31 May 2006

The Amazing True Adventures of the Global Nomad

As promised, the chronicle of my travels to Minneapolis. The following story is true. Not even the names have been changed to protect the innocent, primarily because nobody in the story is particularly innocent. Warning: It is long.

It started on Mothers' Day. The Day of Mothers dawned bright and fair in Visalia. Jeff and I arose and went to church; Jeff had some hearty handshakes, while I skillfully and sullenly avoided any real contact with people (I was forced to shake hands during the “greet” section of the service—I consider such activity highly inappropriate, by the way—but I didn’t smile while doing it, so it doesn’t count, right?) and reflected on the fact that the Christian flag was partially hidden by the left end of the stage, while the US flag was in full sight on the right. WTF? Well, as my dad always says, “Never ascribe to malice what can be adequately accounted for by stupidity.”
We picked up Debbie at her house, and went up to the mountains (Sequioa Park, to exact), because that is what she said she wanted to do. It was actually very nice. The weather was warm enough for me to wear a tank top, but not too warm for comfort. We drove into the park (after purchasing a year entry pass to the park for $30, when just the one day cost $20), and climbed Moro Rock. It was good exercise, and I always enjoy a nice big rock. The sad thing is that all the fun parts of the rock are beyond the railings that have been erected, and Jeff will not allow me to clamber around on the so-called “dangerous” sections. *sulk sulk* Actually, I’m smart enough to know when to climb on big steep rocks, and when to leave well enough alone: it’s called risk management, people, and it’s the main reason why I’m still alive after some decades of playing with fire, fording through leech-and-schistosome-infested waters, and leaping about on boulders like a mountain goat. You gotta know which risks to take, and which to leave well enough alone. Moro Rock, beyond boundaries, is a leave-alone. So says the Kiti Fantastico. Aside from the constrictive rails, Moro Rock is very fun because they have informative placard things along the stairs, so you can stop and read about the geology and flora and fauna of the park. Since I know far more about tropical rainforests than sequoia redwood forests, and since I love reading informative placards, I had great fun with beautiful scenery, and cracking jokes with Debbie and Jeff.
When you climb up a rock, you must climb back down, and so we did. Then we drove around the park some more, but I must confess that I just don’t like trees as much as I like rocks, so I wasn’t too enthused about doing any more hiking. Debbie likes dogwood trees, and she is, of course, an amateur botanist, so I would imagine she likes the forest qua forest, whereas I consider it worthwhile mostly as a setting for big rocks to climb. After Debbie and Jeff took some pictures of a blooming dogwood (while I sat in the car and read In Style magazine, because I’d already encountered Nature for the day, thank you very much), we drove back down through Three Rivers (the water is high, due to the precipitation of the winter, which is apparently now melting out and running off in the streams and rivers) and got ice cream and candy at Reimers. I think the candy is overpriced, but the ice cream is fabulous. Mmmmm. Then we dropped Debbie at home, and went to enjoy some of the Netflix that we’d finally gotten—Angel. As we were settling in for a restful evening, the phone rang.
It was Frank (my boss, FYI). There was an crisis situation with a mission in Minnesota: Dave, who was scheduled to go, and had actually traveled as far as Las Vegas, had a medical emergency, and was in a hospital there. Alice couldn’t go because of a family situation. I, the untested one, the virgin solo trainer, was our only hope. *gulp* The mission started on Monday morning, 8:00 Central Time. It was just before 7:30 pm on Sunday evening, Pacific Time. Could I go?
Well, I decided that I could, even if it meant leaving my Jeffrey and my Netflix behind, and venturing to unfamiliar territory without having even done training with a shadow for backup. I got off the phone, and started throwing stuff into a duffle bag, while suddenly going into unaccustomed panic mode. Jeff took me down to the office, where Frank had some paperwork, the laptop, and my manuals ready to go, and we zipped up to the Fresno airport. It was tense, since my America West flight was supposed to leave at 9:15 pm. I wasn’t too scared about missing the flight, though. Frank drove really fast.
Long story short, I made my flight to Vegas, although there was some interesting drama at the check-in/ticket counter. The man in front of me in line took a long time dealing with his issue: he had a gun, and had a permit to carry it, but apparently he just didn’t have the proper container for it. There was a prolonged discussion:
Man: I’ve never had a problem carrying it before.
Ticket agent: I’m sorry, but these are regulations. You have to get a proper lockable container.
Man: But there are no bullets in it! It can’t be fired anyway.
Ticket agent: Let me get you the container with an approved lock.
Etc. etc. etc.
I told the agent, “I have to get on flight XXXX to Las Vegas.”
He said, “Don’t worry. I’ll get you on.”
