Thursday, March 31, 2011

everybody loves a parade

When i was last at my dad's it just happened to be Appreciation Week and i went to my first full-on golf cart parade. I've seen little ones around Christmas at my mom's house, but this was themed and had prizes so I had no idea what to expect.
Of course there was a color guard
and the park banner,
but i wasn't expecting fire trucks
or a drum line.
These people take their neighborhood parades seriously.
The theme for this parade was The Circus
and even the Grand Marshals got into the Big Top mood.

The various clubs in the parade are regional based on where people are originally from, and no, there is no Florida Club. I didn't take pictures of everything, but here are some highlights.
First up was Canada
who had a very patriotic, if non-thematic, showing.
New York/New Jersey gave us
the Big Apple Garden State Circus
and they had this clown  who seemed very enthusiastic and glad to see me for no apparent reason; it was only later that i realized that it was my dad's neighbor.
 Helllllooooo, Mid-Atlantic!
My dad is the president of this club and they had some folks in costume
 (the lady on that bike in full costume is 90!)
while other carts had been turned into animal cages,
like it was a circus train:
 tigers are my favorite,
especially since my dad was driving 
cool, huh?  
New England had a clown parade
singing as they marched,
followed by their states' flags.
Finally,  Midwest was something of a spectacle
Like any good parade there was candy and toys (and popsicles cause it was so dang hot) being handed out and thrown from the golf carts. A clown handed me this great purple ring
 but i think we might be engaged now cause every time he saw me after that he blew me kisses and came over to get a hug.
Here's me and my roustabout dad by the polar bear cage (painted by another lady in the club who's 90).

Good times and certainly a new thing.
[BTW, dad's club took second place!]

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

twart-hog of the tundra

I came to work early to start running some structural integrity tests on thermoses.
Halfway through i needed to get more liquid nitrogen so i opened the storage room to find this:

You really don't need to know what a 250L Dewar normally looks like
 to know that this
can't possibly be right.

  I tip my hat to you, chilly-chilly thwart-hog!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

conquering hubris

I was reading this series by Garth Nix about a boy who had to battle the personification of the seven deadly sins to save the universe and ran across this week's quote in the sixth book, Superior Saturday:
There is never one absolutely right thing to do. All you can do is honor what you believe, accept the consequences of your actions, and make the best out of whatever happens.
After spending much of last week wrestling with deadlines and commitments to prioritize them and make a plan, it really spoke to me. Since i know that i can't do everything and have to choose carefully, it means that i will sometimes disappoint people -including myself- and i have to be okay with that. Intellectually i KNOW that is true, but i need to read it, write it and say it aloud to help my heart believe it is true as well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Two down, Four to go

I am happy to say that i am right on track to meet my goal of maximum blood donation in 2011. I went last week and have discovered that 6:30 on a random week night is totally the time to go because no one is there. Most of the phlebotomists were cleaning up, doing paperwork, and resetting for the next day while myself and another gentleman were donating. We were all playing Jeopardy out loud along with the tv when the category History of the American Red Cross was announced. No lie. It was hilarious, but also kinda warm and bonding, to be sitting at the Red Cross and hear 12 people call out Who is Clara Barton? at the same time.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

since Mike asked...

