Career notes

I worked from home unexpectedly yesterday, so I could take my dog to the vet. As a result, I didn’t have a work notebook to take with me to a seminar today.

So I found an old reporter’s notebook that had not been completely filled up. It was the notebook they gave me when I did my trial story at the my first newspaper job in January 2003. The story was about plans for an off-leash dog park. A newspaper clipping about the public meeting still was tucked between the pages, which I discovered as I reached the end of the notebook this afternoon.

In addition to my notes from both stories I wrote for that job interview (the first was a total failure, about how the recent dock lockouts had affected a local port — which turned out to be not one bit. They gave me the dog park story because it was a little “easier.” Can you believe they hired me?), this notebook contained notes from all the apartments I looked at after the interview, so confident was I that I would get the job.

It also contained notes I scrawled during the phone conversation I had with my current boss in October 2006, when he offered me the job, including details about my salary and raise schedule.

Also notes about our road trip to Calif. in July 2007 and Disney World vacation in Sept. 2007.

And now three-quarters of it is notes from a tribal climate change workshop in April 2009.

Mouse House

Apparently, mouse invaders have a schedule. At this same time last year,** we discovered mouse turds and murdered two mice. After we found the second mouse, I got an ultrasonic, electoromagnetic magic forcefield.

I assumed it worked, since we didn’t have another mouse for an entire year!

However, last night I was turning off the lights before bed and I heard a noise that almost sounded like a leak in the walls. (It was raining and we have new, noisy LeafGuard gutters.) I went into the kitchen, turned on the light, and it stopped. I woke up Rob and we listened as it started up again, and identified it as a critter in the pantry.

We have so much opened food in there, cereal boxes, etc. Not to mention paper oatmeal packets and foil-wrapped granola bars, which apparently mice can chew through, because one had been nibbled on. Rob, with broom in hand ready to whack, pulled out some of the boxes of cereal and discovered droppings. We couldn’t find the mouse but we set traps. It hadn’t been caught as of this morning. I can’t wait to go home and check the traps!

I also ordered another ultrasonic, electromagnetic force field, just in case it helps to plug one in closer to the pantry.

**This is a reminder of the advantages of regular blogging. I have easily accessible documentation of the last incident. I had completely forgotten it happened the day of the Super Bowl … and even thought it might have been more than a year ago.

A typical work day

I pack a lunch, spray on sunblock and strap on my new sandals for today’s canoe ride.

Oh, except we’re not taking a canoe to the river destination anymore, we’re driving there. So I leave my backpack in the car, along with my hat and sunglasses, since those interfere with picture-taking anyway. I almost leave behind my notebook, but think better of it because I’ve already forgotten a few interesting things that were said before my pen was poised.

My guides take nothing with them, so this must be a quick foray.

We walk in dirt and sand and rocks and I should be wearing much better shoes for this. I would not have chosen to wear sandals if I had not been advised specifically to do so. By the guy walking alongside me wearing hiking shoes. Still, these are sport sandals and not flip flops, so I’m doing all right. Getting my feet a little dirty, but not injuring myself or anything.

I own waders and I own rubber boots, but we don’t cross the river on foot. We climb onto the back of an excavator and ride it across the gravel bars. Nobody tells me to be careful not to touch the exhaust pipe and I accidentally bump my hand against it. It hurts and I see a dime-sized bubble of burned skin but much more uncomfortable is the hot orange metal against my bum. I shift my weight and wonder if I’m also getting burned through the synthetic fabric of my pants.

I slide the notebook under one cheek, but it’s still really hot. I’ve been to India, I remind myself. I can take this.

At our destination, I take lovely pictures, but wish I had the sunglasses and hat because my eyes hurt from the sun. Also, I’m lonesome for my water bottle right about now.

After a couple of hours, we ride the excavator part way and hike through brambles the rest of the way to the car. I do not scratch my feet on any of the branches crisscrossing my path, because I am careful.

I return to the home office and make a few calls, before taking a break with a glass of iced tea on a plastic Adirondack chair in the backyard, watching my dog chase bugs.

Rob gets home and wonders how it is that he leaves for work before me and finds me at home again when he returns. Then he puts burn cream on my hand.

Frequently I have spent most of the day goofing off, and feel guilty because Rob works harder than I do. But today, I know that I am very good at my job.

They sure aren’t Manolos

I can’t believe it. Five and a half years in the Northwest, more than a year and a half at this job, and once again, I found myself without the proper footwear.

