Friday, August 29, 2014


I like the DC metro rail system.  I moved here in part to have access to a subway system.  I like leaving the driving to metro.   It is a modern system,  opening about 35 years ago.  The first clue to the age of the system is the extraordinary large underground stations.  Real caves. Atlanta and LA have similar designs. Much different than the older systems like Chicago and New York. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Calling all muses

My muses seem to be out on a late summer vacation.  I don't have much to say and what I do have to say is frequently grumpy.  Late August has always been a strange time of the year for me.  It was end of the summer harvest season when I was growing up,   lots of work and lots of stress.  My father didn't deal well with stress.  My birthday is this week, and that has a history of stress for me.  There are unresolved issues from 45 years ago.  Hard to let go of some things.  I have to remember that forgiveness is something you do for you,  not the other person.  I miss going back to school. 

I had scheduled a meeting this morning to discuss a project.  Everyone and their pet duck showed up. Maybe they were prepared for me to be a bitch. I wasn't.  It was a walk in the park. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Left my bag unattended for five minutes

I left my bag unattended for five minutes yesterday to say hi to a friend and when I came back some had slipped this into it. Wonderfully welcoming people.  I like this conference. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Older Indians Conference

The last time I attended this conference, the earth moved - we had an earthquake.  A very welcoming crowd. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fading Away

This little guy has been fading away for several weeks.  I think he flew into the glass on the side of the shuttle bus shelter, he was pretty fresh when I first saw him 2-3 weeks ago.  The next day the aunts were having a feast.  He was still there a week later (I don't ride the bus often.) This afternoon he was still there, or at least the essence of him.  How far can he fade and still be recognizable as a bird.  Feathers, beak, his claw like feet, he still has the essence of bird. How much farther can he fade.  

I do research on aging.  We look at adults, fading, the same question, how far can we fade and still be recognized as the person we started out as? 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Better Day

There was nearly no one in the office today.  Fewer idiots around today. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Week With Stupid People

So, I am responsible for planning a national conference for this October 16 & 17th. We have made good progress, I have a strong agenda, great speakers (over 70 of them) and for the first time ever the majority of the workshop materials were submitted by the due date (1 August.)

Then there was this weeks's encounters with morons.

Tuesday morning I was on a call unrelated to the Conference and someone proudly announced that the White House is planning to sending representatives to the Conference to conduct a listening session to gather input for a conference they are planning sometime next year.  This was news to me, and I am THE person responsible for the Conference - I am personally responsible for the agenda.  One of my planning committee members had suggested it to the White House and then left town on vacation without emailing or calling me.  I am thrilled at the honor, but shocked that someone would add something to my program without asking if I had room in an agenda that has been packed to the brim since April.  I was mildly unpleasant to a couple of people.

Today's idiot encounter.
The Conference meeting space will hold 140 people, fire code that is the maximum number of chairs we can place in the largest room at the venue.  We have known this since January.  When we opened registration we set a cap of 125, a month ago we raised that to 132, and last week I raised it to 140. This week I noticed that the cap was back down to 132.  I figured it was an IT backup issue so I emailed asking for it to be raised back to 140 and the moron storm erupted.  Staff had lowered it (without talking to me) to 132 to allow for walk in registrations. We are nearing a sell-out 8 weeks before the program date(121 as of this afternoon,) and they want to hold seats for people who might or might not show up at the last minute.  I responded that I thought this unwise. I then received an email saying that when they thought about it we have not factored in last minute cancellation and no-shows. Could I please find statistics on what the average cancellation rate is for similar conferences (2% by the way.)  So we went from we need to hold back seats for walk in registrations to we need to figure out how much we can oversell the conference to factor in no shows. So if we go to the original cap of 140, and we have the predicted 2% no show rate, we have 3-4 seats for walk ins that may or may not happen.  Kind of back to what I asked for originally.  But it 2 1/2 hours of my life, that I will never get back went into getting back to the original point (and I have six people that I know of that are registered for the conference, but only showing up for their session and leaving - if anyone listened to me or read my emails they would know I have six people on the list who are not really attending.)

