Thursday, May 27, 2010

A PICTURE MAIL text from my father...


New Message

[Voice Memo]

Can u bring wire from Kellum to ranch after noon. ?Cat 6 wire

May 27, 7:46 PM


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Weather Weirdo on gross incompetence and a hurt right toe...

The nature of my backyard…

On Friday, May 14th, I went with one of my coworkers to the annual butterfly plant sale at Texas Discovery Gardens. Other than the fact that I was pretty sure I was paying money for potted weeds (Dude – they were selling hackberries. In pots. To plant in your yard. Voluntarily.), I was excited about the prospect of planting stuff that might attract a butterfly, hummingbird or two to my backyard.

I ended up purchasing five plants. A couple of lantanas, a flowering vine of some sort and two small, four-inch fennels. I was the most excited about the fennel, because it is also edible. Not that I know how to cook (much less how to cook with fennel), but the idea that I could cook with fennel if I was so inclined was exhilarating.

But my fennel came with an added bonus. A barely visible baby Anise swallowtail caterpillar I named “Bob”.

When I first brought Bob home, he was tiny and sort of looked like a little bird poop on one of the fennel branches. Over the next 10 days, though, he grew rapidly into a fat a$$ caterpillar that nearly ate both of my fennel plants bare.

I checked on Bob twice daily to monitor his progress. Once in the morning and again when I returned home from work. Yesterday morning, the little glutton was happily munching away. But when I returned home from yoga last night, Bob was gone.

I am hoping Bob decided yesterday was the day to leave the never-ending fennel buffet and make a chrysalis, not that some bird happened by and decided to eat Bob for lunch.


In somewhat unrelated news, I decided on a whim over the weekend to buy a birdfeeder. I figured this would:

  1. Feed the birds

  2. Be a relaxing/stress reducing activity for me

  3. Give Alley a sense of purpose as she patrols the backyard and enforces a strict squirrel-free zone

Of course, I was expecting instant bird-feeding gratification, and was slightly devastated that birds did not instantly flock to my feeder. As a result, I spent much of Sunday afternoon and early yesterday morning staring out our bedroom window at the feeder waiting for a bird to happen by. When this didn’t happen, I moped.

My sour mood was only exacerbated when I returned home last night to discover that Bob was missing. I pretty much hit rock bottom around 7:30 PM. I may have cried a tear or two. Over a caterpillar. At one point, I even had Trevor out in the backyard LOOKING for him. Luckily my husband realized how ridiculous it was to be looking for a bug outdoors, and sent his crazy wife indoors to take a shower.

Luckily for Trevor, my spirits greatly improved a few minutes later when I looked out our bedroom window to see two blue jays bathing in my birdbath and no less than five swallows stuffing their little beaks at my new feeder.

Bird feeding success!

Oh, joy and happiness!

My newfound elation didn’t last long, though, because I started to think through the events of the past 10 days:

  1. Bought fennel and (by default) Bob the caterpillar.

  2. Bob grew big and strong in the relative safety of my backyard.

  3. Birds flew over my yard with disinterest.

  4. Bought birdfeeder.

  5. Suddenly birds start paying attention to our house and yard.

  6. Birds appear.

  7. Bob disappears.

Conclusion: I may have inadvertently murdered Bob.

I may be over nature for awhile.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Squirrel Hunting...

...Or how Alley spends most of her free time in the backyard.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A new contender for the Darwin Award...

While driving on Mockingbird Lane over the weekend, Trevor and I saw the following:

Yes, yes. That would be a dude riding a bike while TEXTING. Please note that his hands are most definitely NOT on the handlebars.

Did I mention that Mockingbird Lane is a busy six lane road that runs through the heart of the city?

I swear, some people are just a$$holes...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, GYPSY KITTY WOO!!!

Today is the day that we celebrate Gypsy's birthday. Of course, we have no idea when her real "whelping date" is, but this is her unofficial (re)birthday (a.k.a. the anniversary of her adoption).

Because Gypsy is kind of a local celebrity, many people called and sent her Happy Birthday wishes. My favorite one is from RR, and is posted below:
From: RR
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 11:03 AM
To: Deals
Subject: Happy Birthday wishes

Good morning, Deals! Will you wish Gypsy Kitty a happy birthday from me and JLR? Or does she have her own cell phone yet? If so, I can call her directly.

From: Deals
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 12:20 PM
To: RR
Subject: RE: Happy Birthday wishes

Hello! Gypsy does not have her own cell phone (yet), but you can always call my house phone. She will be able to hear the message as you leave it on the recorder. She is spending the day in the hallway with extra Gypsy-friendly treats and chewies. Tonight she will be ringing in her 7th year with an antihistamine and some doggie ice cream (the ice cream isn’t Gypsy-friendly, but we make exceptions on special occasions).

