Tuesday, January 20, 2009

when we were tested we refused to let this journey end

Finally.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and co-operation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.

At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we, the people, have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

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posted by lee on 01/20/09 at 08:36 PM

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Monday, January 12, 2009

not too bad, but not as good as i thought i was

Always thought I have a pretty good eye for whether things are balanced or not, a picture hanging a little bit askew, deciding on the fairest way to divide something six ways (five siblings, you see ... ) I know I DON’T have an eye for wrapping paper around boxes, but otherwise, pretty okay.

Then I took this test: The Eyeballing Game, found on Matthias Wandel’s woodworking website via xBlog: the visual thinking weblog, and scored an average error of 7.63.

Hmm. I think I’d better rely on measuring with rulers and protractors and levels for the stuff that really counts.

posted by lee on 01/12/09 at 12:11 AM

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

coneheads

Finally, we were able to get Ruby and Bingo spayed and microchipped yesterday. I guess I didn’t really realize that spaying was such a major operation—it’s a hysterectomy. At any rate, they came through with flying colors, but we have to keep them quiet for 10-14 days.

When we picked them up at Strawberry Hill Animal Hospital (where Meredith Re, the best vet ever, did the operations), we had to wait a bit because they had to be fitted with cones because they immediately decided they’d remove their own stitches. And we’re supposed to keep the cones on for the entire recovery period. What do you think the pups think of their new headgear? See for yourself:

It was very difficult getting any sleep last night. Two very unhappy dogs with cones on the bed with us (plus an opportunistic cat—or is that redundant?), and it wasn’t like we could shove them around like we normally do because of their incisions. Ruby saved her poop for hours and then ran to the bathroom and just let it all out—took me 20 minutes to clean it up, poor thing. (Ruby, not me.) The Tramadol seems to be working (doggie pain meds) as they don’t seem to be in pain—they just hate the cones. Bingo managed to chew Ruby’s cone tie off—fortunately, Ruby didn’t return the favor.

Tomorrow, the kitties go in for the annual updates and checkups. Tonight, we’re headed to Pet Supplies Plus (because Jamie gave us a gift card to that pet store) to get a new collar for Ruby, who has pretty much trashed her current leather collar (pulling, mostly, we think). The vet’s office gave us training leashes so we can start doing some serious training, ala Cesar Millan, when they’re healed up. Then, maybe, we can walk them instead of vice versa.

posted by lee on 01/08/09 at 03:29 PM

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

well they did the research and ...

It’s a Good Thing, sleeping late. Stanley sent me a link to the Wired article entitled “3 Smart Things About Sleeping Late.”

First of all, it says, people really need ten hours of sleep—that’s what people averaged before the light bulb was invented. Or maybe it was the TV ... no, it was the light bulb. “Research by Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders Center found that people who slept eight hours and then claimed they were ‘well rested’ actually performed better and were more alert if they slept another two hours.” I’ll have to try that.

Night owls are creative thinkers, other studies say. I definitely fall into the owl category—I often joke that I’m on Vampire Standard Time. I rarely hit the zone during the day—usually it’s during the late evening and early morning hours. I get some of my best work done, and figure out some of the trickiest stuff, in the middle of the night. It’s really hard for me to function in the morning—I’ve tried many times to adjust to “normal” hours (clients, for some strange reason, seem to prefer normal hours). Other research says the way our biological clocks are set—running later for evening types and earlier for morning types—is probably genetic. So I guess there’s no resetting the bioclocks.

Third, stress hormones peak around 7 a.m.—so sleeping late avoids all that. Cortisol is lowest between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. I wonder if it’s cortisol that spikes when you discover your dog has eaten almost an entire stick of butter. As I just did. She keeps getting taller and we’re running out of places out of Bingo’s reach.

Between the butter and some frustration I’m having with installing Expression Engine, latest version, on our company website, I think I’m going to call it a night. We did have a relaxing night—kind of a break before we have some serious work to do tomorrow and this week. We watched 1408, Doomsday, and Slither, and of the three Doomsday sucked, 1408 was pretty interesting though a little long, and Slither was just plain fun.

posted by lee on 01/04/09 at 12:07 AM

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

magical thinking

Last night, I didn’t scratch off my lottery ticket—it was still 2008 and I decided I’d have a better chance when the numbers changed to 2009. Makes no sense, I know. Last year was such a hard, sad year I needed something to use as a signal to start moving forward again. The ball dropping in Times Square was good, a New Year’s kiss from my husband was better.

I haven’t scratched the ticket yet—I’m in no hurry to be disappointed.

Stanley gave me a Flip Ultra video camcorder for Christmas—I was surprised. I’d mentioned I thought I would like to have one last spring, when David Pogue mentioned it in his column in the New York Times (but could in no way justify spending the money on it!)—I had no idea Stanley remembered.

Today, I put together a little movie, two of my first videoclips, took out the sound and added music by Fredo Viola. This is an experiment—fun to play with and it makes me want to get editing software. The quality is better in the original format, but I converted it to a Flash video to keep the file size low. Of course the puppies are first! The loading graphic isn’t working properly, at least not in Firefox—so just click the play button to watch it (I’ll fix it sooner or later).

The video stars Ruby and Bingo, Stanley, Tattoo, Kate and Maureen, Jeff, Jamie and Dad, Ben and Holly—more or less in order of first appearance. I couldn’t find the cats at the time, so they lost out. So it’s not Art—it was fun. I’ll get better at it. I hope.

Haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions yet, not really. Just a goal of getting most of the house under control within the next few days as it’s been badly neglected since mid November. I think I’ll start emerging from my fog when I finish decluttering my desk.

Happy New Year to everyone!

posted by lee on 01/01/09 at 04:45 PM

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