Monday, May 28, 2007
I shredded the lining on my nice high-heel shoes from dancing at the wedding, and I got grass stains and a major should sunburn from playing football and soccer with my cousins yesterday. The younger cousins taht were able to make it included two girls, ages 8 and 12, and four boys, ages 13 to 17. Playing soccer against young men who play lots of soccer fuckin' wore my old ass out. I mean, I run 4.5 miles in 45 mins at a mile above sea level three times a week, but that's running long-distance in a straight trajectory. Soccer with teenage boys is lots of zig-zagging, which works different muscles (some of which hurt today) and gave me a couple of side aches. However, it was nice to get some exercise and get reacquainted with my cousins. I hadn't seen them since Thanksgiving of 2001. Been too long. As one of them said, "You GOTTA come up again and see us!"
Another nice thing about the weekend: I had 2-4 drinks a night and was never drunk. That's what I love about training for alcohol counsumption at altitude. When I go to a much lower altitude, like only 583 feet above sea level, I'm able to unleash my inner alkie and be the Polish gal I was meant to be.
Ah, now I have to go back to work and into a busy week, far from the joy of getting up, showering, wearing cute little dresses and eating and carousing with my fab peeps. [looking up at ceiling, Shatner-like] Damn you, reality!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
First of all, Clark is huge. I mean, huge. He's 17 lbs easy, probably close to 20. He's a pillow. He's a doorstop. He's a small dog. He has his own gravitational pull. If Miss Kitty wants to get those new kittens to her house, she should just have Clark walk somewhere close to them and they'll stick on his fur like wool socks in a dryer.
Dee was cuter than cute and spent most of her time in the east kitchen window, tummy-side up. Look closely at the photo, and you can see how her lips are darker than the fur around her mouth. She always looks like she's smiling. I want to take her to Denver with me, but Guy says no, as does our condo building.
Martha Ann (bottom) and Joy (top) on Kitty's bed. Joy is almost always on her Mama's bed, except when she's in Mama's lap...
Like here. I convinced Kitty to flip through Suburban Nation by New Urbanist architects Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. It's a good book and worth reading, even for folks who know nuttin' about architecture or urban planning.
Who needs the Sephora counter when you have the Kitty counter? My sister is a cosmetics and skin care fanatic, and her bathroom sink shows it. By the way, this is cleaned up compared to what it usually looks like, I'm sure.
Out at Mom's farm, Squiggy will just not stay still for a photo unless you pet/scratch him.
Hey, sweet pea! No, really, these were sweet peas. Mom's garden produced peas so literally sweet, we ate these in three bites after snapping this photo.
Tomorrow morning, we're heading out to Chicago for a cousin's wedding. Mom's already there, and Guy and I will be sharing a hotel room with her for three nights. We'll see how that goes. Back on Monday--y'all have a lovely Memorial Day weekend.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The lectures went well, thanks for asking. Even though I trimmed my lecture down to six pages of outline-form notes, with the questions and introductions and getting the kids to participate, the lecture took 1hr 25mins in both classes. My throat was sore at the end of the second lecture. I'm not sure how I'd do as a professor. I suppose that once you've done the work to make your lecture, it's easier to give it over and over and fine tune it. I spent a great deal of time putting this one lecture together. Kitty's colleague suggested that i keep the original 15-page lecture in case I ever taught something like that class again. Never hurts, I guess.
I'll post some pictures from my trip tomorrow when I have some energy. I'm worn out from the time change and the yawner of a day I had. God, I wish my new project would hurry the hell up and start. Doing the little piecemeal work for other folks in the office really drains me.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Okay. Time to log off of Blogger and stumble in the kitchen and pour myself a cup of ambition. I got my lecture down to a sleek six pages, which means I only have to talk about Neoclassical Revival for like, a page and a half. What a relief--I can't look at that backwards excuse-for-high-design when I've eaten.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
It's just been great to get away from the Mile High Shitty for a while. The air smells different here--the pines are Southern, not pinon; the plants are different; and the humidity is pleasant, not tangible. Today is goofing around with my lecture some more to cut it in half, then out to Mom's farm to hang out and grill and imbibe some more. I'm quite the cheap date, but since I've been training at altitude for so long, I can actually drink one drink (two if they're kinda weak) and still be able to walk in Georgia. I also need to decide what to wear tomorrow for the lecture. Gotta make the important decisions, you know....
