Thursday, May 31, 2007

Easter Island

I've been doing a bit of online research about Chile just in case this contract comes through. I realize that when I went to Japan I did not nearly begin to take advantage of where I was. I did have the long weekend in Nikko but never saw Osaka or Nagasawi or Hiroshima. I never took the leap to go to Thailand or China or Vietnam or anyplace other than Tokyo. Stupid me.

Don't get me wrong - I am so fortunate to have had this experience - but I did not take full advantage of it. I went with such a narrow view (so American I think).

Now there is a chance I might end up in Santiago Chile for a while so I've been researching off and on. And I've discovered that Easter Island (where those massive Polynesian stone heads are) is not too far away and is a Chilean territory. And I have made a promise to myself that if I end up in Chile I will find time to g0 and see for myself.

I am so excited at the possibility! Maybe it won't come about but how many people can say they have had the possibility when flying from ATL to PIT is too much?!?!

My concern now is for the cats. Sonny I am sure is far too old to fly. And far too old to be left alone for weeks on end even with a pet sitter coming in a few times a week. At 17 (maybe 18) he is only concerned with going in the backyard and sleeping in the weeds. You can't imagine how much joy he gets from this simple thing. At the end of his life this is his complete joy. He comes in at night and sleeps in my arms and I only want to make sure that when the time comes this is where he is when he dies. Gracie (who was with me 15 years) died of old age in my arms while I talked to her and for 15 years of companionship I feel this was the very least I could do for her. For Sonny I could do no less and so I am completely torn. I cannot leave him here alone and yet cannot give up this opportunity. I can't think that he would survive another long flight and yet he is the toughest old manx there ever was. I will NOT have him put down for my convenience.

So. My job or the very personal commitments I made far before this job? Not sure now how to manage both but Gerard taught me that nothing is impossible. I know that time will tell. I only know that if I go away and have to take a call that Sonny has died while I am away I will feel I have let him down in the most important way.

So tonight I am excited but torn between what I know I want and the commitments I have made . . . .

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend - Day 3

Tomato, Cucumber and Vidalia Onion Sandwich!

If you ain't from around these parts the above mentioned sandwich is the true start of summer. A tomato sandwich where the tomato is so juicy it runs to your elbow while you eat it. Most folks here in the US think Memorial Day is about barbeque. Hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs . . . seems to me it's a shame to fire up charcoal to grill one turkey burger so this year I celebrated the food side of the holiday with a summer sandwich.

Picture this: An onion sandwich roll with (light) mayo - on that put sweet vidalia onion, a couple of layers of ripe juicy tomato and a few slices of cuke. Season with a little salt and let it fall apart as you eat it. Ripe, summery, savory, and delicious! Honestly this is all I care to eat for quite a while but I'm forcing myself to broil a turkey burger tonight. On which I will layer plenty of tomato, sweet vidalia onion and cuke!

Today I cleaned the house thoroughly. Talked with Sam from Sydney tonight. Have my goals for the week planned out. Everything is in order - everything planned out. I know it will take about 3 hours tomorrow morning for it all to go to shit but for tonight I can eat my turkey burger and put my feet up and read a bit and go to bed.

Great weekend! They should all consist of 3 days!

Memorial Day Weekend - Day 2

The winds and pressure systems Sunday were such that the smoke from the south GA fires was thick here again so I didn't accomplish as much as I had hoped because it was difficult to be outside.

I did, however, finally get the pond cleaned! It's so good to be able to see the bottom and see the fish (you can't see them in this photo - they're hiding behind the filter:
This is one of two piles of the muck I pulled out:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend - Day 1

We here in Georgia are in another bad drought this year, for about the 10th year in a row. My grass is brown and crunchy. Because of the drought we are under watering restrictions, and they are the most severe yet. In the Atlanta area there is ABSOLUTELY NO WATERING ALLOWED Monday through Friday. If you live at an even-numbered address you are allowed to water on Saturdays, but ONLY from midnight to 10am. If an odd-numbered address those same hours but ONLY on Sundays. Hardly seems worth getting up at 2 am.

Last night on the news it was reported that 50 homes in Atlanta had their water service turned off completely due to ignoring the restrictions and watering anyway. I guess this year they are serious.

Because of the drought and the fact that I may be leaving for a prolonged period of time later in the summer I made the decision that I would not plant anything at all this year. What I'm doing instead is covering my planting beds with pine straw in the hopes that it will keep the weeds under control. It also looks a lot nicer than bare soil.

My goal for today was to get this done in the beds I've already worked on. If you go back a couple or few posts you'll see the before photo of this first one:
The next two beds are on the side entrance of my house and in 8 years I've never been able to make them work. I can't get rid of the weeds no matter what I do and because the toxic "trash" from the black walnut tree poisons most everything I've attempted to grow there I have to admit it was a relief to just cover it with pine straw:
By 1:30 I had finished my goal for the day plus a little more. I took a shower and plan to read for a little while and cool off in the A/C then maybe I'll put together a grocery list and brave Kroger and be that much more ahead tomorrow! There are also some little nagging 30 minutes things that have been on my list for a while so maybe I'll try to knock some of them off too.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dad, Books, Snork

11:15 pm on Thursday night and I really should be fast asleep by now but my brain is too busy.

