November 30, 2008

I am thankful for...

- finally living in a house that doesn't become unbearable after two nights of no heat and lows of 25 degrees

- my oven that heats my living room when the heater doesn't work

- my husband, who broke the heater trying to install a timer to keep me warm in the early mornings

- my Wii Fit, which keeps me accountable and has the newly discovered feature of timing my running in place while I watch the news during my early mornings

- my dogs, who lick my toes while I attempt plank position on my Wii Fit

- my family, who decided it was too much trouble trying to get together for the holidays, leaving me with three days of pajama-ed football and Wii

- Sephora, who has just sent me a $15 off coupon, just as my crappy face wash is running out

- all the lovely animals that gave up their lives for this weekend, including crabs, pigs, chickens, turkeys, cows, and maybe a deer (I think I may throw some leftover sausage in something)

-, who sold us a great BD player for $145 with shipping

- Croom's resignation

- the fact that neither my nor my husband's income will be affected by the economy

- our ability to take advantage of the current economy (house was a foreclosure, gas bill has been halved, prices have started to drop, retirement mutual funds are basically on sale, etc.)

- finding a church in our new community

- being able to cuddle up on my couch with my fur family and bowls of already-made chili, jambalaya, and chicken soup for the next two weeks

- the Christmas season!!

November 20, 2008

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

I really do love my job. I get along really well with 98% of my coworkers (except for that one person who felt the need to exclaim "I don't see how you eat that! Ugh!" anytime I brought in sushi or ethnic food; luckily, I don't run into them much anymore). I have good benefits and decent pay. I work in a nice office (sorta, more on that below). I have a flexible schedule. I have a big truck that I don't have to fill up on my dime. My field interests me and keeps me in nature.

That said, there is a lot of frustration and dumb-ass-observing that goes along with my job. I was hired last year, and last week, I was finally given a direct line supervisor. This office was supposed to be staffed and functional four years ago. A state-wide project manager hasn't been in place in two years, and little chance of one for at least 4 more months, if not longer. Due to these two circumstances, I have been pretty much sitting on my hands for over a year. And I drive an hour one way to surf the internet. I have done probably five months worth of real work, and that's stretching it. The office that I've been place in is one room with two other people where we are supposed to have the three office suite down the hall that has actual storage space. The consolidation of three separate region offices has left us with no idea where documents or maps are, and relying on another agency's good graces to store stuff.

Most of this is small stuff I can deal with. But, today, the shit has hit the fan. All annual leave from tomorrow until January 3rd was canceled due to "exigency of public business." Actually, it's due to a poor business plan and poor training and poor follow-up from as far back as five years ago. I understand duty to the taxpayer, but this is excessive. I'm not going into the details, but this reaction is overkill. This doesn't affect me so much, as I have no annual leave, but three of my coworkers have been pole-axed. One guy now has to drive six hours on Thanksgiving Day with his family of five, instead of spending four days with his family. Another has 200 hours of use or lose leave that he can't use, not to mention his non-refundable plane tickets. The third has to deal with several counties of severely morally-depleted employees who are very hard workers and are now being punished for that, not to mention missing out on spending time with his two-year-old daughter. I definitely don't want to be in his shoes.

So yeah, the holiday spirit has leached right out of this office. I've already planned an office lunch for the day before Thanksgiving, now I know I'll have plenty to feed. I'm also planning on trying to bring in cookies and snacks for the guys that will be working ten or twelve hour days. Maybe this won't be as bad as it seems now, but I'm not holding my breath.

I really dislike the top guy in this agency. He is the definition of asshat. Or maybe just a Grinch.

November 14, 2008

Is a wolf-whistle really all that flattering?

I made this recipe Wednesday night, and it was awesome. I accidentally left the peas in the freezer, but it was still yummy.

This week, I got the chance to help out with an Future Farmers of America Land-judging competition (junior high and high school). Along with picking out the pit sites and making the texture calls earlier in the week, I got to stand around and make sure no one broke any rules yesterday. I actually got to hiss at some kid, "There is no talking while scorecards are still out." I felt like such an authority figure. I really wish I had pushed my sunglasses down on the end of my nose while saying it.

It was a lot of fun for me (I got to talk about soil, and people were forced to listen to me!). I was outside all day, got to eat hot dogs and deer sausage for lunch, and got to chum around with some coworkers. After the scores were announced, I went out with one of the teams and their advisor to give them some pointers for next year's competition. More talking about soil!! Woot! It was team of high school guys, and I actually think most of them retained some of what I said. As they were driving out and I was walking away, though, one of the guys leaned out and whistled at me. I have to admit, at first, I was flattered. It's nice to be appreciated. But then, as I was driving home, I started to think maybe I should have reacted more negatively than a dismissive wave. When I'm walking down the street, I hate when random old or skeevy or both guys catcall me. I would have never dated a guy that got my attention by whistling at me. Except for this one really cute soccer ref... Anyway, maybe I should have said or done something to remind that kid that 1) I am an elder (yeah, I'm only 22, but I have a hard enough time getting people to take me seriously, shouldn't I be trying to reinforce that to a high school kid?), 2) I was in a position of authority at the time, and 3) women in any position are not there for you to ogle, stopping being such a Neanderthal, dude.

But, then again, it was nice to hear that somebody thought I looked nice. Maybe it was the new hair. Conundrum.