Saturday, May 19, 2007
I completely understand why Kitty constantly has to go to the library to get any grading or work done. I went into the living room to open my suitcase, and Graya eked out a sweet "Mew?" at me. How could I not pet her? She seemed to enjoy a snuggle so much that I had to sit down in the floor to continue the love-fest. Next thing I know, there are two more cats circling me, awaiting an outstretched hand. Every second at the Happy Kitten Cottage, there's a new cat coming in the room, and it must must must be petted. And it doesn't end indoors: I went out to go to the grocery store (we ourselves must must must have Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee or we have no pulse until noon), and I was besieged by three cats and a chicken. Petme feedme snuggleme need morewater petmesomemore. It's a wonderful distraction and joy, compared to the whinings to which I've been subjected recently (e.g., "what's this grab bar for?" "this isn't the color I wanted!" "we can't have this sink here!" "I need another wall here!"). Today will be BBQ with Mom, a little retail therapy, and then grilling out and imbibing a little som'n-som'n by the pool with Miss Kitty's colleague, for whom I'm guest lecturing. Holla.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Look, bitches, you signed off on these plans 15 months ago. You saw them time and again. In order fo ryou to fully understand them, it will take more time than it's worth, just as if you explained your medical procedures to me you'd get just as frustrated. We explained them as best as we could, you thought you understood them, but evidently you missed the big letters I had on the interior elevations below the casework saying "OWNER PROVIDED MODULAR FURNITURE." So quit your bitchin' and fork over the cash for a countertop.
Having said that...
Touring around Wheatlands last night was downright spiritual. It was dark outside, and all the light fixtures were in, and that building was aglow with a warm, timeless perfection and the joy of a lot of people who put a lot of hard work into that building. Thinking about it, financing it, drawing it, working on it, asking questions, getting it done, building it, fixing it....just remarkable. It was moving. Okay, that's an understatement. It was beyond moving to see the big stack of paper on your desk turn into an occupiable space, a space that other people will use to heal and help still more people. Beautiful, elegant, just about perfect. I couldn't be happier.
I finally ran through my whole presentation tonight. It's running about 1 hr 50 mins, which is about 50 mins too long. But how do I thin this down? Just have to try again tonight and tomorrow. And try yet again to thin it when I go to Georgia and run through it with Miss Kitty. In the meantime, I need to soak in the tub to shake off the remnants of this migraine I came home with from Wheatlands. Oh, and I have to pack.
Next post will be from Georgia, y'all. Word up.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I'm also tired because I'm doing little projects for an associate in the office. An x-ray replacement project here, a radiology redesign there, but nothing huge and nothing that I can really take ownership and nothing, ultimately, that I can care about. I mean, I care because I want to do a good job, but it's kind of hard to care knowing that what you're doing is yours temporarily. So it's also draining because these little projects that aren't yours aren't really enough to keep your interest.
Am I even making sense? I get tired around 11am, despite drinking a few cups of coffee. By the time I get home around 5:20, I'm cranky to beat the band and taking it out (unfairly) on Guy. Like just now, I realized that while doing my slide presentation, I had missed "Deadliest Catch" on Discovery Channel, which is one of the few programs I make a point to watch. I missed it because a) i was busy, and b) because Guy was home this evening when he's usually at his pool league and had falled asleep watching the Rockies game. At first, I was reflexively pissed--why didn't he remind me?! After a moment of stewing, I realized that having the baseball game on in the background is a behavioral cue that means it's not Tuesday night, so I forgot and didn't watch and didn't even think to watch. So it's my own fault. Wah.