So I was pretty sure I had a good chance. When he finally checked me in, he noted that my ID did not match my ticket name (ID still in maiden name)—not a big deal, but he marked me for an extra security search by placing some esses on my boarding pass, saying, “If I mark you ahead of time, they will search you, but they won’t give you a hard time about your ID, since they’ll know that I’ve already checked it. If I let you through, they might stop you at the security checkpoint, and it might be harder to get through, then.”
I didn’t care if they made me tap dance and sing “Moon River” at the security checkpoint, as long as I made my flight, so it was all good. I gave a quick call to Frank, who was standing by just in case I didn’t make the flight, and told him that I’d checked in and was good to go. I apologized for the delay, and hollered something about a man with a gun, which probably sounded alarming without context, but then I had to hang up quickly, as I reached the security line. When I got to the metal detector gate, sure enough, they pulled me aside and told me, “You’ve been randomly selected for an extra security screening.” Hilarious! I didn’t care about being searched, since the most dangerous thing in my bag was a book that might cause paper cuts, but I thought it was ridiculous for them to tell me the search was “random”. The ticket agent told me it was going to happen, as he marked SSSS on my boarding pass, to intentionally trigger the search. NOTE TO TSA: Most people may be as stupid as you think they are, but some of us are not. Do us the courtesy of giving us some credit. Sheesh.
Anyway. I boarded the plane after most of the other passengers, but they weren’t even close to closing the door, and gun guy (who was, on top of everything else, wearing a wild Hawaiian print shirt) got on the plane after me, so it was all good. Then, we waited and waited to take off, because there was some sort of delay, and we didn’t get off the ground till nearly 30 minutes after we were scheduled. And we had this crazy flight attendant named Doris, who seriously seemed as if she didn’t know what she was doing. When she read little safety lecture, she kept taking looong pauses, and stumbling over words. It was a little bit frightening.
I like landing in Las Vegas at night: the city is all lit up, and from a height, you can’t tell that it is trashy and dirty. I looked especially for the Luxor, and spotted it: the pyramid with this huge upward-facing searchlight. I don’t know why it was so important for me to see it; maybe I’m just easily attracted to shiny things.
When we landed, we were more than half an hour late, so I had to book it from my terminal to my connecting flight. I was leaving from some terminal way out on the edge of the LV airport, I think, because I had to take a tram thingie and rush along a corridor to get to my gate, only to discover that… my connecting flight had just taken off! OH, NO, YOU DI’N’T!!! There was a Supremely Uninterested and Unhelpful Airline Employee to tell me, and another passenger (who I recognized from being on the flight from Fresno), that we were just out of luck.
Me: I HAVE to get to Minneapolis by 8 am, their time.
Other Guy: Me, too!
SUAUAE: The next flight to Minneapolis leaves at 6 am.
Me: But we missed our flight because YOUR airline was late taking off. It wasn’t our fault! You have to accommodate us.
SUAUAE: We don’t have any more flights going to Minneapolis tonight. Sorry.
Me and the Other Guy: Then get us a flight on another airline.
SUAUAE: There is a Northwest flight to Minneapolis. You can try to get that.
Me: Oh, believe me, I’ll be on it.
At this point, you may well believe, I was just bound and determined to get to Minneapolis. It would have been too ridiculous for TWO of us trainers to be stranded in Vegas. I thought about calling Frank, but decided that he was counting on me, and I was going to not bother him until I absolutely had to. I took the tram back to the main airport area, and asked for directions to the Northwest Air counter. The Other Guy followed me, since he didn’t know how to get there, but was genetically incapable of asking for directions.
I marched up to the NWA counter and told them my tale of woe. There was this crazy ticket counter guy (named Bill) who was very helpful yet couldn’t work his computer, so he had to keep asking other people to do stuff for him; however, with the help of other employees, he worked his mojo and got me one of the last seats on the NWA flight to Minneapolis. Yes! I’d lost track of the Other Guy, though, so I don’t know if he got on or not. The flight left Las Vegas at 1 am, so I went to the waiting area to just, well, wait. I had to go back through a security gate, of course, and I was yet again selected for a “random” extra security check. I told them I didn’t care, as long as I made my flight.
I was able to snooze on the plane, fortunately, so I had a few hours of sleep when the flight touched down in MSP (Minneapolis-Saint Paul) airport. It was 6 am, and I had two hours to claim my luggage, freshen up in the airport bathroom, grab a taxi, and arrive like a perky daisy at the client site. There was only one flaw in my plan: While I made it to Minneapolis, my luggage did not. Seriously.
