Thursday, January 31, 2008

1/31 I can talk about it now

Due to an abrupt and unexpected funding cut, my program has been terminated here in Mississippi. Most of our staff received their RIF (Reduction in Force) letters today. They received two months notice so will be laid off after March 31. There are five us staying on until the end of June in order to finish out the necessary administrative tasks.

I closed on my house April 13 of last year. I should have known that Friday the 13th would not bode well.

This program termination isn't the fault of anyone in our company. It's purely a funding issue. So I can't feel bad about all the good work we've done. But I can feel bad about all the work left to do. Luckily there are other agencies rooted here in Mississippi who will continue the work.

We really want to stay here to finish, but it's not to be. My company came here from Texas for what we knew would be a limited time, but we certainly didn't expect the abruptness of this. It is gratifying to know that we did what we could and that other good companies will stay until it's done.

So, like many others here, I'm job hunting. And will chronicle the travails of doing so. Also, I have to look at selling my house because the three jobs I'm looking at are all in different places. Gosh, I really love it here, but I know I can be happy wherever I end up. God is so good to me, and always has been.

So tonight I'm thinking of our clients, still struggling to put their lives together; I'm thinking of our staff, and all the energy and passion they've continually put into their jobs; and finally I'm thinking of me and wondering what life will give me next.

Please pray for all of us.

Monday, January 28, 2008

1/28 Hours fly by

I could have stayed at work until very late tonight, there's so much to do. But Monday is the day Q and C stay at home because Pampered Pets is closed. I have to go home for lunch and I have to leave work at 5 in order to accommodate the toileting habits of my pets. :)

They are always nuts on Mondays too because they are stuck inside all day. Quincy reacts to that especially. I tried to take her for a walk, but the neighbor kids were outside and were screaming and yelling. It was way too distracting for her and we were only outside about ten minutes. Cookie lasted even less than that.

Can't wait until I can walk them both on a more consistent basis.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

1/27 Oops, skipped yesterday

Had some friends over last night to play dominoes and cards. We played from 7 until around 11, and I had a great time. Cleaned the house for company and then had to give Cookie one bath and Quincy three because of the mud outside. It's rained for days.

Then today Quincy walks into the house and looked the same color as Cookie. So of course that required a mega-bath. And that's about the most energy I expended all day. Decided to take the day off from thinking and/or working. It's been great. I slept for more than two hours this afternoon. A slice of heaven.

Back to the grind tomorrow, but in the meantime this feels good.

Friday, January 25, 2008

1/25 Let's talk about something silly

Since it's my lunchtime I'll accept my friend Monk's challenge to blog this meme:

How long have you been blogging?

Since December of 2004 and there have been very few days that I've missed.

What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?

No real blogging mentors, although I do admire people who stick to it. It's not easy.

What inspired me to start blogging was that I'd always written travelogues for my family and friends. When I went to New Zealand, Australia, and Okinawa I'd email everyone about the fun I was having. By the time I moved to the UK for five months, blogging had been developed and this was a much easier way to communicate to my family/friends.

After I returned to the states my blog became a lot more boring, hence the title of this blog.

Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun?

For fun.

What 3 things do you love about being online?

Basically I've met so many great people. In 1995 I joined an online writers' community and have met many of those folks face to face. They've become dear friends and it's all because of being online.

What 3 things do you struggle with online?

The hardest thing is to remember that this is a public forum. And also that people can (and do) misinterpret what one says. When anyone has criticized me about being boring or self-centered, I just say, "Stop reading it." It's my blog and I'll write about what I want.

I kept diaries for many years. In some ways, this has replaced it. In others, no--I can't write my innermost thoughts. But my blog has helped me keep so many memories alive for myself. That's a really good thing.

I tag my niece Kelly, my daughter-in-law Beata, my son Rob, and my brother Joe. Will they respond? Maybe Kelly will.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

1/24 Dog class

Q and I just returned from her training class. Once again she growled at two dogs and I just don't understand it. But she picked up on the two skills really well--"Leave it" and walking. I'm hoping I can keep things up at home.

Everything went really well there (except for the growling). Other than that it was a great class. I'm looking forward to the next one already.

Because I knew Cookie would have to stay home alone while Quincy went with me, I took Q to doggy day care and brought Cookie to work with me today. She was well-behaved and a lot calmer than she is when she's with Quincy. It was fun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

1/23 Crazy dogs

First of all it was so hard leaving Los Angeles. I miss the kids and Jill terribly. Wish we lived closer; but I'll continue to visit as much as possible.

The trip home was uneventful; the real action started at Pampered Pets. It's unbelievable how crazy Quincy and Cookie got in the 12 days they were there. They practically knocked me down. And in the car they kept leaning over the front seat crowding me. I must admit it made me feel good that they missed me as much as I missed them.