I need to go edit my lecture a little more, get some more space in it and get it closer to an hour. I also need to pack, since I'm staying Wheatlands tomorrow night after the 7:30 board meeting that i have to go to (long story). Then, I have my final OAC meeting and my final pre-opening site walk, then back to the office to tie up loose ends before I go to Georgia, for which I cannot wait. Except I hate it when I'm so tired that I can't be excited about going on vacation. That sucks.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
I've spent most of my weekend putting together the handout for the kidz in the classes next week. Took about 14 hours total, but it's 12 pages, each about 1/3 text and 2/3 photos. Kitty informed me that her friend's school has pretty wired classrooms, so if I want to make a PowerPoint presentation to go with all this, I can just bring a memory stick with the presentation on it and I'm done--no need to schlep a laptop or projector to Georgia. (I mentioned this to Sarge, who quipped, "Now if only Georgia had electricity, you could plug those computers in and use them.") The prof for whom I'm lecturing is reviewing my novel--um, lecture notes--to see what I can ditch and what I should keep. My notes are long enough for a semester-long class, so I've gotta trim it down from its Dostoevsky-esque length and Kafka-esque weirdness. Where else can a lecturer read such architectural historically-significant gems as "Mies van der Rohe had a steel-and-glass simplicity and a big ass," "Gropius received a professorship at Harvard, where he taught Bauhaus sensibilities to those Beaux-Arts candyasses," and "Louis Kahn embraced Modernist-Brutalist concrete exteriors as well as three wives." I hope to convey, when all is said and done, that architecture (and architects) is a product of its culture which in turn shapes behavior and culture right back. west Coast architect Richard Neutra once claimed that he could design a house such that, if a couple moved into it, they would file for divorce in a month. Sounds like a load of crap, but think about it. You ever gotten really pissed at someone having to share a bathroom with them? What if all the outlets are on their side of the counter and you have to reach over them to use a hair dryer? Ever nearly turned on someone with a potato peeler in a too-crowded kitchen with a bad work triangle? Bet you have. Neutra wasn't kidding.
Anyway, if I'm gonna do the PowerPoint presentation, I better get on the stick. I suppose I should wait to see what the prof comes up with regarding my lecture notes before I go through all that trouble.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Because finish work was still going on around the magnet, such as flooring, painting, and casework installation, the contractor hung plastic around the magnet to protect it. Not long after the magnet was installed, it was powered up to a low level. The magnet, so it seems, can only be powered completely off for so long. See the dark seams in the floor? Those are the seams of the shielding panels; VCT (those 12-inch by 12-inch flecked square tiles you see everywhere in commercial buildings, like the grocery store) are inlaid on the shielding panels. Then, they install sheet vinyl over that to make a nice, pretty, monolithic floor. That drywall soffit coming down (that the plastic is hanging off of) will cover a bunch of equipment coming from the equipment room just behind that back wall. Now, let's see it mostly finished.
My colleague wasn't able to take her digital camera into the room, so she took the photo through the RF shielded window. The MR control equipment is on the countertop in the foreground. As you might expect, the trim pieces on the recessed can lights in the room are nonferrous so nothing flies into the magnet and knocks it out. If the magent completely powers down, it costs around $25,000 to call someone out to repower it up. The cover piece that goes over the sides of the MR "donut" is leaning against the wall on the left. There's also a piece that goes over the big metal chimney going into the top of the MR.
My colleague told me that when the equipment guy powered up the magnet, her contractor said that his car keys, which were partially tucked in his pocket, suddenly stood straight out from his hip; he was standing about eight feet away. Then, the equipment installer took the contractor's keys, held them about six feet away from the donut on one end, and let go. The keys shot through the donut to about six feet on the other side of the donut, then came back, then went away, then came back.... Freaky.
Another interesting fact I learned while looking at the MRI at Wheatlands over the past couple of days: the hospital needs volunteers to put into the radiology equipment in order to train the staff to use it. My job superintendent, Mutt, volunteered to be the MR training subject because his doctor needs to do an MRI scan of his messed-up shoulder. Wheatlands agreed to give Mutt the scans when they were done, which should save him at least $1,500 out of pocket. I'd love to be the subject of an MR fluoro injection--it's hard to get volunteers for that procedure because it involves being injected with dye--but I don't think I'll get to because I'd have to drive so far to do it. Don't reckon DA will pay me to go sit in a paper gown at my building the first week of June.
