everything down. You've caused me no headaches, and you've helped get the job done. Y'all are doing good, and I expect you're going to only get better and faster from here, as you get mentally and physically used to the job.

My new subordinates surprised me, then. The older one nodded, and thanked me, and then stuck out his hand. I gave him a good shake, because I don't do weak or limp handshakes, and shook the hand of the younger one that followed his lead. I'm used to handshakes on sealing deals, and on greetings and sometimes farewells after get-togethers or church (but I'm a lady; I usually hug friends instead.) I'm not sure if that was a farewell shake, or if we sealed something there. But, hey, they seemed happy with the honest (if not particularly carefully phrased) answer.

On the way home, I rolled down the windows to some cool August air, cranked up the Cruxshadows, and then burst out laughing. See, when I was a teen, I once wanted to play hooky. But after cutting the class, I realized there was nowhere to go when you don't have a car, nothing to do if you don't have money, no one to do it with, and it would all be soured by a fear of getting caught anyway. So I went back to class, pulled the next Baen book out of my bag, stuck it in the textbook, and escaped into another world.

I'm mumble years old now, three inches taller and mumble pounds heavier, with some pretty scarred up joints to mark the adventures along the way - but now I can take a day off in the bright sunshine, with a car and a plane to go anywhere, cash in the wallet and credit card to finance any whim, and a husband to get into adventures with me. It took a while, but I have everything my teenage self wanted so badly. (Except for being an astronaut, but, well, give me a few more decades of living and accumulating cash, and Virgin Galactic / Space X moving forward with space tourism, and we'll see!)

Life's pretty good, y'know?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

going nova

Hey, wanna see something cool? For the first time in years, there's a brand new nova in the night sky that's bright enough to see with the naked eye! (Or with the glasses-covered eye, for those of us who are nearsighted.)

Nova Delphini 2013 - read about it here!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Paleo is for cats

Calmer Half grew up with a dog and three cats; I grew up with a cat. This means Calmer Half is quite used to the dog making leftovers disappear, and grazing on the grapes in the arbor. I am quite used to a cat requesting ingredients in the cooking process, but having nothing to do with leftovers. (It was quite funny the first time I realized the cat was starting her squeak with a yawn because she was trying to imitate an "h" sound. To wit: yawn-squeak was "hhham" and yawn-squeak-squeak-squeak was "hhham-bur-ger". Tuna was a high chirp, quickly followed by a low chirp. I miss that cat.)

We're on a rather low carb diet, trying to force weight loss when Calmer Half's body just won't let him do extended exercise. This means everything we eat is either meat, vegetables, or dairy... and have you seen cat food lately? "tuna and green peas", "turkey and squash", "wild salmon florentine" are not uncommon.

Heck, wild salmon florentine sounds like a recipe I could bash together for dinner tonight.

Yes, this means the cat is constantly underfoot in the kitchen, and watching the slow cooker when it's full of pulled pork, and requesting some dinner. (She's starving, she tells you!) However, it also means that if I can't finish dinner, or there's a mixing bowl or serving platter that needs licked clean, the cat is perfectly happy to fill the usual household role of a dog.


There's something wrong with this picture. But hey, the cat's happy, the people are happy, and all the dishes go in the dishwasher afterward anyway, so why not?

Saturday, August 3, 2013


We are now owned by a cat. This is a right and proper state of affairs, and we had been informed by several neighborhood strays that it was a crime to be catless. However, instead of housing them, we got a cat from a shelter. Not having the energy for a kitten, we got a full-grown cat. She is patterned like a cerval shrunk to tabby size, several years old and very self-assured.

The cat-shaped hole in my heart has been filled.

However, I had forgotten in the years since the last cat how difficult some things could get with feline inquiry and assistance. For example, making egg drop soup with a few wontons - first you boil the wontons, then remove them to add the beaten egg. As I was putting the wontons back into the soup, a small paw nailed me in the back of my right knee. I yelped, fumbled, and splat a wonton stuffed with pork hit the floor.

You know, a wonton is about the rough shape as a mouse, and the size of a large mouse, and after being boiled in chicken broth... Kitty batted it around the kitchen like a freshly killed mouse, pausing now and then to nibble on one end as it cooled off from boiling hot, and finally eating the pork stuffing "guts" out.

You'd think I would have learned from this. Unfortunately, this was followed by yet another learning experience:

Feline assistance. Yoga.

Not a good mix.

Life is about to get interesting...