Thursday, October 27, 2005

taking a vote

ok, just doing a little experimenting...
which weather icon to use?
regular or de-caf
regular or de-caf
flag or sunrise/sunset

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

techie stuff - or - "databases I have known"

I field a lot of questions about my PDA “palm device”. If I “tap” in public, I invariable get the question, “are you playing a game?” I should say ‘yes’ more often. Truth is, I’m terrible compulsive.

A good friend of mine surpasses me in that department, and she frequently says, “Don’t feel self-conscious about being compulsive. The key is to find a career that will pay you well for being compulsive.” That always makes me smile, because we both have capitalized on our idiosyncrasy. If YOU were having cancer treatment, wouldn’t you feel better knowing the people helping with your treatment are extremely particular about details?

Anyway, back to the topic: my PDA. Well, actually: my compulsivity. The prime use of my Palm is – TA-DA – my database. This palm is not just an electronic calendar and address book with a built-in clock. No, no, no.

One of my friends saw me tapping one day, and wanted to show off his new Palm. He’s a smart guy so I figured I would show him my database. He said, “Yea, mine has Excel.” I said, “Umm, that’s a spreadsheet, not a database.”

He: What’s the difference?

I fell silent. Where to begin? The differences are legion! And the uses … ? Infinite! I think I finally said something like, “I’ll explain later,” to spare his ego. Hopefully he went to work the next day and asked somebody, or asked one of his kids. hehe

My database is – well – I HAVE TO HAVE MY DATABASE! The program is a database builder called SmartListToGo. Kinda like Microsoft Access or FileMaker. Then I BUILD the databases that I want. I have built a few. I have 2 PDAs, and I have about 75 dbs on one palm and about 60 on the other one. I’m not a programmer, but even our IT guy seems impressed.

Databases. Gotta love em! A lot of people have lots of applications on their palms that could be done with ONE database rather than dozens of applications. And at less cost. And they could design it the way it suits them. A few of the databases I use most:

- shopping list
- car mileage & maintenance
- exercise log
- work timesheet
- to do list (a lot more detailed than the Palm To Do list) – with notes, date completed, etc & you can sort by Home To Do, Work To Do, committees, clubs, etc.
- blood pressure (and other health stuff)
- booklist (to buy / to read)
- movie list (handy when you get to Blockbuster, and can’t remember what you want to check out)
- calorie counter
- favorite quotes
- birthdays & This Day in History
- Daily Bible Verse & inspirational thoughts
- knitting needle inventory

You get the idea. All the stuff that used to be on little odd slips of paper or Post-its all over my house, my desk, and stuffed in books and my purse.

AND!!!! MY PALM HAS AN MP3 PLAYER (way cool and probably my 2nd favorite thing about my palm). AND MULTI-FUNCTION STOPWATCH. AND A CAMERA (which is not really that big a deal). Three doc readers. And a few games. It’s not a smart phone. I’m not inclined to want a Palm-phone combo. I want to get away from the phone once in a while. Plus my phone has to LOOK cool – not like a brick.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Well, the post below was composed one day last week, and before I could even get it posted we got news that the move is not going to happen in the near future. Am I surprised?

(that was a rhetorical question)

changes in the air

This is not about the weather. hehe

I used to have a really nice office. Fifth floor facing south with a tremendous view of the city. With a door I could close for privacy if I had a personal phone call or wanted to listen to music, or take a 10-minute break to watch a summer thunderstorm with the lights off.

Three and a half years ago my office was relocated to a trailer. Yes, a trailer - with no windows. With the promise we would be here about a year. Two years max. Umm-hmm. But it's a double-wide (with plumbing) so why am I complaining?

Giving up the panoramic view was the biggest adjustment. The trailer has, in truth, not been bad - except for the smell. We call it "the mouse house". And the main building "the big house". Being isolated from the big house has it's advantages. We are rarely interrupted by random visitors. In fact, we are largely ignored - which is sometimes not a bad thing.

Well, we just got word we are being moved back to "the big house". Probably within 3 weeks. No more private offices - we will probably all be in cubicles.

The most stressful aspect to me? Will I have a place for my fish tank? It has been a pleasant companion to me (the fish rarely get attitude) and has been a good substitute for the windowless workspace. It suits me. I will be sad to give it up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

the soap opera

I met the star of this drama on Day 1 when I started my job 10 years ago. During these 10 years, she has had an endless (yes, endless) list of traumatic life events. If I had had even half the things she has experienced, I think I'd be in permanent therapy. Maybe that is why SHE is!

Day in and day out I have heard the drama. My memory has erased all but about 10% of the "episodes", but a few events continue to play into each daily saga. A true living soap opera.

Before I met "mindy" (our courageous leading character bearing up under life's adversities) there was a marriage and two children (well actually three - counting the 1st that was stillborn). Then a divorce from an alcoholic husband. There was a sister who had a baby - born the night of her senior prom. She later married the father and had three more kids. Same sister had a critical accident in high school which left her blind in one eye, and paralyzed on one side of her face. There was another sister who had two children by different fathers - never married. That sister is in constant drug rehab, and her daughter quit school in about the 7th grade, and is now in prison and the mother of two children (being raised by Mindy). It's all very confusing and if I didn't get daily updates on these people, I frankly would need a scorecard to keep up.