I went to the luggage claim and waited for a long time, but my duffel bag never came around. Hmm. I went to the NWA luggage counter, but there was no one there. I waited for more than half an hour, along with a few other irate customers. No one came. A sign by the counter gave a number to call for help with lost luggage. I called the number (I am nothing if not proactive that way), and they told me to go to the luggage counter, since they couldn’t help me if I didn’t have a lost luggage claim number or some such thing, and of course, I had to get a lost luggage claim form from the lost luggage counter. I told them, “There is NO ONE AT THE LUGGAGE COUNTER.” They said, “There must be; they start at 4:30 am.” However, since I was standing right there and not seeing anyone at the luggage counter, they finally advised me to go up to the Northwest Air check-in counter and talk to someone there. Aha! I knew there had to be a real live person at the check-in counter. After a conversation with an employee there, I was (predictably) told to go to America West (after all, they had checked my luggage in Fresno); equally predictably, America West sent me back to NWA, as I had a luggage transfer document that had been given to me by NWA’s Bill back in Las Vegas. NWA, still unable to deal with their own problems, sent me back downstairs to the luggage counter. I told them, “There is NO ONE AT THE LUGGAGE COUNTER.” NWA guy: “There must be. They start really early in the morning. Let me give them a call.” He called downstairs to check. Surprise, surprise, there was no answer at the luggage counter phone. He told me to go down anyway, and I don’t blame him, since he was the check-in counter guy, trying to handle checking people in on a busy Monday morning. But seriously, when I said, “There is no one at the luggage counter,” why wouldn’t people believe me? I don’t understand.
What could I do? I went back down the escalator to the luggage area. This was the only time during my trip that I came close to tears. I made myself snap out of it, reminding myself, “Honestly, Deb, this is not even close to the worst you’ve had it. Think of Heathrow in January 2003.” Anyway. So there I was at the luggage counter. The other irate lost-luggage customers were still there. Finally, a NWA employee came to the counter and said, “Oh, sorry. We had two people call in sick this morning, and only just now realized it.” Idiots. And I bet they get away with it because they’re union. Idiots. But the long and the short of it was that my luggage just hadn’t arrived yet in MSP. The Idiot Luggage Counter Guy could track it, thanks to my luggage claim ticket and luggage transfer document, so he assured me that it would arrive later that day. *sigh* I gave him my hotel address, so that they could drop off my bag when it came, and made it clear that I expected it by evening.
Now, bear in mind, Dear Reader, that I really, really needed my bag. I really, really needed some deodorant and a toothpaste/toothbrush combo. I had spent the previous afternoon hiking among the Sequoias, and had not had the chance to shower, change, or even brush my teeth since then. I was still wearing the clothes I’d worn. I looked neither fresh nor attractive.
Well, I had to do without deo or a toothbrush. Fortunately, I nearly always carry a brush and some makeup in my purse, so I had those to work with. Furthermore, I had a packet of gum. Score! I splashed water on my face, patted it dry, and applied some makeup in order to look a little less corpse-like, then brushed out my hair, all while chomping furiously on some wintergreen-flavored gum. Luckily, I am not prone to sweatiness or smelliness, so my scent was mostly influenced by that distinctive sun-block odor, but I still felt a little self-conscious. And I was wearing jeans, a tank top, and a casual sweater. On my first-ever solo training mission. With a very large and prominent client company.
Oh, well. What could I do? I made myself as ready as I could, then went out to find a taxi. Airports are usually good, in that they have approved (i.e. safe and fairly honest) taxi companies available, so I was able to catch a ride to downtown Minneapolis. The driver was nice enough (Arabic, if I don’t miss my guess), and even with my misadventures and morning traffic, I was only 10 minutes late to the client site!
Frank had called ahead and notified the client of the change in plans, so my contact (Thom) was very kind and generous to me. I was able to get set up and get the training done, despite network problems and the fact that the client wanted only certain specific things to be taught. No problem, as I was able to accommodate very well.
Naturally, by the end of the day, I was very tired. Conveniently, my hotel was basically across the street from the client site, so I just walked over. When I arrived, my bag was waiting for me at the front desk! Such a sweet reunion! Of course, it couldn’t be all happy: there were some difficulties with authorizing the credit card for the hotel room (due to the fact that it was a company card), but they were resolved, thanks to the fabulous team at my company. Suffice to say that I’d had quite enough adventures to fill my past 24 hours.
I called Jeff and then Mum (I said, “It’s 6 pm in California. Do you know where your daughter is?” Heheh.). Special thanks to Jeff for being such a good sport about letting me go traipsing off to middle America on 30 minutes’ notice!

