Saturday, May 30, 2009

Maximum capacity

The hubby and I hosted a small party last weekend. Besides having people over to help with the wedding favors, we really haven't had a party at our little place.

When I bought my place, the one thing that I didn't realize was how small and inflexible the orientation of my living/dining room is. There are only two ways to fit a sofa and chair with a tv. That means we can't physically seat more than four people comfortably unless people are willing to sit on the floor or on the stairs. Hence why I tend to avoid having many parties even though I enjoy entertaining.

The theme of this gathering was to play board games. I'm not talking about Taboo, Pictionary, or Scrabble. We're talking hard-core, 3-hour, strategy games designed by famous (often German) games designers. A group of us love to spend a day playing games such as Agricola, Power Grid, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan to name a few. We rarely get through more than one or two games before we call it a day.

I invited maybe 16 people thinking we'd get 6-8 guests. What I hadn't expected was for my dear friends to attend with their cutie two-month old twins. Unless one goes to visit their house, there's little chance of seeing them. In addition to them, I had two other couples bringing their babies. Knowing the babies were coming probably drew in many more people than I had counted on coming.

Once more, usually at parties, people come in waves. I figure even with 14 people and four babies that we'd be okay. Strangely, nearly everyone came within the same four-hour block of time. There were people around the dining table, on the sofa, in the kitchen, on the stairs, in the hallway, and in our bedroom. It was great to see everyone, but it was tough to takes three steps anywhere.

For a couple of the younger, single folks, seeing so many babies around was a bit odd. The majority of us are now in our late 30s, early 40s so naturally our interests and priorities are shifting. Sometimes I think back and wonder how much of the old days I miss. Not being a big party animal, I can't say I miss the blaring music and bad dates. I suppose I do miss the excitement of being out on the town.

All in all, however, it's great to be able to sit back and enjoy time catching up with friends and just being yourself.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Ostrich and Mittens

Concealed guns in national parks?

I just get so mad when I see this stupid credit card interest bill making the rounds in the Congress and the Senate. I'm sorry but what the hell is a gun law going in the middle of a credit card law. THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER!!!!!

People should not be allowed to tack on such ridiculous ideas onto bills that are completely unrelated to each other. The laws being passed are a long discussion in and of themselves but to stick the two together is preposterous. Any respect for whichever congressman did this is never coming back. If I ever run into this person in a national park, I'll make sure to use my, bought with no background check, gun wisely. (Hint: I'll be the one protecting the bear.)

Rant over... continue with your lovely spring day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to the cube

It's my third day on the job. I hate starting new jobs, not because I don't like the job but because I hate feeling like a stranger. Ever had that strange feeling that people aren't telling you something?

My cube is decent, not fancy. The area is a mix of engineers, strategic planning, IT, and marketing. The cube farm is surrounded by conference rooms and offices. It's very frustrating because *all* the windows are in the offices which means those of us in cubes get no sunlight unless we physically step outside the building. At least in my old offices, they building had skylights which helped compensate.

My new boss comes across as a very quiet, gentle soul. I keep wondering if there's tiger hiding inside that I'll only see when she gets crossed the wrong side. She keeps hinting that we have a lot of work ahead of us so I keep waiting for the big wave to come crashing down on me.

Because this company sells something more technology related, it's exciting and yet foreign. I like that I can walk into the demonstration room and actually play with the equipment we sell. Then again, it doesn't have that same "save the world" feel that my old company had. In my old job I always worried that staying in the field would niche me into a narrow career. I know that this job will give me more flexibility for future jobs. Still, there's something less exciting about it. Maybe it's because the people are less geeky here. (Yeah, I know, that normally isn't a bad thing.)

I just can't wait to get my first paycheck!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gardeners that don't think

I can home today wondering if I'd see the neighbor's cats. As I walked under the pergola to our front door, I realized that I forgot to duck. The little momma finch who's been nesting tends to fly away if we linger too long, too close to her nest. The nest, as I've probably mentioned before, is made from seed pods of some local tree that they intertwined with the jasmine vines that grow up the pergola.

But when I looked up towards the nest, it wasn't there. In fact, once I got my bearings, I realized that a huge chunk of vines had been chopped away! I followed the beam of the pergola to see that they had trimmed back the vines to reduce the dead and overhanging debris. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, they failed to notice the bird nest and cut it away with all the other brown material.

My heart just sank. It was so cute to know there would have been a baby bird chirping away in a matter of weeks. For me, it's also one of those weird omen things that I wanted to believe was a sign of hope for our own desire to have a baby. I couldn't help tear up as I dialed up Tim to tell him the sad news. I pigged out on a generous helping of Jalapeno Cheetos to console myself. (They are yummy!!)

Why couldn't the damn gardener thought of trimming these vines two months ago? You're supposed to cut things back in the spring before things start to bloom. I've also felt the community landscapers were kind of lazy. They never remove weeds or debris from our tiny lawn. They just walk around with the gas-powered blower. So long as the sidewalks and street look clean, the job is done. The day I have my own gardener, I'm going to insist he used only human-powered tools - broom, rakes, push mower.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sticky fingers

I couldn't help be amused by this article I saw today about tourists who returned an artifact they took as a sourvenir. I applaud them for returning it because it would be so easy to simply throw it away. I'm wondering if that means there are other souvenirs that they'll be mailing back home.

Whenever we travel somewhere, I am definitely tempted to take a piece of nature home. Growing up near the beaches, however, I was reminded early of the damage even a taking a little piece of earth could do. It struck me when the naturist said that if every tourist took one tiny shell, the beach would be clean of any shells. Besides, the shells were important to budding young creatures who need them for shelter. This notion has stayed with me and is why I rarely take anything.

The other superstition that I think about is the bad luck associated with taking lava rocks. The volcano areas would be stripped of lava if people took souvenirs home. It's tempting because some of the rocks are so intricate with their lacey patterns and the minerals often produce beautiful colorations. Perhaps it is a myself created to discourage the taking of lava, but I'm I'll for it if it's working to preserve the beauty there.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Picture window

I'm sitting here at the desk in our second bedroom. Tim almost never opens the window blinds because it's too much glare against his monitors. But now that it's after sunset and it's a nice day, I opened them up for some fresh air.

It's also fun to sit here because there are so many birds about. Underneath our pergola is a finch nest. The birds cleverly built a nest by attaching it to the jasmine vines that spill over the edge of the pergola. This way it's well protected from the weather and blends in with the shadows. It took some time for me to realize it was there. Each time we walk out the front door, this poor mama bird dashes off in fear that we're out to catch her. Otherwise, she dutifully sits on what I am guessing is a little egg.

Sitting here, I now realize that our neighbor's tree also has a nest. I always thought they were big clumps of leaves that the squirrels made. Now I see there's a brown dove cozied up on top of the clump. The male bird is sitting on a nearby branch keeping her company. I just hope the cat doesn't get up the nerve to climb that high and attack the nest.

And on a random note, this is Tim's computer I'm typing on. I just noticed to the edge of my Firefox browser window there is a column of icons on his desktop. The eight icons are all Sims games - original, university, nightlife, business, pets, seaons, voyage, and freetime (yeah, that's a good one). The boy is crazy. I haven't seen him play Sims for probably a year. Sadly, the last time he played, his Tim and Pandax didn't do so well. If I remember correctly, Pandax died. Oops. Hopefully real life deals me a better fate.