Friday, December 29, 2006

That Smell

Ooooh that smell
Can't you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you

I'm recovered from most disgusting parts of my Week o' Sickliness. A cold has taken the place of the stomach problems. The good news? My evening glass of wine stays in my stomach, where it can do some good in dulling my brain. Although it's a brain already dulled by DayQuil. (Mom: don't worry. I'm not really mixing the two. Or not much.)

So I came back to work today. To say I feel fine would not only be a gross exaggeration, it would be an outright lie. But I felt dulled enough by whatever wonderdrugs that Walgreens puts in its DayQuil rip-off medicine to sit behind a desk for eight hours. (Sidenote: the cover of said bottle of wonderfullness has the phrase "pseudophedrine free." Is this good or bad? I have a feeling that I would enjoy the benefits of pseudophedrine. And I could Google it. But I'm just not feeling like typing the word pseudophedrine again. I have to save my energy, after all.)

I've been at work for almost two hours. I debated calling in again, but it just felt wrong - as if I were playing hooky, because I didn't really feel sick enough to stay home from work. And that's one of my ethics markers: even if you don't know why something might be wrong, if you just feel like it is, then it probably is. So I came.

And man, I really should have listened to that devil on my shoulder telling me to crawl under the covers and worry about my stance on personal work ethics some other time (not to mention the fact that even thinking the word "ethical" without any caffeine in my system almost killed me). Because exactly one hour and 34 minutes after my work day began, the construction crew fired up the tar machine on the new building extension. And now, the noxious smell of tar fumes is permeating the library. I thought that because of my clogged nasal highways I'd be in better shape than the rest of the library staff. But there's something about the smell of hot tar that sneaks right past the blockages and sits in your nose, no matter how hard you wish for it not to. And the things that it's doing to my throat....

How in the world do these guys handle it? I mean, I've only been sitting here in a tar cloud for about 30 minutes, and I'm praying for some kind of natural disaster to shut down the library. And those guys work with this smell all the time. Do you have to sear out the lining of your nose to become a construction guy?
Update: I'm home again. The tar got to my throat and sent me into hacking fits that made it sound as if I were trying to give birth to a new set of lungs via my esophogus. And the rest of the librarians didn't want to listen to that anymore than they wanted to listen to the sounds I was making the other morning. And I've decided that my big invention is going to be scented tar. Wouldn't the smell of apples and cinnamon be a lot better than Burning Hair? Or how about Citrus Breeze. Yeah...tar that freshens the great outdoors while it does its tar-thing. Hmmm... So as soon as best friend finds an affordable place to give her an oil change sometime before Jesus returns, we'll hit the road with my hubby and head to my sister's place, which means we'll probably make it all the way tonight instead of stopping somewhere in Deliverance Country, Georgia for the night. And...umm...Sis? I tried to call. So if you're reading this at 11 PM ... go ahead and open another bottle of red for me. I'll be there soon.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Conundrum

Have you ever been so hungry you felt nauseous? You eat a little something and the feeling goes away. Or you eat a whole lot of something, and you still feel sick - only for a different reason. But either way, you've fixed the first problem: you're no longer nauseatingly hungry.

But what if, thanks to some unidentified bug, your stomach has been forcefully rejecting most food for two days? Are you nauseous because you're hungry, or because your stomach is trying to send you warning signals that now is not the time to try another round of food? How do you know for sure what your stomach wants?

Well, apparently I misread my stomach's signals this morning. After successfully handling a peice of (unbuttered - ick!) toast this morning, I thought my stomach was saying "Yes! We're back open for business! Please send me more food!" when it started getting that "I'm-so-hungry-I'm nauseous" feel to it. quickly I forget...
So after I got to work (yes, the same work that sent me home yesterday after only 30 minutes of looking at me), I found myself something else to eat.
And the sausage biscuit looked sooo good. After all, I'm a meat lover. And I hadn't had any in almost two days.
And now...well, now I've been forcefully ejected from work again. Apparently, the sounds coming from the bathroom were not conducive to studying. Or to working. Or to anyone having a happy morning anywhere within earshot of me and my stomach.

And I'd just like to mention that last night I managed a bowlful of my mother's "Nuts N Bolts". And my stomach was quite happy THEN. So if I have to live on that and Sprite Zero for the rest of my life....well, I guess there are worse diets. Diets that are considerably lower in sodium, but not nearly as yummy.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Another Christmas, another Christmas luncheon hosted by our resident staff association. As I am their humble yet fearless leader, guess who got to have the most fun with planning, decorating, cooking and setting up?