So there you have it. There is more, naturally, for how could one visit historic Minneapolis without a few more stories? But those will have to wait.

26 May 2006

Seven days without blogging makes one week.

I didn't blog for a week, just to see if I could.

I've been home, but busy.

Monday, I almost passed out at work. I was sitting in my chair at my desk, and the room suddenly did an impression of a tilt-a-whirl.

Um, that's all. I'm still working on typing up the story of traveling to Minneapolis.

17 May 2006


Hey, all! I'm just seizing a moment to drop you a line from the hotel business center (the 24-hour business center was hidden behind the 8:30-4:30 business center). It's my last night in Minneapolis. Yes, that's right. I'm in Minnesota. That's why I haven't been updating for the past few days.

Have I got a tale for you! It'll have to wait till next time, though.

13 May 2006


For reasons involving our cable internet having problems and the cable guy being unable to fix it earlier in the week, we've actually had TV (broadcast plus some cable channels). Thus, we've been totally trashy and watching TV for hours since Tuesday; it's been all Law & Order, all the time. The cable guy is coming tomorrow, so the TV will go away, and while it's been fun, I'm glad, because I'm getting a bit tired of seeing so much crime and evilness. Yeesh.

Let's see. In other news, I heard the weirdest song on the radio (103.3), by the name of "Ape Call".

I've been struggling a lot with insomnia. I'm not sure if it's the change in the weather, or the fact that it's staying lighter later and later into the night, or what. I've been inflicted with insomnia for more than a decade. It sucks to be so tired all the time, but I'm trying to cope.

12 May 2006


FRUIT: Durian. Something that I might find in the US? Mango.
CANDY: Black licorice.
BEVERAGE: Beer. Or Dr Pepper.
COLOR: Orange. (Sorry, Debbie!)
TOWN/CITY: Hmm. Wow. The least favorite place I've ever lived was Wheaton, IL.
TV SHOW: Reality shows or talk shows. Tacky and boring.
MOVIE: The first one that springs to mind is Pearl Harbor. I hated it so much, I couldn't even finish watching it.
ASPECT OF MYSPACE: The interface is so ugly. It's even uglier when people customize their sites. Ugh. I loathe MySpace.
ASPECT OF INSTANT MESSENGER: I like IM. Got nothing against it.
ANIMAL: Cows are smelly.
INSECT: Mosquitoes changed my life for the worse, what with chronic malaria and all. Cockroaches are just nasty.
BIRD: I dunno. A crow, maybe?
SEASON: Autumn or winter. I hate being cold.
AGE OF KIDS: Any age before they're old enough to have intelligent, interesting conversations.

