Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Trip Journaling Begins!

No...I haven't left yet. I still have several weeks until our trip to Nicaragua. However, I did go to the public health center today to be vaccinated for my trip.

I am not a fan of public health centers. They all seem so dark and depressing. (Not to mention that their bathrooms are gross - seems contradictory that they should be breaking health codes in a health center.)

I sat in a waiting room with about 5 other people, all of whom were well over the age of 60. An old man and woman in front of me were swapping navy stories, and what it was like to meet Jimmy Dean and Minnie Pearl. The old lady told Jimmy Dean that she didn't like his sausages. And I learned that Minnie Pearl is a delightfully tall woman. I am still not exactly sure how one becomes "delightfully tall". I was left to wonder if some people are considered morbidly tall, when my letter was called (I had a letter rather than a number, as I was the only one there not receiving a flu shot). I headed down a hallway to a small room with a nurse.

I hate needles. Hate. So I tried very hard to not think about the shots I was about to receive. I started to think of what I would tell you all about my visit. I examined many posters on the wall, like this one:

Yes, I took a picture. I was considering taking a picture of the old folks in the waiting room, under the guise that I was writing a report about public health, but then I decided against that, as it could possibly have unpleasant results. Instead, I only took a picture of this poster*, and that was in the brief moment when the nurse left the room.

I got one shot in each arm. It wasn't as bad as I worked myself up for, but I am sore now, and I have a slight fever and a headache (perhaps brought on more so from the anxiety then the actual vaccine).

It was rather uneventful (besides the aforementioned Jimmy Dean exchange) but I thought in the interest of keeping a true journal of my first trip to a third world country, I should record the experience.

Next time on "I Want Rick Steves' Job" I answer the question: What is a second world country?

Listening to: My DVR on pause...what's paused? Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Currently Feeling: Kinda in pain

*each map on this poster represents a disease...the colored in areas represent areas where you may contract said disease, and should therefore be vaccinated...kind of creepy with all those Precious Moment-looking children all around the edge

Monday, October 24, 2005

Moms R Funny

This "quotable quote" deserved it's own entry.

"Oh, they eat everything. Whatever they can find...berries....crawfish..." ~ My mother, discussing the raccoons that come to her porch to eat the cat's food.

My sister looked at my mother and said, "Crawfish? And where exactly do they get those?" There is no location near my parent's house, other than perhaps a chinese buffet, which would still require getting in a car and driving, where a raccoon could acquire a crawfish. What kind of raccoons do they have in their neighborhood?!

My mother could only laugh in response.

Upon hearing the story, I promptly called my mother and asked her, very seriously, what raccoons eat. (The fun thing about my mom, is that she started to give me a serious answer before she realized she was being teased.)

Perhaps she had read this story recently:

My mom is awesome :).


To all of you who are e-mailing wondering how things are here:

This is what the sky looked like last night....

A bit ominous, no? I was slightly concerned that we were in for more severe weather than I had planned for. (Geography update: I live in CENTRAL Florida. That means in the middle. Florida is a fairly large state, so CENTRAL is not really that close to SOUTH.) Throughout the night, the wind howled (literally) outside and the rain beat against the window. Still slightly ominous, but also kind of pleasant. If I hadn't been so intent on sleeping, it would have been fun to pull out a favorite novel and read by candlelight. I was actually kind of hoping for just a little power outage.

When morning came, the wind was still howling, the rain still falling, and the sky still ugly. So I decided to head to the office. For those of you thinking I am crazy, you have never experienced the wrath of a Florida summer thunderstorm. Way more rain and something a lot scarier, lightning. Driving in this morning's outer bands of Hurricane Wilma was quite tame in comparision.

At the office, I worked away from a window, just in case those tornado warnings had any validity. When I finally left my windowless cave around 5 pm, I was greeted my about a 20 degree temperature drop and conditions that looked like this:

Not so much scary. It was beautiful outside. Still a little breezy, and a whole lot cooler, which, after many days of 80 degree plus weather, was a welcome feeling.

So Wilma was good to us up here. For those of you who inquired about my family in South Florida, they are all ok. They are experiencing life with no power like millions of others there, but their powerless homes are intact and dry on the inside, which is enough to be thankful for at the moment. There are many others that did not fare as well.

In better storm news, Tropical Storm Alpha has slowed to a trough* and should eventually be absorbed by the remnants of Wilma, so no threat there.