When we got home they ran through the house as if they were on speed. And they had no manners at all. But right now, they are sound asleep on my bed, both of them curled up together yet each touching me as well. It's so cute.

Tomorrow night is Quincy's class. Hope she behaves and doesn't get expelled for bad behavior.

Gee, it's good to be home.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1/22 Poor Packers and other sadness and goodness

What a sad ending for us Packer fans. I did enjoy watching the game with my family here in Southern California, but the abrupt ending wasn't what I'd hoped for. Well, it's done.

I'm leaving here at 4 AM tomorrow. Have to decide if I'm going to rent a car or pay $90 for a shuttle. Everything is expensive here in SoCal. It's a 45 minute drive to LAX, so if I look at it at as paying two cents a minute, it's not too exorbitant. But still--$90!

Yesterday was one of the best days ever. We spent a few hours at a park and had a ball. Kayla was on her inline skates and Hunter brought his bicycle. We also took Sadie, their dog. She loved it and ended up pulling Kayla around the basketball court and around the track. It was fun to watch.

We also went out to breakfast. Every visit I take the kids (and only the kids) to Coco's. Have been doing it even before Hunter was born and he's five now. It's a special little thing that Kayla, Hunter, and I all enjoy and look forward to.

Jill and Todd have been great too. We played Uno with the kids last night and I loved it. Todd is leaving today for a quick trip to Minneapolis so we said goodbye this morning. Jill is off today so we'll have some special time together while the kids are in school. That will be a nice treat.

Gotta run, lots to do.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

1/20 Go Packers

Am watching the playoff game with Todd and Jill. It's fun since Todd is from Eagle River, WI and Jill lived with me in Milwaukee. So it's a lot more fun than watching the game alone. Being with other fans sure makes a difference.

We taped the game so still don't know how it ended. Right now it's 20 to 20 in the fourth quarter. An exciting game.

We had such a wonderful day. Went to Build a Bear with Jill and the kids, and I bought some belated Christmas gifts. Plus this morning we opened other Christmas gifts. Everyone seemed to like what I got, and I loved my presents. I got a gift certificate so I could get the Ironman Triathlon watch I wanted. This one is a lot more feminine than the usual honkin' big ones I buy.

We also went to Starbucks and the kids got to play there while Jill and I enjoyed some coffee. Tomorrow the kids are off school for MLK day, but both Jill and Todd have to work. So I get a full day with Kayla and Hunter. We'll take Jill to work, then go to breakfast at Coco's, a tradition when I visit. Afterward we'll come back and get their dog Sadie, and go to the park so the kids can play. And I'll play with Sadie. She's a sweetheart, but has really aged since the last time I was out here. She's probably 12 years old and is getting up there in years.

I am having a wonderful time. Yay for family!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

1/19 Flight delays and more delays

My 11:40 flight was canceled too. But they called me at 11 last night to say they could get me on a 9:50 AM flight--two hours earlier. Jill and I were both happy about that, since I would get into LA at 3:30. Alas, it was not to be.

I got to Atlanta without a problem, and my ATL to LAX flight boarded on time, but we had to sit on the plane for more than 2 hours waiting in line for de-icing. Atlanta is not used to snow and ice, so it took them a long time to take care of all the planes. We finally took off, and I landed in LA at 5:30 PM (Pacific Time). It was a long, long day. We waited so long in Atlanta that they started the movie there. We ended up seeing three altogether--The Jane Austen Book Club, Rush Hour 3, and Balls of Fury. Of the three I just loved the Jane Austen one. The other two were mildly amusing, and were good for passing time.

Jill ended up going to her party alone and Todd and the kids picked me up. It worked out well. Jill wasn't upset about going to the party with her friends, and Todd wasn't upset at missing the party.

They met me at the baggage claim and as usual it warmed my heart to hear those sweet voices yelling, "Grandma!" as they ran toward me. We stopped for dinner on the way home. Jill has a new red Toyota Tacoma truck with a long bed. It will hold three of the five motorcycles when they go to the track. It's really nice.

The kids are in bed in my room, waiting for me to join them, so I'll do that. We don't expect Jill until midnight or so, and I got up at 4 AM (Pacific) and am pretty tired. More tomorrw--we're going to Build a Bear. I love it!

Friday, January 18, 2008

1/18 Flight problems

Delta informed me that my 6 AM flight tomorrow is canceled. It upset me so much, especially after they said there were no other flights available. All weather delays.

Wonder how they knew so far in advance?

Anyway, I cried. So sad to think I'd miss a whole day with the kids. But a nice customer service agent found a seat for me on an 11 AM flight. I'll get into LA at 4:30 PM instead of 11:30 AM--but at least it will still be Saturday.

It will be a close call for Jill and Todd though. I'm babysitting while they go to Jill's winter party and it starts at 6, so it will have to be a quick trip to and from LAX.