DRIVING? People who leave their blinkers on, but don't merge or turn. A close second: Big vans of illegal immigrant farm workers, driven slowly but erratically, threatening the safety of everyone else on the road.
TALKING ON THE PHONE: I just don't like talking on the phone, anyway.
WATCHING TV OR MOVIES: When the characters are illogical, and it drives me crazy because I have to figure out how to reconcile everything, and I end up saying, "Jeff, I don't understaaaaaaand!"
EATING IN RESTAURANTS: When the menu fails to mention certain ingredients (like mushrooms or tomatoes) in a dish that I order.
GOING THROUGH DRIVE-THRUS: When one orders, and then is told, "Sorry, we're out of that item. What can I get you instead?" Well, I wanted that item. If you list it on your menu, you should sell it.
YOU'RE AT THE MALL: All the ugly outfits in the store windows.
SLEEPING (OR TRYING TO SLEEP): The fact that I have to sleep. I'd rather be awake and doing things.
YOU'RE AT THE BEACH: It's cold and windy, and sand gets in your eyes and mouth and hair and everywhere...
YOU'RE AT THE GROCERY STORE: When the store is out of the item I want.
COOKING OR BAKING: When I follow the recipe, and it gets ruined anyway.

WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD BE THE ABSOLUTE WORST WAY TO DIE? By doing something stupid, that was totally my fault.
WHAT'S THE MOST ANNOYING HABIT IN OTHERS? Not taking my very wise advice.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST HABIT? Eating junk food and refusing to work out.
WHAT FASHION TREND (PAST OR PRESENT)? Anything from the 1980s.
MOST IRRITATING THING ABOUT YOUR CAR: So glad you asked. There's that whole demon car alarm thing, when the alarm goes off for no particular reason.
TO BE COMPLETELY STEREOTYPICAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST ANNOYING THING ABOUT GUYS? The fact that many of them use their penises rather than their brains to make decisions.

TO BE COMPLETELY STEREOTYPICAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST ANNOYING THING ABOUT GIRLS? For some reason, a lot of girls seem to be driven more by emotion than by logic. I don't understand.

10 May 2006

Home again, home again

Last night, I drove back up to V-town with the Warrior Princess. I had my first day of real training on Tuesday, so it was an important day. Overall, it went very well.

Today was business as usual.

I can't really think of anything interesting to say.

09 May 2006


Well, here I am in sunny (ha!) southern California. I drove down with Alice (aka Warrior Princess, aka WP) last night, and we started up with training this morning.

But back to the weekend. Friday evening, Jeff planned to go to a Halo party at church, so I made plans of my own. I arranged to go over to Debbie and Jerry's house, where we watched Mean Girls while I sorted my Israel photos. It was very enjoyable. I saw a lot of Debbie's garden, too, and it looks very nice right now.

Saturday morning, we woke up and went to the library book sale, which is something we often enjoy. We didn't eat breakfast (we're stupid that way, even though we know it's a bad idea), so we were starving, and had to find something to eat downtown. After that, we went to some stores, and then returned home. We had found out that there was a performance of Sleeping Beauty at the local community theater (their last for the season), so we bought tickets on a whim (at $7 per ticket, it's cheaper than a movie) and went out for an evening at the theater (after having dinner at a yummy Thai place). We really enjoyed it, even if it was a bit cheesy, since it turned out that it was really geared for young children. We need to remember to pay attention to the various arts opportunities in Visalia; apparently there are a few community theater groups, not to mention musical things happen on a regular basis. Even in the Central Valley, though, it's not necessarily inexpensive to go to more local entertainment. Grr.
Anyway, since our play was for children, it ended by 8:30 pm. We decided to make a night of it, and upon returning home, watched the movie Go. I wasn't sure what to make of it, at first, but found myself enjoying it when I finally identified it as a very dark comedy.

We went to the 10:30 church service, then ate lunch and picked up my rental car for the trip down south. After napping and packing in the afternoon, it was time for me to go out, pick up Alice from her house, and drive down to Orange County (our hotel is just a few miles from where I used to live).

We did important stuff today, then ate dinner, and met up with my family (Dad and Mum, Dan and Mia) and a few friends (Elizabeth, the Winters) at Capriccio Gelato Caffe. Once again, let me urge you all to patronize this establishment, if you live in the area. It is delicious and authentic Italian gelato, conveniently located in the Amerige Heights shopping center. A filling little dish of ice cream costs about the same amount as a drink from Starbucks, but is more exotic. It's a great place to meet friends and enjoy life.

