Thursday, March 31, 2016

Update! (I know, I know)

So!  Work.  Even after the immediate threat of The Project had been removed, I was still having problems with severe anxiety, panic attacks, and irrational bouts of tears.

(And if there is a man reading this right now (I know, I know, WHAT ARE THE ODDS, but still), I can just hear you (the theoretical man who is reading, that is) saying, "typical woman", so, Dear Sir, please let me know where you are so I can come kick you in the junk.)

Wait.  Where was I?  Oh yeah.  Not really getting better, on the mental front.  So I called the office of my primary care physician this afternoon and briefly explained the situation, stating that I think I needed some help of the mental sort, and HOLY HELL, evidently that will get some alarm bells ringing right quick, because I was offered immediate care if I felt it necessary (nope, not gonna slit my wrists, at least not right now, thanks), and an appointment as soon as I felt I would be able to come in in the morning.

Because I *do* need help.  I don't know why I can't get my brain to step down from PANIC MODE PANIC MODE SOUND THE ALARMS A-OOO-GA A-OOO-GA, but  I need to do so, or I'm afraid that some kind of internal circuit breakers in my head are going to start frying right up.

(And if you are reading this right now thinking, "over-reaction, much?", you are probably still that same man I want to come kick in the junk (see above), so go eff right off.  I don't KNOW why I can't calm down, I just know that I CAN'T right now, and it's scaring me and I'm tired of feeling the way I feel.)

So!  Doctor's appointment in the a.m.  I will, of course, keep you posted.

Oh!  And let's end on a more cheerful note, shall we?  The hyacinths are in bloom.

(Yep, that's right, Little Miss Head Case managed to snap a pic.  I'm cured!  Eff you, Dear (theoretical) Sir.)

Recently Read

Yep, here we go again.  Skip it if you wanna.

1.  If Wishes Were Horses:  The Education of a Veterinarian by Loretta Gage, DVM and Nancy Gage - Vet school memoir.  Absorbing.

2.  Two in the Far North by Margaret Murie - BO-RING.  It's a memoir about living in Alaska, which I usually eat up, but according to this book, set in the early to mid 1900s, Alaska was full of civilized people living cushy if simple lives, and it never even got that cold, evidently.  Bah.  On the bright side, evidently Ms. Murie's Alaska experience was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from that of every other Alaska memoirist I've ever read, so good for her.

3.  Animal Patients by Edward J. Scanlon - Yep, another veterinarian memoir.  Good.

4.  The Animals Come First by Mary Bowring - Just for a change of pace, this was NOT a veterinarian memoir.  It was a veterinarian's WIFE'S memoir.  Ha.  I enjoyed it.  OF COURSE.

5.  The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall - Novel about barnstormers in the 1920s.  A light read, and I didn't get really invested in it until about two-thirds of the way through, but a good book.

6.  Honey in the Horn by H.L Davis.  Novel about homesteading in Oregon in the early 1900s. Did not finish. 

7.  A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary - Memoir of childhood from the woman who wrote the "Ramona Quimby" series of children's books.  Charming.

8.  Through the Narrow Gate by Karen Armstrong.  Memoir of the experiences of a woman who became a nun at 17 in the mid-sixties.  Interesting and well written, and did not disavow me of the opinion that organized religion is whacked.

9.  Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall -  I thought The Flying Circus was enjoyable, so I checked out this one.  Didn't like and didn't finish.

That's it!  Anybody reading anything good?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Something other than work

When I wasn't at work, these last couple of horrible weeks, I did a lot of walking.  A LOT of walking.  I don't use a pedometer, so I don't know how many miles exactly, but MAN did I walk.

Some pictures, for you:

That must've been a helluva campout, that's all I'm sayin':

Whenever I look at a pine tree, I can't help but size up its Christmas Tree potential.  I don't know why, I just do. :


Camouflage tree:

Well, now we know what the hunters think of this sign, at least:  Target practice!:

Coltsfoot (feet?) are up:

As is the skunk cabbage:

Some falls are big, some falls are little, and all falls are cool.