Monday's are always interesting. I never know what to expect. Like yesterday. Mindy was not in the office when I arrived. I wondered if she was ill and not coming at all, or if her great-niece (form whom she is guardian) was ill, or if her father was in the hospital again, or if [long list of possibilities]. Mindy appeared about 9:30 with the explanation. "Little Moe" [her son] was in a car wreck and is in the hospital. Little Moe is just home from Iraq within the last 4 months. So, Mindy proceded to treat us with the gory details of the accident. Leaving local high school football game Friday night; head-on collision; 2 people injured; wrecked her mother's car; both people med-flighted to local medical centers; surgery to put a rod in his leg from hip to ankle; took him 13 hours to come out of anesthesia, yadda, yadda.

I know - the details are endlessly fascinating to one and all. I'll keep you posted.

It's not that I don't have compassion. But it's people like this that make me know, most novels (and soap operas) are probably taken from real life.

Friday, October 14, 2005

painting the town pink

So my baby daughter asked me, “What are you going to do for your birthday?” And I said, “Have dinner with Carol.” Baby girl says, “Are y’all going to paint the town red?”

“Nope, just pink. We won’t get too crazy!”

Pink is good! And totally fitting.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

birthday dinner

My friend wants to take me out for dinner. I know how this is going to go, but I play along.

Her: I want to take you out for your birthday. When would be a good time?
Me: Oh, fun! How does your schedule look?
Her: Well, Monday next week is good for me. Or Wednesday. Or Friday. But I definitely can't do it on Tuesday or Thursday.
Me: [thinking monday, wednesday and friday are all bad for me] OK, how about tomorrow night? Is that too short notice?
Her: No. That would be fine. Where would you like to go? Your choice.
Me: Oh, you know I like just about everything. And what I haven't tried, I'm willing to try. What sounds fun to you?
Her: You think about it and decide. But you know I can't eat shellfish ... and I can't go to [names a few] ... and we need to go someplace close ...
Me: OK. I'll decide by tomorrow night.
Her: OK. What time?
Me: Um, I'm not sure I can make it before 6:30.
Her: Don't you think we will have a hard time getting seated that late?
Me: Would you prefer 6:00? I really don't think I can make it any earlier.
Her: OK. 6:00 is fine. And if you happen to get here early, that will be fine, too.
Me: OK. Tomorrow night at 6:00.

See, I know if I say up-front “Why don’t you just tell me where and when,” it will take away her joy of taking me out and make her feel like it’s not my “party”. So I have to give her the illusion that she is actually letting me have some input in the decision. But ultimately, I know it’s all her choice. I don’t mind. The social element is the important thing to me – not the food. And Heaven knows I won’t starve if I don’t go out for dinner on my birthday.

But at the same time I can’t help wonder why there are so many control-freaks in my life.

tomorrow's forecast

Tomorrow will be mild and sunny with a slight breeze. In other words, A PERFECT DAY!

How do I know? My birthday is always the most gorgeous day. Every year - never failed. Like I posted last year: “the sky – lapis - azure – not just blue ... the leaves turning those incredible vibrant colors ... smells and tastes of autumn ... the warmth of home and family”.

I can never remember it raining on my birthday even once, or even being cloudy. (Not that I object to rain. I’m actually a great fan of rainstorms.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

awake in the night

I've been awake since 3:10 a.m. I have these rituals I go thru to help me go back to sleep: make a trip to the bathroom, get a drink, look outside, pray, listen to my mp3s on my Palm. If I'm still not getting sleepy, I start reading or journaling. I could have written many a novel in the hours I've been awake between midnight and 6 a.m.

Looking outside is advice from an old neighbor. "When you wake up at night, always look outside. You see the most interesting things!"

Mr. Charles was right. I've seen some pretty incredible things in my own yard or passing on my street in the wee hours. This morning, I watched my neighbor sit in the dark in his porch swing smoking a cigarette at 4 a.m. All I could see was the red glow in the dark - like Deep Throat in "All The President's Men". He's not insomniac; he just leaves for work about 5:00.

I think one of my neighbors (down the street) is a repo man. He flies down the street in a very large flat-bed truck at early odd hours and returns with cars of random description.

Twice in the last year I've seen a car pass my house at very high speed and return moments later dragging a large green waste receptable, distributing it's contents all over the neighborhood. One morning back in the summer I heard a crash and popped to the window to see someone backing out of our yard after they ran over our mailbox and broke the post.

A friend told me of getting up one night and seeing 2 foxes playing under a full moon in the lawn outside her kitchen window. The next day she mentioned to a neighbor what she had seen, and the neighbor said she too had see the foxes and was so enchanted by them in the moonlight, she had wakened her husband to watch.

Always look outside when you wake in the night. You will see the most interesting things!

Thursday, October 06, 2005


happy birthday!!!
happy birthday!!!

happy birthday!!!

It's already October 7 in Thailand, so have a great day!

(find the link above and tell me how you like it :)

It's just a 'spearmint.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

This man is totally awesome to me!

Incredible!! Amazing!!!

He and his buddy rode 100 miles last Saturday in
  • Tour de Cure
  • for diabetes.