Actually, I don’t mind doing these shin-digs – not that I’ll broadcast that around the library, because then they would want me to be president again next year and that’s just way too much fun for one person. I think the joy should be spread around a little bit. But for one year, I can enjoy throwing parties with other people’s money. If they would let me serve alcohol, I’d do this for the rest of my life. But even though our personal corner of the government (the DoD) is getting a new boss, I don’t think that’s gonna fly.

The staff association was in charge of turkey and dressing, so the night before our little sliver of Christmas heaven I bought two 10-pound boneless turkey breasts and sliced them. I also bought two pans of frozen cornbread dressing and baked them at home. Then I made some mashed potatoes and a green bean casserole for my personal contribution. And at 9 PM that night, my hubby stood in the middle of the kitchen and asked in that “oh-good-you-decided-to-cook-something-besides-pasta-or-a-pb&j-for-me” voice: “So when do we get to eat?” while he searched desperately for a can of cranberry sauce to spread over all the holiday bounty in front of him. And I had to remind him that none of the food was for us and watch his face fall as he sighed that “I-thought-it-was-too-good-to-be-true” sigh and picked up the jar of peanut butter. So I promised him various bedroom favors to make up for not getting fed that night. I think he was happier that way, anyway.

But I digress.

The best parts of throwing these little get togethers are the comments that I get afterwards. Two people are quite predictable in their “suggestions”: last year’s president and vice-president (one of the two happens to be my boss), but they are by no means the only people who enjoy sharing their own version of post-party-poopiness with me. This time, I was more prepared than I was after the cookout. I actually had a pen and piece of paper ready to record the wisdom spewed at me for two full hours before and after the party, although I didn’t take the time to write down who said what.

“You know, last year we put the tables down the middle of the room, and it really seemed to work better than I think this will. You might want to re-arrange it.”

“Why is the dessert table at the back of the room? Don’t you think all the food should be together?”

“Why in the world are you serving unsweet tea? Don’t you think that was a waste of money?”

“I’m sure you did the best you could.”

“You bought the wrong kind of turkey breast. You should have got the kind with the skin still on it, so it would have had more flavor.”

My response to each and every critique was the same, voice inflection and all: “You know, you have some really good ideas. I think I’m going to recommend that you be appointed president next year.”

My vice-president and coh-hort in the madenss was Mr. X. He relayed this conversation with librarian S.I. to me:

S.I.: “You all did a really good job with the Christmas party.”

Mr. X: “I’m glad you had a good time.”

S.I.: “I didn’t say that.”

And then I had this conversation the morning after the party with LC, who was the vice-president for the staff association last year – which means she was very involved with planning last year’s Christmas party. I knew some good snark would come out of her mouth, so I actually wrote the conversation as it happened, since I was working on this post when I saw her headed my way. You must inflect a heavy dose of sarcasm on every word that I uttered:

LC: “You did a credible job.”

Me: Wow – what a compliment.”

LC: “Well, of course it wasn’t as good as last year.”

Me: “Nothing ever will be.”

LC: “But it looked like fun was had by all.”

Me: “Maybe we just have a lot of really good actors working here.”

Ahhh…The Christmas Season!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I saw this on Annalee's blog a while ago and started to do it...then forgot about it til my sis posted it this week. So I decided to finish it. It may not be up to my normal high level of entertainment value...but hell, this is my blog. And it was entertaining to me. And after looking at this list, I've got a few more things to add to my "to be done" list. Because THAT needed somethings added to it. {eyeroll}

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (very small bar, very few people)
02. Swam with wild dolphins

03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie (Ok, it was a five minute short. And it was silent. But it was for a the Sideway Film Festival, and it won an award!)
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River [I have rafted other rivers, but this was not one of them. I do know where the Snake River is in Idaho, if that is what they're talking about.]
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Been to the Great Barrier Reef
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication (hmm define large. I had an article published on RSS feeds in a newsletter for a library group. And I just turned an article in to the Birmingham Catholic newspaper. So I say yes.)
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states

124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper (which newspaper? Again, I say yes)
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read (D.H. Lawrence – and I love him)
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions (and god willing, I’ll miss the rest of them)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life (I’m taking a page from Annalee’s book on this one – I called 911 when someone tried to commit suicide.)