I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I miss my grandkids so much.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

1/17 Home at last

I am so very happy to be home. Didn't pick up the puppies because I'd just have to bring them back tomorrow morning. Thought this would be too hard on them (and me). So I'll get them Wednesday when I return from LA.

For now, it's time for my pajamas and bed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

1/16 In Houston, yes Houston

Our flight to Dallas and then on to Mississippi had some problems. Weather delays caused us to not be able to make our Dallas connection and if we stayed with that airline we wouldn't get home until nearly noon tomorrow. All three of us have important meetings tomorrow, so that wouldn't work. So we changed airlines, flew to Houston, and are staying here overnight. We're flying out really early in the morning and will get to Mississippi by 8:30. It won't be so bad.

In the meantime I'm exhausted.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

1/15 Still in Austin

Today was a very long day, and a rough one. We worked really hard to plan for the future, so there's a lot going on. I'm working with some nice people and we get along, so the hard work isn't horrible.

Just hard. :)

Tonight a VP took us to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. A great reward for a day of work. Loved it.

We work in the Austin office tomorrow for part of the day, then off to the airport. We'll get back to Mississippi around 10 PM. Another long day.

Monday, January 14, 2008

1/14 In Austin

I've been awake since 4 AM, so am winding down. Have some work to finish yet tonight, but not too much. We got in around 11:30 AM and after lunch went straight to the office where we got the grand tour of the new building. We then met with my boss for three hours before breaking for the day. Tomorrow will be a very, very long day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

1/13 Odd day

Started at church where I cantored, plus had a solo during "Wade in the Water." It went well, but I made one error that sufficiently humbled me. So that's good.

The dogs have dug a hole nearly under the gate. Won't be long until they are both gone--running through the neighborhood like unruly children. I put their poop in the hole and hope that will deter them. I know they'll just start somewhere else, but at least I stopped one hole from getting worse. (Kind of like the "starfish" tale.) :)

My wrist feels immensely better, hurts a lot less; so I'm exercising it just a little bit. Then back into the brace.

I've been traveling way too much, according to my dogs. One of them has pooped and peed in the house three times this weekend. I honestly don't know which one it is, but I suspect it's Cookie. She's the one with the really bad separation anxiety.

Tomorrow I leave for Austin and later in the week will go to Los Angeles to see the grandkids. Hooray. (And of course Jill and Todd too.) I haven't seen them since August and am pining away for the little sweeties.

But this means that my dogs will sleep at Pampered Pets for ten nights, with only a one night at home in between. No wonder their behavior (and my nerves) suffers. I should be home for a while after these trips.

Adios, and I'll write from Austin tomorrow night.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

1/12 Mud and more mud

Hard to type with a wrist brace on, but it'll be off in about five more days so I can't complain.

The canine cuties are driving me crazy. They come in the house muddy more often than not. They use my bathtub more than I do. And yesterday they found a mole and tortured it with teasing. There wasn't a mark on it, but I bet it went somewhere and died--simply from being teased to death.

Then the dogs dug about a 20 foot trench next to the house. Guess they found the mole tunnel and followed that. They are really something. Don't know what I'm going to do about this digging. Maybe cement over the whole back yard? Believe me, it's an option I'm considering.

They come in and go right in my bathroom when they're muddy. Don't even have to tell them to go there anymore. Q jumps right in the bathtub and waits for me to turn on the water. C doesn't like the water but she knows she has to endure it as a consequence of her dalliance with mud.

(Thanks to my friend Genia today for going grocery shopping with me and lifting the dog food bags, and also for putting my Christmas decorations up in the attic.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

1/11 A week from hades

What I didn't say in yesterday's post was that I hurt my wrist at dog training. And late last night both my dogs rolled in the mud and swam in the holes they dug. So both had to have baths which exacerbated the injury.

By this morning the pain was horrible but I had a meeting I couldn't miss. After the meeting I went to the doctor. I knew it was just a sprain but wanted to make sure.

It is a sprain but involves tendons, ligaments, and a muscle. It has to stay immobilized for a week, then we'll see.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

1/10 Q's first class

Just got home and I'm exhausted. Quincy went to her first training class and she growled at other dogs. I can't believe it. She's never displayed any aggression at all before, and I thought she was well socialized with going to doggy day care so often. But no, she growled. I think she was proving she was alpha.

Anyway, it was embarrassing. Kind of when your kids misbehave in public. Any of us know about that? :)

It was a good class and we're doing clicker training. Q is smart anyway (even if not always well-behaved) and learned quickly. I'm looking forward to next week.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

1/9 A new Bozarth

Meet Elaine Elizabeth Ann Bozarth, the newest addition to our huge clan. She's called Ellie, which I think is just adorable. She's named after my mother (her great-grandmother)Elaine, Ellie's mother (Elizabeth) and Beth's grandma Ann. So both Beth's and Matt's grandmothers are represented.