She’ll be thrilled that you remembered!

From: RR
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 12:43 PM
To: Deals
Subject: RE: Happy Birthday wishes

I don’t think your home phone number transferred to my new(ish) cell phone. Would you mind emailing it to me? And while you’re doing that, could you send me your new mailing address, too? I can’t find where I wrote it down before.

Yea, what a nice day for Gypsy! You’re so good to her. She’s blessed to have you (and I know you feel the same about her).

From: Deals
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 2:20 PM
To: RR
Subject: RE: Happy Birthday wishes

Hahaha! Are you really going to call? Awesome.

XXXX Blah Blah Drive
Dallas, Texas 752XX

H: (214) XXX-XXXX

Gypsy waited by the phone for hours, but - sadly - the twins never called. I gave her an extra doggie ice cream to help mask the pain.

(JUST KIDDING, RR! Gypsy had a great evening. She got her Pup Ice, and we all sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Then, she got to snuggle with me on the couch while Trevor and I watched TV. It was a great day to be a dog!)

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Weirdo sporting a cowboy hat...

Need I say more?

A(n oh-so literal) Sign of the Times...

An interesting article for SO many reasons...
5 Ways to Ensure Mediocrity in Your Organization
by Liz Ryan
Monday, May 17, 2010
provided by
Business Week

The recession is no excuse for ignoring, misusing, or demeaning talent. But hey, if that's what you really want to do, follow these suggestions.

The last time I checked, the U.S. led the world in productivity per employee. That's the good news. The bad news is that much, if not all, of that boost in productivity has come on the backs of workers, especially salaried types viewed by too many management teams as infinitely elastic resources. As one management consultant told me: "The average company takes better care of its copiers than it does its talent."

Many chief executives use the tough competitive environment as a handy excuse to put off salary increases, tighten the screws on performance, and generally drop any pretense of creating a human-centered workplace. But the tough-economy picture has two sides. Only those companies that make the effort to keep their employees productive by treating them decently can expect to see continued productivity gains. Much of the workforce has tuned out, waiting for a more welcoming job market to make career moves. Those organizations that haven't wavered on their commitments to flexibility, recognition of talent, and transparent leadership will keep A-list players on board as the job market improves. Their competitors may be wishing they'd paid a little more attention to employee TLC as employees start peeling off for greener pastures.

Here are five of the most insulting leadership practices, the ones that virtually guarantee a business will end up with the most self-esteem challenged, optionless team members when the dust settles.

1. If you desire a mediocre workforce, make sure your employees know you don't trust them.

Nothing spells "You're dirt to us" like a corporate culture that screams, "We don't trust you as far as we can throw you." I refer to company policies that require employees to clock in and out for lunch or software that tracks every keystroke and change of URL in case a molecule of nonwork-related activity squeaks into the workday. When employees know they're not trusted, they become experts at "presenteeism"—the physical appearance of working, without anything getting done. Congratulations! Your inability to trust the very people you've selected to join your team has cost you their energy, goodwill, and great ideas.

2. If you want to drive talented people away, don't tell them when they shine.

Fear of a high-self-esteem employee is prevalent among average-grade corporate leadership teams. Look how hard it is for so many managers to say, "Hey Bob, you did a great job today." Maybe it's a fear that the bit of praise will be met with a request for a pay raise. Maybe it's the fear that acknowledging performance will somehow make the manager look weak. Whatever the reason for silence, leaders who can't say, "Thanks—good going!" can plan on bidding farewell to their most able team members in short order.

3. If you prefer a team of C-list players, keep employees in the dark.

Sharp knowledge workers want to know what's going on in their organizations, beyond their departmental silos. They want some visibility into the company's plans and their own career mobility. Leaders who can't stand to shine a light on their firms' goals, strategies, and systems are all but guaranteed to spend a lot of money running ads on Marketable top performers want a seat at the table and won't stand for being left in the dark without the information they need to do their jobs well.

4. If you value docility over ingenuity, shout it from the rooftops.

I heard from a new MBA who had joined a global manufacturer. "They told me during my first week that I need a manager's signature to organize a meeting," he recalled. "They said I'm too low-level to call a meeting on my own, because unauthorized meetings of nonmanagers are against company policy." How fearful of its employees would a leadership team have to be to forbid people to gather together to solve problems? The most desirable value creators won't stick around to be treated like children. They'll hop a bus to the first employer who tells them, "We're hiring you for your talent—now go do something brilliant."