Over the last few years i've felt myself becoming stagnant.
I loved my job, but it didn't challenge me anymore and there was resistance to change from higher up, not to mention no funds to change anyway. I loved my friends, but so many of them were so far away that i felt isolated. I loved my art, but needed to be stretched. I wasn't completely discontented, but bored and stuck and floundering.
We know now that part of it was medical, but other parts weren't. I've been wanting change, growth, challenges to break me out of my comfortable box. My post about this week's quote is really about how all of that change seems to be happening at once and only some of it is in my control - be careful what you wish for, right?
So, in order to be less cryptic (i'm looking at you, Michael :->) here is a list of opportunities, goals, obstacles, deadlines that are swirling in my brain right now, in no particular order:
-2 members of my team were laid off
-we have to keep taking triple bookings
 -my team is writing the new summer theater program
-my team is writing a new assembly program
 -my team has been researching new classroom programs
 -summer bookings are closed, but higher than i wanted them to be
 -my entire department is being reorganized and reimagined
 -i am on a committee to do a summer extravaganza of science
 -the owner of Objects Found asked me for a new line of Spring cards, three weeks ago
 -there is going to be a 2nd annual Catonsville art exhibition; due date for entries is April 10 and i don't have any new pieces finished
 -i am in the middle of a painting
 -i am in the middle of an assemblage
 -i have the inspiration and the materials to do a sculpture/mobile/thingee, but it needs about a thousand solder joints
 -i need to learn how to solder
 -and get a soldering iron
-i was asked to do the publicity and marketing for that art exhibition
-which just got moved up by a week [MAY 15TH; YOU'RE ALL COMING, RIGHT?]
-i've been reminded that my handmade cards were the highest selling object at the last art exhibition so be sure to have plenty done
 -i have 15-20 necklaces in the works
-i have 6 other necklaces designed and faux beaded that need finished
-there is a new thrift store in Catonsville that i've started courting to possibly carry a line of handmade or reimagined jewelry of mine
 -i have the okay from the organizer of a local scrapbooking crop to be a vendor at her next crop, selling found objects, interesting notions and handmade embellishments, date April 16ish
 -sort and package notions
 -make displays and prices
 -finish embellishments
-make pages/samples using my wares
 -paint 12 chipboard books
 -start April birthday cards
-Debbie's play is this weekend
-spend time with Colleen
-i am working on cultivating/growing about 10 new friendships within 2 totally different communities and need to devote time to each
 -somehow i need to fit in at least 5 hours of sleep a night
-i can finally, finally go back to the gym
 -i don't think i have clean underware for tomorrow
-there are 26 books checked out from the library in my living room, mocking me
-my taxes need done; where did i put my W-2?
 -there are still 22 CDs checked out from the library that i am reviewing
-i owe Carlotta dinner
 -this is day 3 of not buying any restaurant food; if i make it to 31 i get 20 stars, but i really want KFC for dinner so that i don't have to cook
 -there is currently condiments, half an onion and Scotch in my fridge; i need to go shopping
 -i am resolved not to go to the grocery store without a menu, shopping list and coupons
-like everyone else in this economy, i will soon be spending more each month than i make and banks don't believe in negative numbers; where do i get more income?
-i need to secure funds to ensure my mother's continued independence
-my museum is hosting the national conference in October; i am planning a traditional all-day outreach session, due date for changes and prices was a week ago and i have neither finished
-over the last year i've gained 20 pounds that needs attending to before my annual physical next month
 -wait... did i schedule that physical? yes, i did.
 -wait... did i just book a show for that day? hmmmm...
-i need a better recycling process at work cause currently i just take it home, but after rearranging our little corner there are about 5 loads of paper recycling
 -the community clean-up day is April 9 and i want to volunteer
-i want to invite my new neighbors to dinner
-girls' craft night???
-we lost 5 limbs off of the dogwood tree; how am i going to get them to the mulcher on clean-up day?
-the basement seriously needs cleaned
-New Year's resolution #1 (volunteering) hasn't even been started yet; do i want to apply for CASA and/or mentor at St Vincent's?
-i got a baby shower invite for my high school best friend; wait... she's pregnant?!?
-the trivia season ended and we won our location; special game on Saturday, finals next weekend, Trivia Bowl (if we make it) on April 2nd
-i have 10 days of dirty dishes to wash
 -i got a letter from my sponsored boy in Africa and i need to get a return letter in the mail by Saturday
-the are currently 15 blog posts started in the queue and i took picture today for 2 more
-need to fit in a phone debrief date with Matt and Sara this week
 -i owe Grandpa a letter
-the only disorder left from the office shuffling is sitting in my space
-the 35L dewar is in pieces and i need to get it fixed
 -did i take my mid-day pill?... yep; okay
...phew And that's just what came off of the top of my head. Most of these things are awesome opportunities that make me tingle with possibilities. Some of them are deadlines that i'm not sure i'm gonna make. Any money things really stress me out cause i don't really care about money, but that doesn't mean that i don't need it. I need more time, but have to get the sleep necessary to keep me healthy (dang it!). I am excited about the new things at work, but need to take time off to finish my outside endeavors, but can't take time off cause i'm understaffed and don't want to take time off cause i'm excited about the new things.
So Mike... does that clarify things a bit?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

