Showing posts from April, 2008

The first zero of the year

2008 is a year of zeros here. The first one was celebrated Saturday April 26. It was my husband's birthday. He turned 60.

Boy, I didn't see this one coming.

My boss went through this a couple of years ago. He says hey, this is no big deal - "60 is the new 50 - or maybe the new 40." The "new 40" sure sounds good to me. Remember, I am only a few years behind Robert. Still, there is the sense that there is more behind us than before us, and that time goes by soooooo quickly.

The sweet and the bitter. I'm very aware of those two undercurrents right now. For many reasons that I am not going to talk about at the moment.

I was unable to find the time to think of a gift for Robert, until a couple of days before his birthday when on a whim I asked if he could use a new windbreaker. He said yes. So on Friday I slipped out of work for a while, and we met. We went to the post office and filled out the paperwork for new passports. Then we found a decent gray windbreaker…

Spring Arrives in the Northern Woods

In more southern places, spring is well advanced and moving towards warmer days. Here in the northern woods, we are seeing our very first spring blooms. These are ephemeral visitors, here today and gone tomorrow. This marks my 30th spring in this place, and I have learned some spots where the spring flowers make their appearances. I took my camera on my walk today to try to capture some of these fair weather friends.

Fiddleheads! Some are edible - and quite tasty. These are not. I know a man in the neighboring town who holds that a spring feast of fiddleheads is one of the good things in life. He has also been a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast, where his alter ego is named Fuzzy Fiddlehead. These are fuzzy fiddleheads.

Once when out on a walk, I encountered an Asian woman digging fiddleheads from our property. I told her that I was the property owner, and was willing to share, but would appreciate it if she asked first. She wouldn't even look at me. She finished digging up the clump…

A bad day on a boat is better than a good day in an office

There's a saying that "A bad day on a boat is better than a good day in an office." There have been a couple of hairy days on Minuet when I might have preferred to be in an office, but generally I find that statement to hold true. Even when the boat is in its cradle, and you have to climb a ladder to board her.

Once we got up the ladder, we were rewarded with this view.

I was there to vacuum the interior, put cushions back into their places, and inspect the interior for problems. Almost everything was shipshape. I found two musty jackets that had been forgotten in the fall, but the upholstery smelled fine. Robert and I did find a leak in a quarterberth area that we use for storage. This spurred us to take out a cushion that didn't need to be there, and to move all the assorted tins, bottles, hardware, rags, and tools out of disintegrating cardboard boxes and into dishpans. We've located the source of the leak, a deck drain on the topside. Now we have to figure out …

Buckled Down - and Anticipated Rewards

I have been very buckled down the past two weeks. I reached a point at work where I could not tolerate being so far behind, so I dug in and pushed an incredible amount of paper through the computer. I have finally almost completely caught up from my medical leave.

So, what did I accomplish? I was able to print out financial reports for the first quarter of the year for the board meeting next week. And, they will be included in the meeting packets being mailed out today rather than handed out at the meeting, so that folks will be able to actually review them. It doesn't sound like much. To get there, I had to do a lot of data entry - the final 2008 budget, three months of cash receipts and billings, three months of arcane non-cash transactions that make little sense outside of the magical world of FASB compliant accounting.

The grant and contract billings are in the mail - all of them. Hopefully they will be followed by a stream of cash flowing back towards the agency - soon.

I turned…

The Forum Jones

Before I began blogging, I spent hours upon hours reading (and sometimes commenting upon) threads in a forum on a site for people who were interested in a particular recreational activity.

I was one of the first people to post on the forums when the site opened them for action. In the early days, conversations were generally civil, and there was a lot of sharing of information. Over time, however, I saw the forum go downhill into major flame wars. The site management didn’t want to moderate, and the forums have now become a personal messaging system for a particular in-group that culls the ranks of newcomers with hostile words and insults.

Now I have been spending time on the forums at Ravelry. They are a breath of fresh air, with many light-hearted and earnest people sharing information. But there are signs of trouble on the margins. Some threads have exploded into the kind of negative exchanges I remember oh so well (usually complaining about a magazine or yarn seller), and these thre…

The Failure of Self-Mutilation

A couple of years ago, two women at work had gastric bypass surgery.

One is a very, very heavy woman who looks like an "ideal" candidate for the surgery. It too her a couple of years, though, before she found a doctor to agree to operate on her. She was very careful with her diet after surgery, and lost a lot of weight. As it turns out, she was too careful and ate too little. Her metabolism shut down, and she stopped losing weight no matter how little she ate. Today, she eats as much as she did before the surgery, and has regained everything she lost. She just joined WeightWatchers - again.