5. If you fear an empowered workforce more than you fear the competition, squash any sign of individualism.

When you go to college, you learn about Economic Man, but in the corporate workplace we see that real people don't always act rationally. Lots of individual managers and plenty of leadership teams fear nothing more than the idea that a self-directed employee might buck authority. That's equivalent to shaking the organizational power structure to its foundation, possibly a fate worse than death. Leaders who want the most docile, sheep-like employees more than the smartest and ablest ones create systems to keep the C players on board and drive the A team out the door. They do it by instituting reams of pointless rules, upbraiding people for miniscule infractions ("What? Twenty minutes late? Sure you worked here until midnight last night, but starting time is starting time.") and generally replacing trust with fear throughout their organizations. Companies that operate in fear mode will never deliver great products and services to the marketplace. Their efforts will be hamstrung by their talent-repelling management practices.

How long will it take these enterprises to figure out they're shooting themselves in the foot? It doesn't matter—you'll be long gone by then.

Liz Ryan is an expert on the new-millennium workplace and a former Fortune 500 HR executive.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


This email is an obvious attempt to infect my computer with a virus (it came with a LARGE zip file for me to download and our server automatically regulated it to my junk email folder). That said, the text of the email completely cracks me up. I think it has something to do with the whole, "I have figured out that you have an available job", thing.

Love. It.

From: Scot Peterson
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:32 PM
To: Deals
Subject: Please look my CV. Thank you


I have figured out that you have an available job.
I am quiet intrested in it. So I send you my resume,

Looking forward to your reply.
Thank you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Making Note...

"We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And some people still wonder why some are afraid when they are told they are loved."
- Author Unknown

This morning I tripped up the stairs and rammed my arm into the wall. Hard. I now have a goose egg sized lump just below my right elbow.

And you know what my husband did when I showed him? Mocked me and then POKED. IT.


I married a supportive one, eh?

(Note: Trevor may or may not remember tonight's bruise poking events in the same order as I do. It should be remembered, however, that I am the one with the bruise. And it hurts. And Trevor did, INDEED, poke it. He "does not necessarily" agree with this disclaimer, either. He was obviously dead at the time he poked my bruise. Accidentally on purpose if not at all. Whatever. Trevor is such a drama king.)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

G-Wink Leg Wrestling...

And what is Mother's Day without a little sibling rivalry?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Trevor's Mission Trip to Arequipa, Peru...

A slideshow of Trevor's mission trip experience in Peru. The team was primarily there to help build a church in Arequipa, but they also spent afternoons visiting local orphanages and doing crafts with the kiddoes.

Trevor is already talking about going back next year…

Friday, May 07, 2010

If only...

...I could teach real Haskell the tricks
that come so easily to "Virtual Haskell"

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The incident involving the snake...

This afternoon I left the museum via the staff entrance on my way to lunch with my aunt.

It was very windy.

To get to my car, I have to pass a set of stairs that lead up to the elevated front lawn of the museum.

The wind gusted. A stick blew down the stairs in my direction.

Thinking that the stick was going to hit my leg, I turned slightly to avoid it. The stick moved with me.

And it was then that I realized that the stick wasn’t a stick.

It was a snake. A BIG snake. And it was coming right at me.

I simultaneously jumped, screamed and started running. I’m pretty sure I looked like a cartoon. And the snake? He chased (slithered) after me!

After what seemed like hours (but was probably no more than five seconds) the snake diverted into the bushes to hide from the dude on the lawnmower cutting grass.

It was only after some of the "fight or flight" panic started to subside did I realize that I had an audience. Five guys planting flowers at the building next door had taken a break to laugh hysterically at my ordeal.

Seriously. They were bent over.

Mortified and still shaking with adrenalin, I walked – head down – to my car, got in and drove away.

Meanwhile, the snake patiently awaits its next unsuspecting victim…

The end.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

If I survive the next five days...

...I am totally having a Tom Collins.

No, I don't know what that is. I hear it has alcohol in it, though.

I plan to drink it slowly while critiquing art from west Texas and listening to the best of Genesis. A little Hold on my Heart, perhaps? I may even get a bit crazy and decide to have an academic conversation about the fall of the Alamo. Because, you know, why not?

That's just how I roll.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Still Weird...

Calm after the storm...

Holy Hairiness, Batman!

Can we just discuss Shawn?

Because I need to. I've been meaning to for days, and I can wait no longer.

Shawn is the yoga instructor at this new studio Susie and I tried last week.

