Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh, The Weather Outside...

It's raining snow today.  I don't know how else to describe it - and the storm started last night with lightning and thunder, so it seems pretty consistent.  The "flakes" (drops?) are coming in, wet and sloppy, at about a 45-degree angle.  The first day I'm really regretting having taken the bus; the fronts of my pantlegs were soaked walking to the office from the bus station, and my hair - well, maybe that's a subject best left alone.  I haven't looked in a mirror yet, and am hoping to postpone the big reveal as long as I possibly can.
The radio was predicting a blizzard yesterday, and it appears for once that they got it right.  In town, it's not so bad, but I think the major interstates are closing down a few miles out in all directions.  My husband got back yesterday from Tennessee, and just in time, it appears.  I think his plans for the day involve firelogs and afghans and naps - the dogs were rather boisterous overnight and neither of us got much sleep. 
This is the third snowstorm we've had in October and we still have a week of it left.  But with any luck, the snow we've had so far will count enough that it will be reasonably nice on Halloween.  My daughter, whose birthday that is, would be very grateful to celebrate a birthday without long underwear or frostbite warnings.  I'm glad to say that she made it safely to school; considerate soul, she called both home and my office to let us know that she'd arrived.  Days like this, I'm not as thrilled that she has her driver's license, although on days like this, I'm very thrilled that we spent a small fortune on defensive driving school.
Needless to say, the California Zephyr is late.  It's coming in over the northeastern plains, through the towns where all the schools are closed for the day.  It'll be interesting to see how badly something like this delays it.  Apart from the missed deadlines, as long as the heaters are working, I think it might be nice to be chugging across the frozen landscape in a blizzard, able to watch it and knowing that I'd get there eventually.
Work is very quiet so far; everything outside is moving very slowly, so I imagine the day will not really get going for another couple of hours.  Even in a stationary building, it's pretty cozy to sit in the warmth of central heating and watch it come down - until I start thinking about the commute home...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A-hooey, a-hooey

Bloody frustrating week so far, and it’s not even halfway done.  Work has been nothing but firefighting (although I think we’re about 85% contained at last), home has been a lot of choppy, unplanned last-minute errands punctuated by sleepless nights for various reasons (in which the family pets figure large), and no matter what my intellect and reason tell me I should be eating, I’ve been heading for the Twix bars.  Just not good all around.


My office of the moment is a well-lit cube up against the windows, and I have a sort of mixed-bag view.  I can watch construction on some new condo buildings with all-glass exterior walls (during daylight, at least, you can’t see in from where I sit, but at night?  Do they cater to exhibitionists, do you think?).  I can see some of the Front Range and watch weather fronts come in over the northwest bits.  I can watch coal trains pull into a siding, and I directly overlook the Amtrak platform at Union Station.  Every morning at some point (it’s not always on time), the California Zephyr makes a stop here enroute from Chicago to the Bay Area.  It backs in and stops for about ½ hour as the passengers get out and stretch their legs, new ones get on and old ones leave, and the window washers clean the windows for a better view of the scenery to come.  Eventually, the conductors close the doors, the whistle blows, and it slowly pulls out.


Every morning, if I’m anywhere near my desk for all of this, I stop and watch.  And every morning, the temptation is strong to grab my stuff and jump on board.  It wouldn’t be for very long – overnight to California, a short stop there, and then overnight back – they’d hardly even miss me. 


So far, I’ve resisted the temptation, but this week, I don’t know. 

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Turtles from now on

We have four furry animals living at our house - that I know of, at least.  Two dogs and two cats.  And during the daylight hours, I love them all - they're each a little quirky, entertaining, and generally fond of the people in my family.
It's at night that they all become slightly possessed, or something.  I do manage to sleep through some of it, so I haven't been able to track down the cause.  First, the dogs.  As I said, we have two of them: Anneke and Roscoe.  Anneke is a 3-1/2 year old Jack-Russell-and-something.  She's starting to settle down and behave like a grown up most of the time, but at night, she really likes to sleep with the people, no matter how comfortable a dog bed we contrive.  And the house is starting to fill up with dog beds that don't quite meet with her approval, I might add.  Anyway, not only does she like to sleep with the people, she prefers to be under the covers.  Part of the night, that is.  She gets cold (she is a short-haired dog) and dives in, sleeps for a couple of hours, gets too hot, and emerges.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I might add that on the too-cold cycle, she generally noses me in the back to raise the blankets enou gh for her to crawl under.  It's effective; her nose is very cold.
Roscoe is not quite 2.  In many dogs, that would be an adult age.  In a Lab-Whippet mix, it appears to be the equivalent of a toddler.  And across most of the night, he's actually well-behaved.  He likes the dog beds, and will curl up in them until about 4 am most nights.  After 4, however, he starts to wander the house.  He rises, shakes his head (flap-flap-flap-flap), and trots out of the bedroom door toward the kitchen (click-click-click-click-click).  According to my daughter, he shows up at her closed door and scratches to be let in.  She's been resisting this lately, so eventually he gives up and heads back to our end of the house (click-click-click-click) and jumps on the bed.  He's up and he wants to play.  Cute, really, all but for the timing.  And his aim - the jumps inevitably land on some organ inadequately protected by my skeleton.
So much for the dogs.  The cats really are a little less obtrusive at night, although they pack a wallop when they concentrate on it.  Muffin, who is a long-haired gray cat, spends the nights jumping up on our headboard from my side of the bed, sitting there for an indeterminate period, then jumping down on my husband's side.  Normally I can sleep through this.  Occasionally, though, she does one of two things: launches her jump from my actual face, rather than from the mattress; or falls off, nearly always onto me.  Not good - she generally draws blood in either case.
Two, our second cat (hence the name), is an old lady, and was feral for a while before deciding on the soft life and moving in with a friend who couldn't keep her.  She appears to retain a fond memory of the taste of field mouse.  Caught one in the house the other day (our house is about 50 years old and our yard is just uphill from a farm field).  Left it in the hallway near the kitchen, where on Saturday morning, I encountered it with a bare foot.
It's at moments like these that I would gladly trade them all for a pet rock.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lasik and Surrealism

(this is a test, but maybe I'll keep it)
I think it might be time to get my eyes checked.  I had Lasik about 6 years ago, and while my vision is still immeasurably better than before I had it, I am starting to suspect that it might not be quite as perfect as I need it to be.
A couple of examples, both from my commute home yesterday afternoon.  First, I was standing at the bus stop when a woman pulled up and parked a Subaru station-wagon-like thing where the bus normally arrives. (No, this isn't quite a Mr. Magoo story; I did NOT get on the station wagon expecting to get home).  As I watched her, she took an object of some sort from her carseated toddler in the back of the station wagon, messed with it a bit, and handed it back.  I'm sure it wasn't really a latex glove full of bees, but that's what it looked like to me.  I mean, that would violate all the principles of good parenting - the child might break the glove and choke on it, and bees are sharp objects - at least at one end.
She eventually pulled out and my bus arrived and I got on.  I was settling my stuff on the seat and glanced over the shoulder of the woman in the seat ahead of me to see what she was reading.  The title on the top of the open page said "The Sextons of Cavendish," and my initial reaction was that I would enjoy reading it myself - it sounded Victorian, possibly with clergy involved - something Trollope would have written.  Then she moved a bit and I caught a glimpse of the front cover, and I could read the title (in much larger type): "The Sex-lives of Cannibals".
I think I'll give the eye doctor a call - if this keeps up, I'm going to get myself in trouble.