The other woman was stocky, but not especially fat by contemporary standards. She had to do a lot of doctor shopping and travel many, many miles before she found one who would agree to give her the surgery. She also lost weight, and became quite slender. She works in the field, and isn't in the office a lot. Today, I saw her for the first time in a while. She is regaining the weight she…

Hodge Podge with Al Gore Link

Just a few quick notes...

We were walking on the ice on our beaver pond just 9 days ago. Now, the season has turned and spring is here. Irises and day lilies are starting to poke up in the gardens. The ice on the driveway is gone, and the mud is drying. There is still some ice on the pond, but areas of water are opening up.

Monday, as I walked along the pond on the town road, two geese flew right over me and landed on the pond with a great amount of honking, wing beating, and splashing. To me, it looked like they were saying, "Honey, we're HOME!"

Tuesday, we had wonderful news. Our daughter Ana has been accepted by a summer math research program - the SUNY Potsdam-Clarkson REU program. She will make good money for two months of work and learning in applied graph theory, which is the area she is thinking might become her specialty. She will have some time off before and after the program, we'll be able to go sailing, and this will look fantastic on her resume.

I played a…

Another Global Perspective

My daughter sent me the link to this and wrote:

"Something that I found on Neil Gaiman's blog, it's really amazing! you should post it on your blog, it definitely is up to par with some of the cool stuff the other peeps post.

Cities at Night, an Orbital Tour Around the World.

And, of course, the first city they show is Montreal.


I did. The narration is very interesting, and the images... well, I will let them speak for themselves.

Why I am Ambivalent

I am very ambivalent about the looming opportunity to leave my job for another one of higher status and increased pay. I have figured out why.

When I decided to get my Masters, I was counseled to NOT get it in accounting. My counselor, a woman who was serving as Interim Executive Director, said I knew accounting well and didn't need more skills in that area. She suggested that I should use a Masters program to expand my skills, and study management. I have done so, and my understanding of organizations has grown. I am taking a wider role at work as a manager, and have been able to make contributions that I think have been helpful.

In my gut, I perceive the other position that is dangling like a carrot on a string as a narrower position. It is an accounting supervisor position, and I believe that it is wholly concerned with keeping the alternate reality known as an accounting system in order, and capable of surviving an audit unscathed.

No interaction with programs. No customer servic…

Insomnia Mystery, Solved?

I have become prone to occasional evenings of insomnia. Once a week or so, I go to bed, and my brain won't settle down. I haven't been able to figure out a pattern.

I may have figured it out today. I think it is more likely to happen on an evening when I blog.

So what do I do? When can I blog? I am a worker bee, and NOT a morning person, so the evening is when I have free time and when my neurons are firing in sequence. Also, I am now a reformed citizen who does not open blog sites on the computer at work to sneak in a little blogging or subscription reading over my lunch hour.

Perhaps if I make sure to close the laptop, drink a glass of wine, and knit after I blog, I'll be able to untangle my thoughts enough to sleep. Comments, if there are any, can wait for the morrow.

I won't have any problems tonight. Last night I blogged, and could not sleep when I went to bed. I am exhausted, and it is (relatively) early.

I'm still going to make sure to knit, and drink some wine. …

Walking on Not-So-Thin Ice

This past weekend the snow conditions were unusual and marvelous. There was a hard, thick crust on the snow, strong enough to support an adult's weight. Walking in the woods was easier than it is when the snow is gone and the earth has dried. And the ice on the beaver pond was still thick enough to walk on.

There are whole winters that go by that never once have snow conditions so perfect for a walk-about.

We took a walk with our grandkids both Saturday and Sunday. There was a cold wind Saturday, so the walk was short. Sunday was sunny and much warmer, and we ventured further. I made sure to take my camera this time.

At the edge of the adventure:

And we're off!

Oh, yes - kids with sticks!

There were lots of tracks - some made by us, some by others who had come before us.

Approaching the beaver lodge. This fine home was on the property when we bought it 30 years ago. Most of the pond is very shallow, but the water is much deeper here where the beavers live. At this point, Robert star…

Earth Hour with the Grandchildren

It was a full weekend, with 24 hours devoted to our grandkids. We all had a great time together. We visited a maple sugaring farm, and ate french toast with maple syrup (and maple sugar candies, the classic ones that look like little maple leaves). The snow was hard and crusty, and we walked way out on the beaver pond. (Bet we won't be able to do that next weekend.) And we celebrated Earth Hour.

We turned off the lights and the refrigerator, unplugged the laptops, and played a board game by lantern and candlelight. And we talked about how some people have no more light than we had. How we are lucky to live in a place where life is peaceful, and there is lots of water. About what carbon dioxide is, what it does, and that their generation may see some big changes - and may create new ways to do things.

Then the lights went back on, and they rushed into the living room to watch a few minutes of Nickelodeon. All was well in their world after that.

The oldest understood that this was happ…