Isn't she a beauty? Born this afternoon and everyone is in love with her already. Actually we loved her before she even entered the world.

Welcome to the family, Ellie.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

1/8 Smart dogs

at least some of the time. Cookie is stalking a fly, and the fly is hiding behind the blinds. Every time he comes out, Cookie goes after him. She caught one yesterday. (Yes, that's how warm it's been. I've seen two flies.)

So that isn't what's smart. Like most sisters Cookie and Quincy fight a lot, but they also fall asleep on top of each other (not like most sisters). So they do like each other, but they fight a lot.

Both of them have special tricks they pull on the other one. Cookie will get a toy that Q loves, and lie on the floor with the toy between her front paws. (Oh, now Quincy has taken over the fly stalking.) Then she'll act like she's not interested in it, will look away, and even pretend to be sleeping. As soon as Q comes to get the toy, C takes off with the toy in her mouth. And she's much quicker than Quincy. I swear I can hear her laughing.

But Q gets her back. When Cookie has a toy Quincy wants and can't get, she goes to the door so I'll let her out. I'll open the back door and both dogs will go out. Quincy immediately turns around, comes back in and gets Cookie's toy. I swear I can hear her laughing too.

At least they both keep me amused--when I'm not yelling at them to stop fighting.

1/8 Quick note over lunch

What about you? (Got this from my niece Kelly's blog.)

72%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Monday, January 07, 2008

1/7 Busy and fat...

Went to a home dedication today. It's an amazing thing, and a big payoff in this job. We do lots of work for which we'll never see the results. But on the occasions when there's a house blessing, it's a beautiful thing.

The local news has been covering them, and once again my fat frame is shown. This time I'm hugging the homeowner, and it's fast, so it's not so bad. But still...

My family has started our own Biggest Loser contest. Several of us joined up. We've been at it for a week, and will go until Easter Sunday. As you can see, there are varying degrees of loss needed, so we're doing it by percentage lost, not by amount. My nephew-in-law, Todd, is a math teacher so we have him being the "keeper of the data."

I'm psyched about this; just need to really get busy. Wish us luck. And I'm laughing in the picture, but my brother Joe said that it looks like I'm pulling a Karen Carpenter.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

1/5 Cookie

Poor, poor Cookie. Last night she began rubbing her head and then whole body against the furniture. She also started rubbing her eyes on the floor. So I turned on the lights and investigated.

She had welts all over her body again. Her face was so swollen that her eyes were mere slits. Her entire body was swollen horribly. As she rolled on her back to scratch I noticed that even her bottom was grotesque.

Luckily the last time this happened the emergency vet assured me Cookie wouldn't die from this, although it was serious. He gave me some Benadryl to give Cookie if this ever happened again.

It took a long time for it to work, but finally, even though she was still swollen, she must have stopped itching because she fell asleep.

When they woke me up at 6:15 this morning to go out, she still looked strange but okay. I don't know if I'm imagining bumps or if they were always there. She can have the meds every six hours if necessary, but she's acting pretty normal right now.

Wish I knew what caused this so I could get rid of it. I imagine it's something outside, but can't be sure.

Poor, poor Cookie.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

1/3 I've been unfaithful

and my dogs know it. Not only are they sniffing all my clothes as I unpack the suitcase, they are eyeing me like, "We know what you did."

I can't help it I adore dogs, even other people's. So I cuddled a lot with Alfie and Rocky and Max. So sue me. (Perhaps Quincy and Cookie will indeed do that.)

They licked my coat today up one side and down the other, as if putting their own scent back on it was the most important thing in the world. I guess that's a lot better than the other way dogs mark their territory.

I did miss the little buggers. But they are wild, wild, wild. Am working on trying to get them back under control, but I leave again the week after next and I'm afraid their wildness will be repeated. At least I won't be with other dogs when I'm in Austin, but I will be when I'm in Los Angeles.

Guess I'm a loose woman when it comes to animals.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

1/2 Home again

New Year's Day 2008, I'm in the middle with the pink scarf around my neck. Brrrrrr.

January 1 was awesome as usual. Part of the family went to the cemetery to celebrate Mom's and Dad's life, and we toasted them with a beer, like we always do. There were 20 of us there, which was great. It was absolutely freezing--a bitter wind was blowing, but we huddled together and enjoyed the visit.

Then we went back to the old homestead, owned by Joe and Cindy, and ate and ate and ate. We played games all day too. Most of us got very involved in the musical version of Catch Phrase. We played Texas Hold'em too, twice. And I won one of the tournaments, so that was a good pay off. Others played Cattan, which is a game where you build civilizations. Others played Rummikub and Triominoes. It was a super day.

Here's a picture of Rob and me on Christmas day enjoying the scrumptious meal.