Now, I am in the hotel room, about to shower and go to bed. I have my first experience training with an actual customer tomorrow. Yeek! Love to all.

05 May 2006


I am doing better tonight than I was last night. A reliable source informed me that the annoying parent with whom I had issues is just prone to being difficult and paranoid. I'm guessing the problem isn't so much with me, then. I can let it go.

This morning, at work, my friend/co-worker Tara noted that I was tired and stressed, and asked me what was going on. I told her about the parent-teacher issue, and she said, "I know exactly what you mean!" Of course she does. Tara teaches dance classes at a local studio. She has to deal with pushy dance moms. Often. Lots of them. All at one time. Suddenly, my little problem didn't seem so bad at all...

So anyway, I worked hard at getting battle-ready at work. I'm going down to shadow some training in Orange County next week. I'll be there Monday and Tuesday. If folks want to get together on one of the evenings (though not too late on Tuesday), maybe we can gather at some place like The Block or Downtown Disney. You can meet my fun-loving friend/co-worker Alice, too.

I made pizzarillas (pizzas made on tortilla crust) for supper, and then managed to wash the dishes and tidy a lot of the kitchen. Now, Jeff is playing Halo, and I'm finishing my blog and then going to work on sorting a few more pictures for the Israel scrapbook.

Nearly forgot to post this!

It is 04/05/06!!!

04 May 2006


Remember when I was so happy and excited because I was able to tutor a student in math? Well, said student really made progress, but because I was essentially starting from ground zero in geometry skills, it was pretty challenging to cover a lot of basic information in a few hours. The student made progress. I found out recently, however, that the student did not pass the test for which we were preparing. Well, I did my best and fulfilled my contractual obligations, so I didn't worry about it too much, but when the student's parent contacted me with some more math issues, I tried to be helpful, so I offered a list of suggestions for possible reasons for the failure, and things to do to address them. Since I don't know a lot about the student's history and situation, I mentioned a variety of possibilities. I honestly tried to be tactful and helpful.
I got a moderately angry reply from the parent, telling me that I shouldn't make assumptions, and had no right to say what I did, etc. etc. etc. Well, if my suggestions are unhelpful, I don't care if people disregard them, and/or just don't want to look into them. It's a free country, and I willingly gave free advice (didn't charge them for my time), so it doesn't offend me if people don't like my suggestions. It's difficult to actually offend me, believe it or not. It is, however, quite easy to annoy me, and it annoys me when people go off half-cocked. I never made absolute statements, or told the parent that such-and-such HAD to be done, so I thought it was clear that my suggestions were just that: suggestions. Yeesh.
I sent back what I think is a nicely worded, diplomatic note that offers reasons why I said some of the things that I did (and had made one unwarranted assumption, so I admitted to it), and emphasized that my intent was to be helpful, and if my suggestions were not applicable or helpful, they could and should be freely disregarded. Maybe I didn't adequately communicate the casualness of my suggestions in my first e-mail, so I tried to emphasize them in the second. I think the fact that I consider certain things to be obvious and logical might occasionally become a problem when they are not obvious and logical to others. Have I ever mentioned that I SUCK at dealing with people? It is not really that I'm thoughtless; it's mostly because it just doesn't occur to me that people won't read between the lines of my dry written communication, or that they will be more in tune with their feelings than their (or their children's) grasp of y=mx+b or the Pythagorean theorem.
But if I ever become one of those uptight homeschool mothers who think that everyone is out to get me, you have my permission to lock me in a room and throw volumes of Plato at me until I come to my senses.
And if I live many more years and still suck at dealing with people, you should likewise lock me in a room and throw volumes of Plato at me.
Well, you know what? I still love teaching math, and I know I'm good at it. Everything else, as the saying goes, is just details.

03 May 2006

Lucky? Hmmm.

It was lovely to spend so much time with my mum and sister last weekend. They have so many amazing and admirable qualities that I lack, and it's good for me to be around them, to try and acquire at least a veneer of goodness and kindness. But I have to think that in some areas, I won the genetic lottery in my family.

If you are single and male, stop reading now. I mean it.