Monday, March 28, 2016


My boss (supposedly) worked on the project all through the weekend, including (supposedly) pulling an all-nighter last night.

He asked me to make copies, etc., today, but nothing more.

The project went out the door this afternoon.

I've never seen a more botched abomination in my life.  None of the numbers add up, nothing makes any sense, and he didn't include any continuation spreadsheets to explain his numbers.

You know what?  Not my problem. 

Now he's on his way out of the country, he took exactly NO copies of the completed paperwork with him, and I predict the project owner, the financing bank, etc., will be making calling my boss's cell phone in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Good luck with that, boss.  You're gonna need it.

Friday, March 25, 2016


I did go to the office today.  I was not asked to work on the project in question, instead working on my normal office duties.  One of the problems with the whole situation is that my normal office duties take up my entire day, so trying to shoehorn in this extra project was not really realistic from the get-go.  My boss still has not completed the project on his own, and I highly, highly doubt that he will be able to before he leaves the country Monday evening, but that is no longer my concern and I will not be drawn into it.  He did thank me for coming in to the office today, and repeated that the work that I had already done on the project in question had been a big help to him.  He continues to tell me that I will no longer be working on the project.

Now we'll just have to see what happens on Monday.  Should be interesting.

Thank you for all the comments on the previous posts!  Between work and a terrible situation going on at home right now I haven't really been present on line, but I wanted to keep everybody posted.

As of right now, I am still employed and I am not being asked to work on the project, so that's good news.  And it's Friday, I am off work until Monday, and that's even better news!  Happy Friday, everybody!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Email from my boss

I got 2 resolved,and will do #3...
It took me until 9:30,  You were a great help, I would like to have you return to work when you feel better. 
You will have nothing to do with the Cook Bros. job,I need you for your help just to handle the daily business excluding any thing to do with that project. ..

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


After taking the weekend off, I returned to work on Monday morning, at which point my boss threw me right back on the same hopeless project.  I worked on it, working overtime and repeatedly telling him that I was on the verge of a breakdown and could not continue to work on the project, running on about 6 hours sleep in the past 48 hours, until this morning, when I broke after half an hour at work.

After getting myself enough together to compose an email, I emailed my boss, telling him that I would be taking unpaid personal leave for health reasons starting immediately.  I again told him that he could fire me if he wanted to, but I could no longer work on that project under any circumstances, and I left the office. 

After driving around aimlessly for some time, repeatedly having to pull over to compose myself enough to get back on the road, I headed home, intending to change into hiking clothes and hit a trail to try to relieve some of the relentless anxiety.  My boss CAME TO MY HOUSE and told me that I HAD to come back to work.  I told him, again, that my mental state was extremely precarious, and I felt I had to take some personal leave to recover.  He reiterated that I HAD to come to work and work on that project, at which I flipped the fuck out.

Oh my God the DRAMA.

Guys, over the past 29 years, I have worked on many, many projects which were not particularly enjoyable, as anyone does.  I have rescued my boss from disaster more times than I can count, but when he handed me this project, which needed to be done by someone with his skill set and his professional education, I was doomed to failure.  He gets $175.00 per hour to do this particular job, and he dumped it on my desk and expected me to deal with it.  I could not.  It would be like taking me into an operating room, handing me a scalpel, and expecting me to perform brain surgery.  It was an impossible task for me.

Where do things stand now?  I don't know.  I need to accomplish some goals before I can make any decisions.  I need to be able to eat without throwing it back up (yep, that's happening, too), I need to  be able to sleep more than two hours at a time without waking up in a blind panic, and I need to be able to stop hyperventilating every fifteen goddamn minutes.  Once I can get myself off the precipice I'm currently on, I may be able to make some decisions.