I only spent a few seconds pounding my head against the wall.  I have been home nearly an hour, and I have not started drinking.  A good sign of self control.

And I am thinking of working with these people for a repeat program in 2015.  Who is the idiot?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Better Day

Complicated week,  this was a better day.  In the words of Zorba we must dance

Friday, August 08, 2014

Reeducation Camps

Progress continues on K's garage, the posting on FB this morning was watching cement dry.  I couldn't help myself, I was once referred to the concrete industry counsel reeducation program for blatant misuse of cement.

If your cement dries, before it cures, you have a problem.  Water mixed with Portland cement, causes a chemical reaction that causes the cement to "cure' or harden.  Cement, is mixed with aggregate, generally crushed or size sorted rock, to form concrete.  What K was watching was concrete curing.  It will cure underwater, but if it dries before it cures it will never reach it's full hardness.

Next lesson is cinder blocks versus concrete blocks.  Cinder blocks are made with "cinders" traditionally the incombustible left overs from burning coal.  Cinder blocks are kind of like popcorn glued together.  The are lite weight, brittle and have limited weight bearing capacity. Concrete blocks are made from Portland cement and aggregate.  Concrete blocks are heavy, have a high tensile strength and can bear significant weight.  Cinder blocks are used for non-structural infill such as partition walls, Concrete blocks are used in foundations, structural walls, in applications where the finished wall is exposed, and in weight bearing applications. Cinder blocks are in inferior substitute.

The Concrete Industry Council is very protective of the name and reacts unkindly to miss characterization of the product they are so proud of.  Apparently their reeducation program was very successful.  If we could only reeducate the drivers in this town as effectively.

Thursday, August 07, 2014


Friends of ours are building a new garage.  They started last week by tearing down the old one.  K posted with several hours delay on starting tearing things down.  This morning it was waiting for grading and site preparation.  The contractor said they would start at 8:00. K kept posting on Facebook that they were due to start any minute, due 30 minutes ago, due to an hour ago, where the hell are they and why didn't I sleep in today.  I finally posted that I could translate construction worker. When a construction crew says we will start at about 8:00 am, it means that they will meet at Denny's for breakfast at 8:00.  They will wait for Joey to show up, he had a hot date last night, is a little hung over and his truck wouldn't start this morning.  Once he shows up it will take a while for his breakfast order and while waiting he will tell them about how he ended up leaving the headlights on last night running the battery down. After breakfast they have to head off to the building supply store for hammer bolts, then stop for gas, then drive very-very slowly to the job site.  They will be there in time to break for lunch.  If they say they will be there tomorrow, be prepared, they didn't say which tomorrow, it probably means this week, but likely not the day after today.  If they say they will be there next week and don't give you a specific day, start looking for another contractor.  

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Kitchen Adventures

On the way home from last weekends bear adventures, we stopped and picked blueberries and I bought half a bushel of tomatoes.  Monday evening I made 12 pints of tomato sauce and canned it.  I had never done that before.  25 pounds is a lot of tomatoes, the food-mill attachment on the Kitchen-Aid mixer did a wonderful job of separating the peels and seeds. This morning I decided to make a tart with the rest of the blueberries.  Sometimes bad things happen to good pastry, I dropped the first tart shell taking it out of oven.  After cleaning up the mess, I tried again  - sooner or later I will overcome my pastry-phobia.  I have a loaf of bread baking at the moment, it smells yummy around here today. 

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Bah bah

If I had 10 acres in the country, I would want a flock of sheep, black-sheep.  So much warm fluffiness.  Why black-sheep - they are shunned from flocks, every family has one, they are the underdogs of the sheep world, and the wool has a wonderful color without any dye.  Bah-bah!