Listening to: a boiling pot of tea...it is cold enough to comfortably drink tea!!
Current Mood: sleepy (actually pretending not to be nervous about getting immunizations tomorrow a.m. ... ouch)

*An elongated area of relatively low atmospheric pressure, usually extending from the center of a low pressure region. That's right. Watch me drop my meteorological knowledge on ya'll. Boo-yah.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Hey all,

Just a quick post before I go to bed...

So far, there have been dark clouds and some lightning, but otherwise it is quite still here. In the area where we are, we may experience tornadoes, heavy rain and wind. But we really should be ok. We have plenty of water, and super-mega flashlight if the power goes at all.

I am amazed as I watch coverage of the storm at the number of South Floridians who are in mandatory evacuation areas that still won't leave. They all have the same answer.

"I've been here for (enter number) years, and I have never left, so I ain't leavin' now."

Nice. This is why people in the other 49 states make fun of Floridians.

I will update "ya'll" tomorrow, as the storm should have greater effect on us then. (Unless of course it has REALLY great effect and we lose power)

Listening to: the Weather Channel
Current Mood: excited about the stormy weather (yes, I know after all the destruction that these storms this year have brought, I shouldn't be excited...but I love storms - I am fascinated by them)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Room With A View

Ahhh...nothing like the acquisition of a new camera to make you post useless pictures.

But really, since most of you have not seen our new "digs", I present you with one of my favorite parts of our new place: The view.

This is what you see when you look out of our living area onto the porch. Pretty cool, eh? Despite living in a fairly busy area, it feels like we aren't so close to everything when we look out here. When it storms the view is AMAZING. The lightning strikes all over that area in the distance where you can see a couple of buildings. Very very cool.

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

More pictures will follow I am sure, as I continue to play with my newest toy.

Any requests?

Listening to: I Remember by Damien Rice
Current Mood: trigger happy

Friday, October 14, 2005

Up and Down

In preparation for a dinner party I am having tomorrow, I stopped at a specialty food store today. One of the dishes I am serving required a decent amount of pancetta, which I cannot find at my usual grocery store, and I wanted to get a few bottles of nice wine.

I chose a store I had driven by many times but never tried. As I went in, I could see they had a good selection of all sorts of specialty products, and a very nice meat/deli department. I turned the corner to find their wine section, with a decent sized selection of wines from all over. As I attempted to find some Italian wines (in keeping with the Italian theme of tomorrow's dinner) I was approached by the very friendly wine buyer for the store.

I explained to her that I was looking for a nice red and white in a lower price range. Rather than judging the low range I gave her, she went to work recommending excellent wines under $15. One in particular she thought I should try, so she grabbed a wine glass off the shelf and opened the bottle.

"Here, shopping is more fun with a buzz," she said, as she handed me a glass of wine. "Walk around with it while you shop so it has a chance to breathe."

(incidentally, the wine buyer refused to sell me the wine I tried, as she said it wasn't "opening up" after it had a chance to breathe. Instead, she grabbed a substantially more expensive wine and gave it to me for the same price as the cheap one. Woo-hoo!)

Awesome, I thought to myself. This is the way to shop. I sauntered over to the deli (one must saunter when shopping with a glass of wine in hand) to get some pancetta.

"What can I do for you?" said the young girl behind the counter.

"A pound of pancetta, very thinly sliced, please," I answered politely, smiling, as I was enjoying this shopping experience.

The girl began slicing. Suddenly, an older woman showed up behind her.

"Is it for lunch meat or for cooking?? Cooking, right?"

I looked at the woman oddly, and told her it was going to be cooked. She made a face and then told the girl to slice it thick.

I waited for the slicing girl to turn around, so I could see what was happening to my meat. It was now being sliced far thicker than I wanted it.

"Excuse me," I interrupted, still politely, but feeling a little annoyed, "I asked for it to be sliced thin. Like paper thin. That isn't so much, ya'know, thin."

The girl looked frightened, and looked back at the older woman who had obviously instructed her to slice it the way she had. The woman stepped in.

"You are using it for cooking. It should be thick. It just falls apart when it is thin."

She held up a perfectly paper thin slice for me to see, as if this was proving her point, when in reality it only made me more annoyed. I was less polite this time.

"I WANT it that way. That is why I ASKED for it to be sliced thin. I do BELIEVE I know how I need it."

The woman shook her head, "No, we won't slice it that thin. We can't."

I shook my head in disbelief. A woman who was waiting on her deli order turned to me and smiled, "Evidently you don't know what you want?"