My boss told me this morning that I was putting him in a "terrible position", and I wanted to say, "Like you did when you handed me a project you knew I was in no way capable of completing?"  Part of the problem is that he's about to leave for (another) month in Europe, but I can't be concerned about that right now.  Maybe he should have thought about the timing of that particular leisure trip, while he was right in the middle of doing construction management on a million-plus dollar project.

So that's where things are right now.  I need to regain my mental stability  before I can make any decisions about returning to work, and in the meantime, if my boss fires me, he fires me.

To be continued ...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pro tips!

(a) Breaking into tears at your desk because of the stress of trying to do an impossible task leads to your boss giving you the afternoon off from work.

(b)  Day drinking is a perfectly legitimate way to spend an unexpected afternoon off from work.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Still Alive

Yep, I'm still alive.  Still in the weeds at work, so I thought I'd take a little break to pop in here. 

PG watch continues:

COME ON, Kitty Mama!  BIRTH those babies, er, kittens!

Last night the spring peepers were peeping away, which was awesome, and I slept with a window cracked a little even though it got down to, like, 34 degrees, because PEEPERS!

I went up to the reservoir last weekend, and there was still ice on the lake, which, boooo.

But it didn't stop some dude from kayaking on the open part, which, all I can say is, better you than me, dude:

But the crocuses in my gardens are blooming, so, yaaaay!

Hopefully, the next time I'm back here, I'll be out of the weeds at work, and I'll have pictures of KITTENS.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Sorry, guys, work is completely in the weeds right now.  Today I didn't know whether to quit, cry, or punch somebody, and it doesn't look like it's going to get any better any time soon.  Basically, I'm being asked to perform far, far above my education, experience or pay grade, and then reprimanded (okay, YELLED AT) when I fall short. 

But like they say, when you're going through hell you've got to keep on going, so I'm going to keep my head down, my mouth shut, and slog this through.

Copious amounts of alcohol may be involved.  Ha.

And if anybody out there has any coping techniques OTHER than heavy drinking, let me hear them!

I'll be back when I'm through to the other side.

Friday, March 11, 2016

PG or not PG? That is the question

Okay, first off, an update:  The (alleged) babydaddy has been captured!  He is going to be neutered, and then, because he is feral, he will released in the same place where Kitty Mama will be released if she decides to remain feral.  That leaves one remaining cat, the tabby, still to go, and then the Walmart feral colony will be all taken care of.  We're going to let the raccoons and the possums fend for themselves, thankyouverymuch.

Now, to the question at hand.

Just like it's not a good idea to ask a woman if she's pregnant, it also can be tricky telling if a CAT is pregnant, and how far along she is.  With the last pregnant cat I fostered, Honey, I was SURE that she had a couple of weeks to go, or possibly wasn't even pregnant at all, when I went in the foster room one morning, and, Surprise!  Kittens!

It is not uncommon at all for a foster cat thought to be pregnant to turn out to be not pregnant at all.  Short of doing an ultrasound, which most rescues can't afford to have done simply to determine pregnancy, there really isn't any good way to tell, as many cats can carry a pregnancy without showing much at all until the last few days.  And some cats blow up like balloons and turn out to be simply well-fed.

So!  We come to Kitty Mama.  I am taking the word of the woman who rescued her that she's pregnant.  I mean, that was the big hurry on trapping her.  It really doesn't matter much to me one way or the other:  I'll either be fostering her and her kittens, or just her, for the next couple of months.  But!  I have to admit that I wouldn't mind having some itty-bitty baby kittens in the foster room, along with Kitty Mama.

Let's go to the game cam, shall we?

Hmmm, she doesn't look pregnant to me:

Oh, but wait, I think I see a bulge:

Nope, she looks totally normal:

But waaaaaaait a minute!:

Haha basically, I have no idea at this point.  Anyone care to hazard any guesses?