Dad mailed 2 paperbacks to me earlier this week by a writer named Elizabeth George. Dad and I (and Mom too) are avid readers and while we go on intelligent, foo-foo fancy pants binges (Dad did most of Faulkner last year gag me with a spoon and I've been on a Charles Dickens/Jane Austen binge) we both kind of dig mystery/detective/suspense mind candy and the Elizabeth George books are completely diggable. Tonight since Gray's Anatomy was a repeat I got in bed with Elizabeth and now it's late and I just keep reading the greatest paragraphs!

To wit: "It was a pre-Elizabethan structure by initial design, but one which had undergone a number of Jacobean changes that added to its air of rakish whimsicality." People, sentences like this are so much more satisfying than sex it isn't funny. OK, maybe not, but reading a delicious sentence like this is definitely in the same league.

So in this first book there is a priest who finds a murdered body. I'm only 63 pages in but I figure he is a prominent figure. Which got me to thinking about Snork.

I'm a really bad Episcopalian. When I was maybe 13 I announced to my parents that I'd be damned if I would go to church anymore. This was mid-70s. It so happened that our church had this totally cool Sunday night guitar/hippy service for college students - total Kumba-ya stuff - and I started going to that instead of Sunday mornings to appease my folks. Snork (the Rev. Charles Roberts) was the priest. He hugged. Everyone. Always. I think I have yet to meet anyone as loving as Snork. He had this mop of wired out blonde hair and I never saw him without a smile. A grin to be more specific. He was (gasp) divorced and remarried to a great lady. He loved me into a really comfortable, personal relationship with the big guy upstairs which is strong to this day despite the fact that spirituality is far more important to me than religion. Snork dropped dead of heart failure in the library one day when I had barely turned 20. I still think about him often and for some reason reading this book tonight really brought back my memories.

Alright, maybe I can now sleep.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We're SMOKIN'!

Today (last night) just before 4 am I woke up panicked. It is open-window time here and all my windows were fully open. I woke up because I smelled smoke. My house is almost totally wooden - walls, ceilings, etc. so the smell of smoke puts me on edge. At 4 am I was out of bed with all the lights on inspecting every inch of the inside. I then grabbed a flashlight and inspected the outside. No fire but the smoke smell was overwhelming. I thought I was imagining it. I kept waiting to hear the sirens from the firehouse which is only one block away.

When it got light I looked outside and I could have sworn some jerk was burning leaves two doors down. The smoke was literally billowing. I turned on the early morning news and found out that due to a high pressure system the smoke from the south GA fires has made it up to metro Atlanta (250 miles). By about 3 pm it was manageable but so thick early this morning that I coughed and sneezed and felt nauseous until mid-afternoon.

How strange that this smoke could be so far away and yet wake me up from a deep sleep. Tonight I plan to get in bed embarrassingly early to make up for the loss.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Progress Not Perfection . . .

Yesterday afternoon and this morning were spent working on the backyard. My first post yesterday included a couple of photos of the "before" situation there. Here is what has been accomplished in 24 hours:
I have cut back, pulled, raked, pulled some more. I am thrilled that I can finally see the birdbath and it actually has water instead of leaves in it now. Need to level it as it has gotten off-kilter in the past 3 years but the first photo shows that the birds are already happy about it.

Once I have cleared up to the ivy line I will bring in some pine straw mulch and put it in. We're having a huge drought here in GA and because the soil is mostly clay it is very difficult to loosen. I sprayed it all down once I cleared it so it will be easier to till later this afternoon but I think it's a losing battle.

Based on what I've done in the past 24 hours I think if I spend 1-2 hours every night this week I can get a handle on this situation.

The huge drawback is this:

Yup my friends, this is POISON IVY and it seems to be running rampant on the fence line this year. I am really strong. I own and can use power tools. But faced with PI I am a wimp. I am so terribly allergic that I start itching when I see it. If I come in contact I usually have to go on steroids. Seriously. If I pull weeds that are dried up and dead but came within PI range within the past year I get the rash. It is bad and I have had enough bad experiences that now I'm paranoid about it. So I uncovered these babies earlier today and immediately sprayed them down with Round-Up (which doesn't help - that oil stays active forever but at least I made it SUFFER!). When I have to clear PI I have to put on long sleeves and gloves and face masks and go do it and then immediately rub myself down with Tech-Nu (great product) then shower and scrub my whole body with a wire brush and put whatever I was wearing into a hot washer that is half clorox. Today was not a day I wanted to do that. So I worked around it. Still, I just have this funny feeling that somehow I will get it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Long Story Short (or maybe longer)

When I first arrived in Japan in January 2005 I googled everything about Japan for more information. It is the most foreign place you could imagine and I wanted to learn everything I could.