I don't have particularly strong girl hormones. I don't have much pain with cramps, and I handle it all quite well. I have been blithely and relatively unaffected by such matters ever since, well, I was old enough potentially be affected by them. I remember feeling such pity for all those girls in my dorm, who screamed in pain and took special medication when their periods would come. I felt pity, but I didn't really understand.
Well, this past weekend, we were discussing something regarding weight gain, including birth control weight and all that fun stuff (yes, I can eat whatever I want and still remain on the slender side, but even I have some excess flab from birth control), and the other poor ladies in my family have turned out to be afflicted with much more female pain and stuff than I ever have. Sparing everyone the details, let me just say that I learned something new about human biology. Mom and Mia both complained about "mid pains". Huh? Never heard of them.
Mom: And the worst part is that you have cramps in the middle of your cycle, too.
Me: Huh? What are you talking about?
Mom: You know, the mid pains, when you cramp while ovulating.
Me: Huh? What are you talking about?
Mia: Yeah, the pain is more intense, because it's concentrated more around your ovaries. So it's like, the cramps and pain don't really stop, all month long.
Me: Huh? What are you talking about?
Mom: You don't get mid pains? You don't get cramps in the middle of your cycle?
Me: No, I've never heard of this. What are you talking about?
Mom: Some women get intense cramping in the middle of the month. It happens when your body is moving the egg from the ovaries.
Me: Oh, quit it. You're pulling my leg. I've studied human biology and the human reproductive cycle. There's nothing about any of this in my biology books.
Mom and Mia: Those biology books were written by men!
Well, I went and looked it up on the internet, and it's on all the reputable medical websites. It really does exist, and it even has a technical name (in German): mittelschmerz. How is it that I've been a girl for nearly 3 decades, and I've never heard of such a thing till now?!
So, anyway, I'm guessing that maybe I don't ovulate regularly. How weird is that? [And how weird is it that I can talk about stuff like this on my blog? Well, I'm a biologist at heart. It doesn't bother me.] I'm probably just less fertile than either my mom was or my sister will be. I think it's so interesting that the same combination of genetic material (my mom's and my dad's) turned out two such different end results: my sister and me.
Mia takes after the Kalen (paternal grandmother) side, physically, with darker skin and brown hair; she is naturally athletic, as befits the daughter of healthy Scandinavian immigrant stock. Mia is sensitive, artistic, and compassionate. She wants lots of babies, and she is ideally suited to bear and nurture them.
I take after our mom with my face shape and coloring; I am built like a dancer, with compact torso but long limbs, and not a lot of muscle. I am introspective, sarcastic, and (I hope) logical: a scientist or scholar to the core. I appreciate babies (and I appreciate the fact that other people have them), but don't really want one of my own, since cats are doing well for me right now, and I'd rather have a career (yes, I like books better than babies; deal with it). Pretty much the only thing that Mia and I have in common is our X chromosome!
Way to go with sorting out the genetic probabilities, Mom and Dad!

02 May 2006

Moving along

I had a good day at work, but I thought that things moved a little slowly. Oh, well.

Today, we got a new girl, who will be doing sales and business development stuff, so we all went out to lunch. It was fun, and there was a discussion about the fact that the solutions specialists are being given call signs. Heehee. Dave is Mad Max (the Road Warrior: he travels a lot), Alice is the Warrior Princess, Keith is Chong, and I am (wait for it) The Professor. Fun! Now I must become erudite and elite in my excellence.

Anyway, well, Mom and Mia left early yesterday afternoon. I had a lazy Sunday afternoon, and then went to Bible study at church. It was okay, although the people in it seem to be rather immature and excessively silly. My former Bible study (at Grace in Long Beach) was full of serious, intense, and educated people (three Talbot people, one of the church elders, some other serious and intelligent people), with ages ranging from mid-twenties to mid-forties. I think I'm just more accustomed to that sort of environment, so I'll have to learn to adapt to the new Bible study.

Jeff came home tonight, so we're watching Voyager. =)

01 May 2006

Zero Tolerance

Okay, I'm announcing a new zero tolerance policy toward stupidity. Stupid people and stupid ideas make me tired, and they destroy society and civilization as we currently know it. The problem with the US today is that it is geared to pander to the lowest common denominator, and boy, are there a lot of people in that category. I, for one, refuse to tolerate it any more. I am waging an all-out war against stupidity.