Wednesday, March 09, 2016


Every time I hear that old Billy Joel song, "You're My Home", I used to always think, "yeah, she WAS your home, until you became famous and ditched her and married a supermodel."  But then!  I found out that his first wife was actually married to another man when they first hooked up, so pot calling out the kettle and all that. 

NPR keeps pushing websites named "News in Slow Spanish", "News in Slow French", and "News in Slow Italian".  I think any of those would make an excellent band name.

There is a squirrel (or possibly two) living in the crawlspace above the offices at work.  We can hear him (or them) thumping around like crazy up there most days.  Once I saw a tail drop down into a light fixture screen, and my co-worker saw one of the culprits on top of a bookcase once, where he had dropped out out of a removed ceiling panel.  I guess it's all fun and games until a computer wire gets chewed through.

My favorite brand/flavor of toothpaste has been discontinued, and I am bereft.  Damn you, Colgate!

I can't even with The Voice anymore, ever since Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani hooked up.  I mean, I never liked Gwen Stefani, and I only tolerated Blake Shelton because he was married to Miranda Lambert, so a Gwen/Blake mashup is just too much for me to take, dislikeability-wise.  Blech.  I can't believe I actually THINK about stuff like this, but there ya go.

Friskies has recently come out with several new canned cat food flavors, one of which is named "With Lamb in Clam Flavored Sauce" , or, as it will be forever called in my house, "Lamb 'n Clams".  hahahaha I don't know why, but that just cracks me up.  Unfortunately, the cats don't care for the taste of it, but I still love that name.

I keep a string of Christmas tree lights up in a window in my kitchen all year round, because it makes me smile, and the other night I was bereft, BEREFT I tell you, to discover that half the string had gone out.  I toyed briefly with trying to figure out which bulb, exactly, needed to be replaced, but then said Eff That Noise and tossed the string of lights, only to panic at the idea that there would be no replacement Christmas tree light strings available in stores for several months.  So I rushed to ebay, just to make SURE that I would be able to buy a replacement string right away, and went ahead and bought one.  Heaven forbid my kitchen window be without its Christmas lights.

I flipped over a bookmark the other day to find it had been published by "The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists."  Hmmmm, I wondered, is that really a thing?  Why, yesYes it is.  Live and learn.  And I will tell you what, those people can paint a helluva lot better than I can.

I am pleased to be able to say that Kitty Mama broke her hunger strike last night.  Progress!

The daffodils are up in my gardens.  What's coming up at your place?

Monday, March 07, 2016


The cat has been captured!

On Saturday night, we ALMOST got her.  She walked into the trap, the tabby right behind her, but somehow, the trap did not trigger.  From this pic, it almost looks like she was leaning over the trigger plate, but it's hard to tell.  When the woman went back to check the trap it had not triggered, so she removed the door for the night.  I checked the trap on Sunday morning and the whole setup was all kittywampus, with the trigger plate flipped over in the wrong direction, so I set everything back up correctly in preparation for another try.

Late Sunday afternoon, the woman went back and activated the trap.  Approximately TWO MINUTES after she left, this happened:

And THIS time, the door dropped down.  The trap worked!  The cat was CAPTURED!!!

The woman brought her up to my house:

Where she briefly explored the foster room:

And then promptly hid behind a bookcase.  *sigh*

But!  She is safe!  She is inside!  She has a nice, quiet place to have her kittens and raise them, and she will be spayed, so her cycle of raising kittens underneath Walmart has come to an end.  Her kittens will be raised with human companionship, so they will not be feral like their mama and they will be able to be adopted into loving homes.  Once the kittens are old enough to be adopted, if she has decided that she still wants to be feral, she has a guaranteed spot at a place where she can be feral and still be sheltered and monitored.

Little calico, safe at last.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Cats of Walmart

Yes, the saga continues.  In an effort to get a better idea of when the calico cat is coming around, to determine the optimum trap-setting time, I volunteered to set up my gamecam on Tuesday.  The trap was left unset, so as not to inadvertently catch the wrong cat.