My punchlist was exhausting--13 hours over the course of two days of standing, kneeling, walking, stretching, standing, leaning, walking, twisting, standing, and walking. I was so worn out that I barely made it home yesterday without falling asleep, and about 11am today the fatigue hit me like a freight train. I managed to get Guy to leave work at 4:30, and I came home and took a catnap before cooking dinner. But alas, there is no rest for the wicked. I still have to put together the handout and a Powerpoint presentation for the class I'm talking to a week from Monday. While in Wheatlands in my hotel room, I decided to run through my 15-page outline and time it. 45 minutes later, I was almost to the bottom of page three. Ambitious little thing, aren't I? So, the prof is reviewing my outline to help me thin down what I'm talking about. Hopefully, she and I can make this manageable.
Monday, May 7, 2007
However, I finally got done with it today, got it out the door, and was ready to start on her next project, which was space planning a 5,000-sf outpatient procedure department in a local hospital. Yee-haw! As frustrating as it can (and usually does) get, I love love love space planning. Space planning is the process of figuring out where to locate what rooms in a space. This is something at which I excel, if I do say so myself. Departments that take most folks eight hours to design take me about two or three. Finally, thank God, I have something to do at work that's totally fun. This should fill in nicely before I spend Wednesday and Thursday in Wheatlands.
In other news, I'd like to say so long and Godspeed to one of my favorite bloggers, "Subservient Worker" over at Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds. She's quitting her crappy job at the HOA of an elite country club in southern Florida and ending her blog so that she can dedicate her time to writing--really writing. She's renamed herself Subservient No More, and she certainly is her own gal. Her tales of the rich and stupid--real or imagined, I still can't figure it out--tickled and horrified me. I'll miss her marvelous writing style and wit, and I hope she finds time to blog again sometime in the near future. Rock on, Subservient No More! Edited to add: Wide Lawns is indeed evolving her blog and not quitting after all. Yay!!!
Sunday, May 6, 2007
What a difference from Saturday. That was a morning spent at the spa, getting a massage as well as a haircut (and allowing my stylist to give me my first haircoloring not from a box bought from the drugstore. My friend and coworker Ethel was there as well, getting coloring and leg waxing before her vacation next week. We then took off to an outlet mall for a great lunch and margaritas (look, it was Cinco de Mayo, okay?) and then some shopping. We found her some comfy-but-stylish sandals for traipsing around Disneyworld, and for me we found a cute dress to wear to my cousin's wedding at the end of the month in Chicago. "Unfortunately," we had to stay a little extra time at the outlet mall because a nasty storm with rain and hail blew through the area. More time shopping with a wacky, uplifting pal? Mmm, how unfortunate.
Of course, I awake this morning to find out that an entire town in Kansas has been wiped off the map by an F-5 tornado (the strongest tornado there is) and at least nine people have been killed by it. Wheatlands is nowhere near the town that was leveled, but it's out there in Funnel Cloud Central. I put a hand on my heart, prayed for the people there, and thanked God that Wheatlands chose to go with a precast concrete exterior, structure, and roof. If an F-5 were to hit the town of Wheatlands, the only thing standing would be the hospital. I'm sure people might flock to it upon hearing the tornado warning signal, and I bet that'd be the best place to be. Myself, I'd either hide in the MRI room or one of the ORs. Perhaps I'd cuddle up in the southwest corner of Exam Room 20, which is right up against one of the 8-inch thick shear walls and on the interior of the building. Perhaps I'd dodge into the soiled utility room in the patient wing, since it has a one-hour fire barrier wall around it and a concrete roof above it.
Every day, we dodge bullets and never know it. The storm that allowed me to spend a little extra time with a friend turned into the destructive force that leveled a community. The rainstorm that waters and feeds a tropical community becomes a hurricane that empties an entire Louisiana city. The assignment that keeps you at work late keeps you off the road when the drunk driver careens across four lanes of traffic. The stomach flu that makes you stay home and miss your physics test keeps you out of the way of the campus gunman. We dodge bullets every day and never know it.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Topics of conversation varied from the professional to the ridiculous to the sublime: designing universal patient rooms, dealing with IT folks while planning a hospital, blowing one's nose in public, when to buy a ski pass for next year, Derek's impending fatherhood...you get the picture. In the course of one topic of conversation, someone wondered aloud about why any man would try to do a particular task that was generally unpleasant. Guy acknowledged, in his own way, that this person would do this task because it was located where there were lots of young, eligible women.