Ya'll - not only did he answer the door of the studio in nothing more than his bathing suit, but that is also all he wore while he was teaching. Granted, it was hot. A steamy 98.6 degrees to be exact. And I might not have been so adverse to his wearing his bathing suit if he had a body I cared to stare at for ninety minutes. Not that he had a bad body, mind you. It was just covered in hair. Thick, curly, brown hair everywhere. He was like a human chia pet. And the bathing suit wasn't the kind that moved with him, if you know what I mean. There were at least six times I was pretty sure I was about to see more of Shawn than I (ever) wanted to. And two more where I thought the bathing suit might rip apart at the seams. Luckily, Shawn's suit was made of the same material as Superman's speedo, so no one had to make "little Shawn's" acquaintance.

After the class was over, Shawn passed out awards to other attendees. Susie and I didn't win anything. Instead, Shawn suggested that we come back to another beginner class before moving on. He gave us a schedule, circled upcoming classes that he would be teaching, gave us his personal cell phone number, a packet of electrolytes and sent us on our way.

Now, it is important to mention that Susie and I have both been to yoga classes before. That is not to say that Susie and I are yoga experts, by any means. We just aren't beginners. We attended the beginner class at the new studio mainly to orient ourselves and familiarize ourselves with their lingo and ways of doing things. So, it was a little disconcerting that Shawn didn't feel that Susie and I were up to the challenge of advancing. We were game, though, and told Shawn we'd be back.

That was last Wednesday.

When Shawn didn't see us on Thursday (a mere 24 hours later), he called us both to check on us, see how we were feeling, and remind us of his class schedule. Oh, and he gave me his cell phone number - twice - just incase I had misplaced it.

Sorta creepy there Shawn. Sorta creepy.

Susie and I decided to use Shawn's schedule against him, and intentionally choose an earth class that took place at the same time Shawn was teaching fire. And, despite Shawn's concern that we weren't ready, I think Susie and I both did fine. Our instructor definitely didn't say anything to suggest we needed to take a step back.

Our luck did run out, however, when it came time to leave. Apparently, Shawn's fire class ended early, so he was sitting at the front desk. He kind of gave us "the eye" as we filed past, and reminded us both that he wanted to see us both in another beginner class soon.

I was just glad I recognized him with a shirt on.

So far, there haven't been any more messages from Shawn, but it has only been 48 hours. Anything is still possible.


Trevor’s home! I met him and the rest of the mission team at the airport yesterday morning. My husband’s first words to me were, “Oh, look! You are wearing the same shirt you had on the last time I saw you!”

Since I wore it last EIGHT DAYS AGO, the aforementioned shirt had been washed, ironed, folded and placed back in my t-shirt drawer. And because all the washing, ironing and folding had just taken place in the last couple of days, the shirt was on top. Minimal thought was paid to my outfit Sunday morning. Trevor was – quite frankly – lucky I had thrown on clean clothes when I rolled out of bed. Plus, to be fair, I hadn’t worn that particular t-shirt in over a week. Don’t I get credit for that?

And of course I cried. Because that is what I do in front of the mission team, apparently. For some reason, I am a walking water works around those people. I cried – randomly – at the last mission team meeting on April 18th. Then again when I had to say “goodbye” to Trevor on the 24th. And it honestly hadn’t occurred to me to cry when I welcomed him back until one of the other mission team members yelled from the escalator, “Don’t worry! He is coming! Don’t cry!”

So, yeah. I cried when I saw him. Even after he disclosed my lack of wardrobe creativity to the entire baggage claim.

The ba$tard.

One of the other mission team members tried to put a positive spin on my tears by referring to me as “sentimental”. Trevor found this humorous. Next time I should make a mental note to miss him less.

Only after I dried my eyes did Trevor start in on my diet in his absence. How was I supposed to know that he had Wi-Fi in Peru? The hostel where they were staying was described as having “occasional hot water”. I figured the chances of it having wireless internet was slim to none. Yet it did. And because Trevor had nothing better to do than check my blog, he was more than aware of my diet of popcorn and Cheerios.

Trevor: “Do we have any food at the house?”

Me: “Ummm...”

Trevor: “I am guessing we are out of popcorn and Cheerios?”

Me: “Actually, we still have plenty of those.”

Trevor: “How is that possible?”

Me: “Well, I ran out of milk on Wednesday, so that was kind of it for the Cheerios. Luckily, dad’s birthday was Thursday, and Mel came over for dinner on Friday. And I had meal replacement bars for the meals in between.”

Trevor: “And last night?”

Me: “Popcorn. I figured it was only appropriate since you were returning today. Like a farewell to a good friend.”