At this point I, rather loudly, said, "Of course not. What do I know? I'm only cooking the dish. I wouldn't know how I need the meat to be sliced. I may be Italian and actually know how to pronounce the word PANCETTA, unlike the lady behind the counter, but hey, what do I know?"

The lady walked away, and left the poor slicing girl behind to deal with me. I took the meat and decided that rather than make this poor girl cry, I would just make a phone call when I got home.

Fast forward to an hour later. I am back at the store, after having a talk with the manager, to have my meat sliced properly. The crotchety deli woman was nowhere to be seen, but three other ladies, including the original slicing girl were there to assist me. The manager made sure to let me know that I would receive free deli products next time I came in to make up for the inconvenience.

Who knew getting groceries would be such a roller coaster of emotion?!

Listening to: Just a Ride by Jem
Current Mood: Still assertive. Yeah, that's right.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pink is the New Black

I am pink now. This will change quickly I would imagine, as I am not the pink type. Just needed a little change, but couldn't decide what to change, so this is the pre-change change. Got that??

Today was busy. Running ID over to the placement company, taking care of a ticket, and visiting my chiropractor.

Trips to my chiropractor are always pleasant. Today, it was informative as well. We were discussing our upcoming travels and I mentioned how I was not too excited about the shots and meds I would be receiving in the weeks to come. When I mentioned antimalarial meds among the list of things I would be getting/taking he advised against taking the one that comes in a weekly dose. Bad things happen. I took his word for it, but I was curious, and wanted to learn more.

Welcome to Mefloquine (me' floe kwin). Also known as Lariam. Ever heard of it? The name Lariam sounded vaguely familiar. After some quick googling I discovered why. Remember those spousal murders in Fort Bragg? For a while, this drug was suspected as the culprit. (They concluded that the drug wasn't responsible, from what I remember, but we will get to why they would have even suspected it.)

Here is a list of possible side effects. Keep in mind, this is the list that normally says things like, "drowsiness":
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle pain
  • dizziness
  • loss of balance
  • ringing in ears
  • headache
  • sleepiness
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • unusual dreams

Long list. Now here is the list of serious side effects (yeah, the ones you just read were the ones that are "no big deal"):

  • tingling in your fingers or toes
  • difficulty walking
  • seizures
  • shaking of arms or legs that you cannot control
  • nervousness or extreme worry
  • depression
  • changes in mood
  • panic attack
  • forgetfulness
  • confusion
  • hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • violent behavior
  • losing touch with reality
  • feeling that others want to harm you
  • thoughts of hurting or killing yourself
  • rash

Ummm...seeing things that don't exist? Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself? I was under the impression that taking medication is supposed to protect you. Not potentially make you "crazy-go-nuts".

Really glad I had the friendly chat with my chiro before getting my prescription. Otherwise, I might have made a pretty awful traveling partner, ya'll.

"That toucan KEEPS LOOKING AT ME!! Does anyone have some more ointment?"

Listening to: the sounds of silence...not the song, just silence. it is past my bedtime
Current Mood: relieved to be slightly more educated on these crazy drugs

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Let the Games Begin

Today was the first day of interviewing in the lovely process of trying to find a job. It was very simple, since I was only interviewing with a job placement rep.

Simple and lengthy.

If you have never used one of these services before and expect it to take the normal amount of time an interview might take, you would find yourself sorely behind in your plans for the day. So for the benefit of those who may find themselves in a position where they need to avail themselves of such a service, let me walk you through my "appointment".

Arrive early. Not that this gets me started earlier on anything. It just looks good.

Expect to wait a little while before they hand me a very large stack of documents to fill out/read/sign. Upon completion of this stack, wait some more.

Sit down in a really warm room, place some headphones on head, and prepare to be bored for 15 minutes. This is an introduction to the company that is working to place me. They tell me interesting things, like how to lift a heavy box. They also tell me not to lift anything heavy unless you have express permission from them. Here I pretend to be confused for the fun of it. Horseplay, violence, weapons or any other illegal activity are prohibited in the workplace. I begin to wonder when horseplay became illegal, and think back fondly on office horseplay I have been involved in. They flash the number for HR several times. Being sexually harassed? Call this number. Concerned about your benefits? Call this number. Thirsty? Call this number.