At least I had time to acquire it. On the phone yesterday, planning for a canoe excursion tomorrow, I was told I should wear my Tevas, because surely I owned a pair. Doesn’t everyone?

I’ve never owned a pair of Tevas, and dislike even the pronunciation Tay-vas, because it sounds pretentious to me, even though it’s probably more correct than Tee-vas. Still, after deciding that I would be too embarrassed to wear the wrong shoes, after being specifically told what brand of sandal to wear…I went to the sporting goods store.

Where I felt pissed off at the world that I was having to buy a pair of those dog-leash material velcro sport sandals that I have never wanted to own. The fact that I could expense them cheered me not one bit.

I rebelled and picked out a pair of Columbia synthetic nunbuck sandals in mud and cabana pink. I feel good about those.

What’s up, Blogosphere?

Got some bears in the news.

Man jailed in India for riding around with a bear on his bicycle:

That’s not my photo, btw. Courtesy of Associated Press.

We’re trying to domesticate them closer to home, too.

The news around me is that I’m all about upgrading this week. I’ve been wanting a widescreen TV for quite a while. Don’t have any pressing need to actually pay for HD cable, I just think it would be more fun to watch movies on one of those things.

Eventually I’d like a 40-42-inch in the main TV-watching room, and a 32-inch in the bedroom. I thought I’d get the 32-inch first…but then we’d wind up only wanting to watch TV in the bedroom, so I think I’ll put it in the big room and then when we get the big TV, move the small TV to the bedroom. Pretty sure a 32-inch widescreen will be better than what we have now.

I’d be all for getting HD cable, but evidently, you need a whole different TiVo for that. I learned this while shopping around for a new TiVo because the $5 garage sale one in the bedroom is dying. And really, there’s no going back. I simply can’t watch The Today Show without the ability to pause and instant replay. Rob’s put on a brave front, but I think he’ll suffer without a constantly rotating assortment of Seinfelds in the queue.

I’ve found a $40 “new in box, barely used” TiVo on Craigslist, so that ought to tide us over. It seemed so silly to pay $100+ for a new standard TV TiVo, only to have to upgrade it in a few years to an HDTiVO.

Very confusing. I think I’ve determined that it’s OK to have an HDTV without HD cable (although not preferred, I understand), but you can’t have HD cable without HD TiVo…so that upgrade will have to happen simultaneously. And expensively.


Then there’s the cell phone thing. I’m eligible for an upgrade! I don’t even care if my phone has a camera in it, and I’m not going to pay $30 more a month for all that GPS, data, BlackBerry nonsense. But I do rely on my cell phone as my primary line. The home line is for business. Call my house, the answering machine doesn’t even mention my name. I don’t mind. Gets me off the hook for ever having to answer the thing.

Is it tragic that I’m tempted by something called the Pantech Breeze, which was designed with senior citizens and the disabled in mind? Big buttons, big display, easy to navigate, what’s not to like? I think though, that I’ll be going with Motorola RZR2, which if you’ll click through, you’ll see that I will get paid to purchase. $24.99 minus $50 rebate = -$25.01, which of course is +$25.01 in my bank account.

Now, I know I have a lot of readers here, so if this phone sells out, or the deal is no longer available by July 1, when I am eligible for the upgrade, I’m going to be so pissed at all of you.

Well played, Nature Conservancy

So a letter arrives in the mail, telling me I have been selected to participate in an important environmental survey and could I just check a few boxes about how concerned I am about global warming and how often do I recycle and do I think nonprofit groups should play an active role in spearheading change, yadda yadda…

The final question is, “Will you join us in protecting the earth … if so, please check the box next to the dollar amount you’d like to pay for your membership.” Good one! Get me thinking about how environmentally concerned I am, and then ask me for money.

Gee, I can’t very well send back this survey that says I shop organic sometimes and not send them a donation other than the 42 (43? what is it now?) -cent stamp I planned to put on the no postage necessary box to save them much-needed funds

Maybe I would have caught on sooner had I read the address on the envelope: “Gift Processing Center.” Hey, why would the gift processing center be collecting these very important surveys?

I’m sure this will be no different than giving to the Humane Society, which sends me more return address labels, notepads and umbrellas than my $15 donation was worth, in the effort to get me to give more.

Guess I’ve changed my tune since I blogged about this quite angrily in 2004. I do so enjoy those return address labels.