Note: This story is about to veer into the naughty. If you are easily offended, you might want to tune in later.
"Well," observed Guy, "the job is tough, but there's a lot of tang."
The table burst into laughter, except for Norman.
Norman: What's a tang?
[silence; exchanging looks]
Entire table: Baaahahaahaaa!!
Norman: What? Like the orange drink?
Guy: [slightly stunned] Dude, it's short for 'poontang.'
Norman: Which is...?
Entire table: BAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!! [Pixie falls over on bench, almost under table]
Norman: What, is that a word you learned growing up in St. Louis or something?
Elliot: [wiping tears] Dude, I learned that word in Seattle. It's pretty universal.
Pixie: [from below table level] I learned it watching Vietnam movies!
Entire table: BAAAHAHAHAAAAA!!
Norman: So what's tang, Guy?
Guy: [barely able to speak] Let me put it this way, Norm; only one person at this table has a tang.
Norman: [looks confused]
Pixie: [raises her hand from below table, still shaking with laughter]
Jimmy Ray: Nice way to single out your woman, there, Guy.
Guy: Hey! No one's allowed to sexually harass my wife but me!
Entire table, including Norman: WAAA----HAHAAAAAAA!!!
Later at work, Norman was still in the dark about the definition of 'tang'. Elliot offered to come over to Norman's desk, which is right beside mine, to explain, and Norman accepted.
"I'm not listening to this; I'm putting on my headphones," I said as Elliot walked over. "Y'all are like my older brothers, and I cannot listen to you say the word."
I put on my headphones and cranked Staind for ten seconds. Then, I took off my headphones and turned around in time to see Elliot walking away from Norman's desk.
"Don't worry," Norman said. "He kept it clinical."
Friday, May 4, 2007
Wait, at the top of the photo: is that a green leaf? WTF? What's going on with my plant? Let's get a closer look:
There are three small green leaves peeking out of the brown mass of crunchy dead-looking leaves. So it's almost dead, but not quite? I've been watering it regularly, or so I thought....? Just to the side of the plant (behind the photographer) is a thriving ivy plant. What gives? So many of you out there know how to grow things. Help!
In other news, I have Yoga Cats. Sometimes they help me do my poses by threading through my legs while I do Revolved Triangle Pose, but yesterday morning they were just snuggled up and watching me. Here was the view from my yoga mat:That's Maddy in the floor on my messenger bag and Hazel on the Frank Lloyd Wright "Waterlilies" throw on the chaise. just enjoying the early morning sun and watching Mama attempt Crow Pose and fall face-first onto her mat.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
After an exhausting punchlist on the patient wing at Wheatlands on Monday, my contractor called and said the more she though about it, the more she felt like punching Area D (emergency department, radiology, rehab, and lobby) was going to take two days. I fully agreed and proceeded to book a hotel room in Wheatlands for next Wednesday night. I also have to go to a hospital board meeting the week after that, so I'll be getting another hotel room for that night so I can make the OAC meeting the morning after that too. I was bored out of my mind today at work, but when I'm at Wheatlands, I don't know whether to wind my butt or scratch my watch.
In my boredom today, I managed to end up working for Wanda this afternoon. Holy crap, was she...normal. I mean calm, funny, clear, direct, and great to work for. She's working on a development feasibility study for Pomme de Terre to see if they want to buy another building next door to them and develop it, and I have the time to help her right now. Man, whatever she's taking to feel better and be calm, I'm putting it in the Denver municipal water supply.
I'll try to post when I can, but I really gotta buckle down and get my notes written for this lecture so I can organize a handout. I'm only up to the start of Victorian architecture, and I need to make sure I sound like I know my permanent polychromic masonry from a hole in the ground.