I found several blogs of english-speaking ex-pats living in Japan and these became daily reads for me. They continue to be so to this day.

One of the bloggers I found was Harvey. Harvey's blog is mostly about language and so it was very much over my head but I checked it out at least weekly.

Cut to the future. I'm back home in the US now reading about this freaking crazy CA boy who actually walked the length of Japan TO IMPRESS HIS JAPANESE GIRLFRIEND, AYUMI! He's a filmmaker and documented this journey (google Kintaro Walks Japan and buy the DVD - I swear you won't regret it). I bought the DVD and learned more about Tyler and the girlfriend Ayumi and Ayumi's father, George Meegan. In the 70s George walked from the southernmost tip of South America to the northernmost tip of Alaska. Every second was on foot. Walking.

So anyway I totally dug this book and so I looked up his website and wrote him. He actually answered! And then I found his daughter Ayumi on line. I wrote her. She answered. Several months later Ayumi wrote to tell me she thought I shoud read Harvey's blog, which I had been reading for about a year and a half!

When Ayumi suggested this I wrote Harvey right away and told him about this coincidence.

Turns out now that Harvey will be coming to Atlanta for a job interview the second week of June and has been invited to sleep on my very non-private pull-out futon sofa to save money for the two days he's here.

The internet is such an incredible tool for bringing people together! Truly I believe children should be supervised on it but I think this is an amazing thing for this almost 45 year old adult! What friends I have, all over the world!

My Project This Weekend

Wow. After spending February and March getting the (wonderful, gorgeous, stupendous) kitchen back into shape I pretty much took April off. Yes, I mowed the yard as needed and kept the house clean but other than that I didn't do too much.

Now it's Saturday, May 19.

There is a chance (a pretty good chance) that I will end up in Santiago, Chile in the way that I was in Japan only maybe a bit more humane. Maybe by August 1. Another start up office for an airline down there. So last Sunday I woke up and my first thought was what I needed to accomplish before an extended stay in another country. Frankly it freaked me out a bit. When I went to Japan it was the dead of winter and originally I was only staying for a month so I pretty much only needed to pack and get my bills lined up and get Widdi to visit the cats a few times a week. Now I am enlightened. And overwhelmed.

Last spring I cleared a lot of ivy and blackberry vines from my yard. Didn't get around to much else. For the next couple of months I want to get some basic stuff done just in case I travel.
So anyway, here is what my backyard view was earlier today:

Yeah - it's an overgrown nightmare. There is a lot I can't do too much about but I'm at least going to clear stuff and cut back and clear and then put down pine straw (BTW - I live in frigging GEORGIA and pine straw is $3.47 per bale!!! What's that about?)

Usually I plant flowers and tomatos and such but I'm not going to the trouble if there's a possibility of me leaving the country. I'll just clear and mulch so if/when I come back it will be manageable (HAHA). I love owning my own home but at times like this apartment living seems more appropriate.

Tomorrow's Lowe's list:

Pine straw

brush killer

yard waste bags

young, shirtless yard boy

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sam da boss and other related crap

I haven't posted about this yet. My former boss Rasmus took a vacation to Denmark to visit his family back in March and called me from Europe
early one morning to tell me he had decided to resign. For about the 40th time since I started working at this company almost 4 1/2 years ago I went back and updated my resume. If nothing else I can say working at this company has kept my resume fresh!

The first thing that came to my mind when Rasmus called was that Sam, my former supervisor, was the only person who was A) experienced enough to step into the role and B) in a place where he COULD ACTUALLY step into the role. Within a couple of weeks he was already taking over the responsibilities and yesterday he became official!

This is a great situation because although Sam is, like, maybe 12 years younger than me he has been my mentor in this business. He has been in it from the start of his career and I was a freaking actress/director for godssakes. He took me under his wing from the start and has been the best teacher. He and Gerard are the only two who have bothered to empower me and I am still taking baby steps but think my wings are developing. S-L-O-W-L-Y. Also it is great because we get along really well which might not be a prerequisite for normal business activities but when you're in a start up situation for an airline you have to be able to blow off steam with at least one person you work with and I can get on IM and correct Sam's grammar and call him a douchebag and an asshole and HR doesn't receive a complaint. Basically I think this is because Sam is a total pussy and also an equal in calling people names. He can throw it right back at me. It works and it's comfortable and assuring and just plain fun. (Sam I hope you're laughing reading this. If not you can take a flying leap . . . )

Anyway, he came to town Wednesday (he is based in another state) and we've been putting together the most mind-numbing test script for a new warehouse interface and this is dry and dull stuff folks but it has been the most fun for me. Totally we have been getting to a point where we stare at each other and the laptop screen and say "Uhhhmmmm" for about 30 minutes before we get back on track. We seem to always be able to get back on track. Somehow we have managed to get it done. And once again I have learned so much in the past few days.

Creative problem solving is my passion. This week it seems I am indulging my passion and I am elated!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Found this. Thought it was funny. Going to go curl up in a ball now.