so many options

I am at an exciting juncture in almost every facet of my life - opportunities abound and change is in the air. Some of the changes are challenging, some are less than pleasant, some are wonderful and some are terrifying. I look forward every day to figuring out how i am going to accomplish those goals that i've set for myself, those that others have set for me and those that have been thrust upon me. This week's quote by Savielly Tartakover really speaks to my current mission of balancing the things i want to do with the things i have to do and balancing the things i can control with the things i can't:
Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ho Ho What???

On the way to our school today, I was driving I-70W when a metallic orange convertible merged into traffic. I noticed because i hate orange. When the driver changed lanes i thought, That's an oddly shaped hat quickly followed by, That's quite a beard and then, Is he wearing red long johns? OMG, that's Santa Claus driving that metallic orange convertible! Who knew? Funniest of all, when Santa realized i was looking at him (who wouldn't be?!?) he floored it and tried to dodge me. I very briefly gave chase, but once it was apparent that Santa had no issue with going 80 i backed off since i was in a work vehicle. Why is Santa in Carroll County, MD?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

this could be my ride...

...if i was rich, retired and lived in Florida. sigh

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The word she used was "perfect"

So i got my blood tests back from the doctor this morning and it is all good news. Yes, my stupid thyroid is malingering (die already you useless gland!), but thanks to pharmaceuticals i am now functioning as if i have a fully working endocrine system. I can go back to the gym. I can stay up later. I can have my life back. But for those of you afraid that i will push myself too hard and back-pedal, I draw your attention to this week's quote from one of Laura Lippman's fabulous Tess Monaghan novels (set in Baltimore, dontcha know?):

It kills him, admitting that. But you have to know your weaknesses. You have to be honest about the things that defeated you in the past if you hope to succeed in the future.

I know that i am not indestructible; oh, how i know it. The battle of the last three years to figure out what was wrong with me and find a way to fix it has permanently changed my view of myself and my view of what it means to be useful, productive and fulfilled. FORWARD CHARGE!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How often do you even think about your pancreas?

As i have mentioned before I have not one, but two friends whose mothers are battling pancreatic cancer at the same time.
In one way or another both Cass and Ginny have played mother to me over the past few years since my own mommy is 1000 miles away.
In honor of their brave battles, this month's charity in the Nikiverse will be the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins, here in Baltimore. For information about general donations by check go here and for credit card donations go here; there is a way to indicate that the donation is for the Pancreatic Research Center either way. Here's hoping my $15 can make a difference and best wishes to these awesome ladies:
Cass and Kate with Dashiell; Ginny and Erin

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

update quickie

HI all.
Things are slowly coming under some semblance of control here in the Nikiverse; here is a super quick update:
-i went to Florida for 5 days
-mom has marked weakness on her right side, but no apparent damage to her language centers; there is some doubt as to whether medicare (-caid,whatever) will pay for her rehab so at the moment she is doing exercises at home to build her strength
-there are plans in place at work on how to take triple bookings for the next 3 months with only 2.5 teams available
 -i am handling the layoffs pretty well, now that i know the 2 fTMs are okay and am planning to rearrange furniture in the office to make myself feel better
-i am on my way to have thyroid testing done, with high expectations that all the results will be positive
 -a March charity has been chosen and will be posted in the next few days
 -if you are waiting for your blogiversary thank you package, over half have been mailed and the rest will go out tomorrow
 -i anticipate regular posting to resume by this weekend

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

talk about APT

My mom (who is doing well considering and starts PT tomorrow; thanks for all the well wishes) watches church on tv Sunday mornings if she doesn't feel up to going out. I watched with her, though tv church is certainly not my thing; remarkably, this week's Gospel reading was from Matthew:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
You don't say... Can i get an AMEN, people?