Look!  It's calico:

 and yes, if I had to guess, I'd say that she is probably with child, er, kittens.

Heeeeeeere's babydaddy!  (Allegedly.  Ahem.)

The woman doing the feeding thought there was one more cat hanging around, and she was right:

Hey, THESE are funny looking cats:

and wow, THIS one looks even FUNNIER:

Jeez, this lady's feeding the entire Wild Kingdon back behind Walmart!  That's the problem when you free-feed ferals, i.e., leave food out all the time:  You never know who's going to show up at the snack bar.  It's much easier when people do limited feedings, that is, put the food down, leave it down for half an hour, and then pick it back up again until the next scheduled feeding.  That puts an end to the wildlife showing up, and it gets the ferals on a schedule, making for easier trapping. Hopefully when I show these pics to the woman doing the feeding, she'll agree.  Time to get these cats trapped and into rescue care and put an end to the endless buffet.

I'll keep you posted ...

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Pop question: Getting Lost

I was watching Still Alice the other night, with Julianne Moore as a woman who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.

And of course, I got to thinking about my mom, who passed away from the regular type of Alzheimer's in 2013, so the movie was ... not easy for me to watch.

In the movie, one of the first outward signs of Julianne Moore's character's disease is when she can't find the bathroom in her house, and ends up wetting her pants.  And I remembered how, a few years before my mom was actually diagnosed, I knew that there was something wrong.  She was forgetting things, and losing things, and then, one day, she was relating an anecdote to a few of us about how she had gotten lost in Walmart, how she had been doing her regular shopping, and then got turned around somehow, and realized that she didn't know where the front of the store was or how to find the exit.

And everybody laughed, talking about how big the big-box stores were, and how disorienting, and how everybody gets lost in one from time to time.

And I was, well, nonplussed.  Because I can't even imagine getting lost inside a store.  How could you possibly get so confused that you couldn't find your way to the exits?  And I still remember how worried I felt about my mom when she told that story, and how baffled I was that other people were relating to it, because WHO GETS LOST INSIDE A STORE?!

So:  Here's my question:  Have you ever gotten lost inside a store?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Right up the wall

The first time I saw this University of Phoenix commercial, I was hooked.  The woman's voice is distinctive, and the melody, from The Wizard of Oz, is instantly recognizable.  The visuals and storyline are interesting; people doing what it takes to get a college degree.

But then I started listening to the lyrics.  "A degree is a degree"?  Um, no, considering that if you buy a degree from the University of Phoenix, you're paying many times more than what the same degree would cost at your local community college.  "You're gonna want someone like me, but only if YOU have a brain"?  Again, no, if I were an employer, I would cast a long side-eye at a University of Phoenix degree, mainly because they've got a bad reputation for price gouging.

Sadly, the only people likely to be taken in by this commercial are the same ones portrayed in it; low-income workers looking for the quickest way to a degree and vulnerable to high-pressure recruiting tactics.

I googled "University of Phoenix scam" and up popped story after story of people ripped off by the school.  The most heartbreaking were ones like these:

“I was former student of UOP or Appallo and I went to get a anther copy of my tarnscript for my current school I have been at for over year and they will no release my transcripts. I ask them why. They say that I owe them 2800.00 dallors. I said how could that be when you collected well over 7500.00 and I drop classes and come to find out after I withdrew they still collect money and still saying I owe them money. So I contacted a attorney they will be hearing from them.
They also sent me to collection and the school I am going to know will not grant Finical Aid untill i get those transcipts. One semister from getting my LPN.”

Oh. My. God.  This illiterate person was one "semister" from getting an LPN.  Holy.  SH*T.  I'm sorry, but that is f*cking FRIGHTENING.

Now when I see the commercial it makes my blood pressure rise.  Hmmm, maybe the University of Phoenix should consider a tie-in with a high blood pressure medication manufacturer ...