November 12, 2008

New Haircut!

So I finally got over my fear of change and got a new haircut. For years I've worn it straight, one length (everynow and again I would get some long layers in front), and long.

Now, I have bangs! First time since 7th grade, and they definitely look better now. I do actually have to spend a few minutes on it in the morning, but it's not too bad. (You'll have to excuse the just cut-ness, it's not that flat normally.)

For my next experiment, color! I'm thinking of either a warm brown gloss or auburn low lights.

November 10, 2008

It's the Hap-Happiest Time of the Year...

I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but visiting my cousins' this weekend evolved into us breaking into Christmas classics such "Santa, Baby" to keep the baby smiling, even though all we knew were bits and pieces of the chorus. It was amusing listening to the non-word version of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" accompanied by baby giggles.

Well, the dreariness has passed for the time being, and the air is crisp, cool, and blue. All the leaves are changing and we're actually getting some color and hang time with them this year. Usually, it's green, brown, on the ground. And fall is over. We've had at least two weeks of changing colors and it's actually kind of nice.

This year with the economy being what it is, my family has decided not to do Christmas presents. We're just going to spend a nice meal together and watch some football (SEC!) and play a board game. I still want to get my sister a little something, but it definitely helps out with the furniture fund, having to buy presents for just one side of the family. My parents are probably going to institute "no presents for Christmas" for perpetuity because they weren't really big into gift-giving to begin with. Instead of gifts, we eat. For every holiday. The spread for four people has gotten out of hand before. I think the last turkey we did was 19 pounds. For four people. We had turkey soup and turkey pot pie from the frozen leftovers for 3 months. It was awesome. We haven't discussed the Christmas meal yet, but I know I'm doing duck for Thanksgiving. And maybe some sort of oyster dressing. It just seems like duck and oysters go together, doesn't it?

In the Great Get Healthy of 2008, there has been moderate success. According to Wii Fit, I have lost 3 pounds with no major dieting and better food choices (forgetting the cookies that my husband has been baking non-stop. Will power, I needs it.) and almost daily exercise. I may not make my 10 pounds in one month goal, but I do feel like I could easily stay at this weight, which is the real goal here. To become more fit and a smaller size in a manageable manner. I'm owning the strength training at abs and lunges (also, the Super Hula Hoop) and can now do 2-3 military style pushups (weak, I know, but it's better than none). So goal = semi-accomplished.

The next big challenge? Losing more weight over the holidays. Since I love the food, I guess I'll be Wii-ing my ass off this time next month.

November 05, 2008

A case of the blahs

I feel depressed. Not really, but enough to give me a headache and make me whiny. I shouldn't feel this way because my job is finally picking up for a few weeks and soccer season is over so I get to see a lot more of my husband, but I do. I think the underlying reason for it is because I need a vacation. I'm trying not to use any of my annual or sick leave just in case family planning decides to go awry, and am building up comp time to use in lieu of leave. I haven't built up very much yet, and that is frustrating. For the last month or so, not only have I not been able to take more than a few hours off, my weekends have been very full and the next few don't seem to be any different. They will be a little more relaxing, hopefully, with getting together with family and friends, but still. I want a weekend in my sweats to clean and organize and decorate and cook. I keep hoping that maybe things will slow down, but then something "fun" comes up every time. Like this last weekend. I was left to my own devices, to do what I want, but of course, I think driving an hour to a football game will be "fun." Not. Not only did we lose, but only three people I was interested in seeing were there, the tailgate that I made brownies and cookies for never materialized, I got blocked in, and my cold got worse. And it was my idea. And then I complain, because I am an idiot. Maybe December will be different. (Yeah, right, I know.)

At least election season is over now, so my TV will return to its normal state. I do have that to look forward to.

Also in better news, my husband has discovered how to program the coffee maker. And the angels sang "Alleluia."

November 03, 2008

I think my brain is shaking...

I am officially a government employee, as I now drink coffee most mornings. I don't even drink it to wake up, I like the taste of it. *Gasp!* But, I have discovered that unless I actually need a caffeine jolt, 2 cups is the max I can handle. This from the person who used drink cappuccinos at 9 pm. Not anymore. I'm actually noticing my train of thought bouncing from topic to topic. And not in any logical order at all. In the past 30 seconds, I've covered Thanksgiving plans, gardening ideas, dinner plans for tonight, and random thoughts about work. I tried to do an online training course, but I am having no luck at all keeping focused. I keep clicking away from this document, as a matter of fact. At least I haven't progressed to my hands actually shaking.

BTW, I heart the whole "Fall Back" thing. I leave for the office pretty early (6 am, usually) and there is nothing that depresses me more than leaving in the dark only to come home in the dark. Plus, I hate waking up in the dark. It is so hard to get going with the sun not even up yet. Add in that my husband sleeps much later than me usually, and you get me stumbling around in the dark and trying to put an outfit together by guessing what color everything is based on what shade of gray it is. That doesn't always work. I guess it helps that I really have no fashion sense. Brown shoes with a black belt and shirt? It's what I'm wearing today!

I just found out that Miss Zoot has the exact same feelings as I about this.

Also, this weekend, I got everything done on my list except changing out clothes (because it is 40 when I leave for work and 80 at lunch time) and decorating (because my husband reminded me that I can hear him shouting when he gets back from Georgia). I feel mighty productive.