Jeff encouraged me to begin this policy, as he hears me being repeatedly amazed that stupid people are allowed so much credibility in this society. People are allowed to get away with presenting arguments, in national media, that are illogical and irrelevant. How did this happen? Why does no one challenge such things? When did the accepted national language of the US cease to be English and become instead irrational insipidity?

Today is the day that, so it is reported, illegal immigrants will boycott work in order to show that they are vital to the workforce, etc. [Hint to employers: If your employee(s) did not show up to work today, you might want to check into immigration status.] This whole ILLEGAL immigration bill thing has been much in the news lately, of course, and I've just been waiting and expecting it to all blow over. Despite my low faith in human nature, I've been assuming that eventually, logical application of God-given intelligence will prevail, and people will stop being stupid and start looking at reality and approaching the issue to find some viable and lawful solutions. Jeff finally disabused me of this notion: "People are going to just keep being stupid, Deb," he said. "They're not going to suddenly start using their brains, and there are some people who are actively trying to keep them from it, because having sway over a large group of stupid people is a powerful position." ["Get all the fools on your side, and you can be elected to anything." -Frank Dane.] Wow. So depressing. I have read so much nonsense on the issue, and people persist in emphasizing non-essentials in an effort to hide essentials: Vis., there is much nattering about the bill being aimed at immigrants (which is true, but not the whole truth), and everyone apparently flaps their hands around, and forgets that the keyword in this debate is ILLEGAL. A moderately well-known film actor of Colombian descent supports the protests and boycotts, and stated in a news article that it's ridiculous for people to be called criminals simply because they are immigrants. Well, of course that is true, but it is not ridiculous for people to be called criminals if they are found to be ILLEGAL immigrants. Because they are illegal, i.e. not legal, i.e. against the law. Nobody has anything against LEGAL immigrants. They are always welcome. Seriously, pretty much everyone (including me) in the US is an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants.

The primary problem here, however, is not semantics, when one gets right down to it, though. The primary problem is that people get caught up in the emotion of rhetoric (or, apparently this is true; I'm not one for emotional response to rhetoric, so all my reports on this phenomenon are second-hand), and fail to be consistent, to follow through and see the ramifications of their ideas and decisions.

For example, in the interest of being consistent and honest, are illegal immigrants, while protesting by avoiding the work that most of them reportedly came to this country (illegally) to do, going to also boycott those services which they so freely (and illegally) abuse? Are they going to remove children from the classroom, refuse to go to hospitals for medical treatment, and otherwise cease to take advantage of social welfare? No? Hmmm, how half-hearted and half-brained of them.

And if such protests, half-hearted and half-brained though they may be, still prove to sway public thought, what then? Why not take such behavior to the next logical step? Why shouldn't other people with illegal activities band together and demand special rights? I'm thinking that shoplifters ought to get together and boycott something, to demand recognition of their rights as human beings, and form special action groups to really fight any further restrictions legislators would seek to put on petty theft, and try to put legal limits on punishments for such actions. It's not out of line to expect that the Shoplifters Coalition (for so I shall dub them) will soon be so powerful that elected officials begin to pander to them, and the Coalition turn their attention to reversing those harsh anti-theft laws. They will argue that the American dream should be available to everyone, and stealing good and services is an acceptable way of achieving it. Why not? If illegal immigrants are allowed to steal goods and services, and get away with it, why shouldn't other groups be allowed to do it, too?

Think about it. THINK. Then encourage just one person per day to THINK. Together, we can start a mini-revolution of non-stupidity.

"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
-Elbert Hubbard

Oh, yes, and one more note. This is international Labor Day. The nonsensical brouhaha in the United States is obscuring some very real problems that other workers have in other nations. For shame, protestors! You claim that you want freedom and workers' rights, yet you are demonstrating only a selfish desire to live lawlessly and detract from the sacrifices of others. Workers (who are, incidentally, legal residents of the countries in which they reside) in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and other nations, are seeking better working conditions and higher pay, and their voices deserve to be heard. So quiet the clamor and be logical.