After spending 15 minutes wondering how many people have worn these headphones before me, and consequently having the urge to vigorously scratch my scalp, I move on to a computer where I take a safety exam. The safety questions are based on the video. I begin to worry that I should have paid better attention to the video, and not to whether or not I could catch bird flu from a pair of headphones. Then I realize that it is multiple choice, and the wrong answers are ridiculous. I answer one wrong, just for sport. I finish the "test", quicker than was anticipated by the staff, as no one is ready to talk to me yet.

"Would you like to take some more tests?"

I struggle not to answer smartly, and smile pleasantly and nod.

I am set before another computer. The monitor looks similar to one I used when I was in fifth grade. Awesome. I am set up to take a Word, Excel, and typing test.

The Word and Excel tests don't always like my answers, because they are designed to do things the long way. I have to stop thinking like someone who actually knows how to use the program in order to pass. The typing test goes ok, but I am slowed by people talking right next to me as I type. I am slowed to 55 wpm though, so no one questions the results.

Finished with the tests, I sit down in the reception area once again to wait. I have run out of things to look at, as I have read all the OSHA posters on the wall, and the fixed asset barcodes on all the equipment close by.

Finally, I am greeted by the "interviewer" or Account Executive who will be responsible for placing me. She is very bubbly, but not overly so. I am pleased. She looks over my resume and test results. She is pleased.

We discuss my experience, what I would like to do, and then she asks me a question I was not prepared for.

"Give me your Top 5 companies you would like to work for in this area."

Hmmm...I give her my Top 1, as it is the only one that comes to mind. She happens to be meeting with them on Thursday and will talk me up while she is there. Score.

She tells me that I remind her of her best friend who moved to Seattle, so she feels like she must find me something great, and she already has a couple of things in mind. Double score.

So as you can see, these sort of interviews can take much time, and for someone like myself who can, on occasion, be somewhat snarky, much control. But, you never know what the end result may be.

On a sad note, it looks like my days of horseplay may be over.

Listening to: Hey Ya by JD Natasha
Current Mood: Hopeful...and I also feel the need to wash my hands

BONUS!! 10 points to anyone who can figure out who the "Top 1" company was. (My sister is automatically disqualified from guessing)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Irish, eh?

I took one of those tests that people always put on blogs...which I usually find cheesy. But job search boredom has led to this....

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous!
You drink everyone under the table.

Hmmm...considering that in reality, when it comes to being European, I should probably fall under Italian or Spanish, I thought this was kind of funny. Last I checked, I can't drink anyone under a table, or any other piece of furniture. Spirited? Perhaps yes. Boisterous? Sometimes. According to the picture, I also enjoy knee socks and colorful printed skirts.

So since I have now subjected you all to such cheesy blog fare, you also must take the test, to make me feel less loser-y for having posted this nonsense.

Listening to: Delicate (Live in Dublin) by Damien Rice (Yes, coincidently, I am listening to someone Irish singing in Ireland)
Current Mood: wistful

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Back on the Wagon

Or is it off the wagon?

Aside from updating you all on the latest going-ons in my life, I am also sitting in front of the computer job searching. After a lovely stint of being happily jobless, it is sadly time to get back to work.

My husband's job is currently in danger, as the people who own his company contemplate selling it or merging it with another company. This means that anytime in the very near future, he may be let go. As unemployment doesn't pay all of the bills, I am preemptively job searching in hopes of finding work before things go downhill.

I hate job searching. Not so much the not knowing what will happen part. I am cool with all of that - I can be low stress when I want to (read: need to) be. However, I HATE composing cover letters. Which is odd. Considering how much I enjoy expressing myself in writing, one would think that the cover letter would be a piece of cake for me. Nope. Not at all.

So that is what I will be up to for the next couple of days/weeks. Which also means there is a decent chance I will be visiting the blog a little more, to stave off the boredom of job hunting.

Listening to: The Ballad of Booth from The Assasins
Current Mood: appreciating launchcast's need to cheer me up through Broadway musicals


As I sat in front of the computer, poised to finally update the blog, I typed in the address, only to be asked if I was ready to meet Jesus. Wah?

Evidently, I had typed in the address incorrectly. Rather than verstand-y.blogspot.com I typed verstand-y.blogpsot.com. Multiple times. I was beginning to think that my blog had been hijacked by someone that, evidently, wanted me to immediately get down on my knees and pray for forgiveness of my sins.

After all those years, my first grade teacher was right. Spelling IS important.

Next post: We learn that reading actually is fundamental.

Listening to: We're Not Sorry from The Broadway Musical Urinetown
Current Mood: scattered