Friday, September 10, 2004

hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. I HATE MY JOB.

I remember a time not so long ago when I LOVED my job. I love my work. I love my field. I hate the people I'm working for right now. They are actually gunning for me. And I'm not the one who said it ~ my mother did. The woman who is stone cold observant, never paranoid, just calls it as she sees it...

I have actually been scolded twice in the last two days for being rude and taking a "tone" with my new supervisor....

I'm supposed to kiss her ring or something...

Not my style, not in my job description, and probably above my pay grade!

I'm pretty sure I'm going to get reprimanded on Monday for not completing an assigned task. The thing is, she never actually told me to do anything, she sent others to tell me. And I'm not really skilled to be doing what she wanted me to do, plus I was supposed to be doing something else at the time and she never bothered to check and see if I was even available!! And beyond that, she wanted to send me into a facility where they were using latex gloves and I am severely allergic to latex! And she knows that!!Not that any of this will really matter, since I'm the bad person in this whole scenario.


Because I'm young (or at least they think I'm really young) and female and from the North and really well educated and white and so obviously everything's be handed to me my entire life, I've never had to actually work for a thing, and I could never even begin to understand anything. And, apparently, I have a reputation for being snippy....

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Gaston Conquers

I thought my biggest problem was going to be getting my trash out. HOW wrong was I??

So, it seems Gaston decided to dump 14 inches of rain on us!! I had the most insane night!!

First, I got stuck in the elevator as I tried to leave my office. The power went out just after I got on and I wound up stuck between floors. Two sheriff deputies and the building manager had to rescue me ~ not a pleasant experience.

Then I embarked on the four and a half hour journey home. A good part of the city flooded and at one point I found myself trapped with washed out roads in all directions. Having a rental car in no reduced my temptation to attempt to cross the flooded roads, but I did know better than that!!! I decided to amuse myself by taking pictures of the flood waters...

By 9pm, I thought I was going to lose it ~ I had gone 4 city blocks in one hour... I got paged by a coworker for some information for the shelters we were opening ~ mandatory evacuations because of flooding. Turns out all the East/West roads were closed except for one and not the one I was stuck on...

I've finally gotten home which really didn't seem like it was ever going to happen....

Alright, I'm exhausted... going to bed....

Gaston Cometh

So, the remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston have hit this afternoon and it's been pouring down rain and apparently there have been some tornadoes touching down in the counties around the city...

Right now, it's just sheets of water coming down outside my window and I am not looking forward to driving home in this ~ especially with the rental car I have this week. (note to self: find windshield wipers immediately)

I'm realizing now that I should have taken out my trash this morning before I left for work as I'm not going to want to be doing it this evening. Even if the rain stops, it will still be a whole lot of wet grass to trapse through. Too bad I don't have a second date lined up...

Saturday, August 28, 2004


Okay, still in a foul mood today...

I have ridiculous cramps and I'm on the conference call about brucellosis and the speaker keeps going on and on about spontaneous abortion in cattle and dogs. Don't want to be concentrating on that part of the anatomy, thank you very much! Not to even mention, that I don't think there are any cows among my constientuency!

Of course, after the graphic description of what happens when a cow gets infected with brucella, she bothers to mention that they're all vaccinated now. Good of you to mention!

Alright, I'm cranky and PMSing and whatnot. I'm using enthralled in science for the sake of science, but I'm just so stressed about this drill from hell and I can't bear to be spending/wasting my time on something that is irrelevant for said enormous event!

And now we hit the comedy part of the lecture. We know brucellosis is a bioweapon.

How? Because we made it into one!!

Thank you US Army for advancing the means of killing people!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

a new dating plan

So I just spent an hour and a half talking on the phone with an old friend who I haven't really seen that much of in years. He's over in Europe and probably getting divorced and hopefully coming back to the U.S. So we were talking about relationships and how the utility of men has been decreasing over the years and how I've positioned myself to not really need a man and exactly what utility he's capable of providing and how one would go about demonstrating these attributes while dating. (His main utility, by the way, appears to be killing spiders!!)

Since I already own a house and inherited a very nice diamond engagement ring, I'm not looking for the usual matieralistic things. So, this is what he's come up with for me. On any given first date, I should arrive with a particularly tightly closed pickle jar and request assistance opening it. The second date should include a test of my date's ability to unload my dishwasher and take out my trash ~ it's very important that I grade form and not just functionality, since in the beginning just getting the job done may be satifactory, but 20 years down the road, technique is going to matter. The third date will include moving furniture and killing wasps (I have no problem killing spiders, but I'm allergic to insect stings) ~ it's important here to grade not the ability to take directions, but the instinct to already know what I want, again, 20 years down the road... I could go on, but I think that's enough for now....

Monday, August 23, 2004

Some things are just wrong!

7am mandatory staff meeting.

I have proof that there is evil in the world. It requires me to attend a meeting at 7am on a Monday morning...

I cannot even begin to describe all the many levels on which this is wrong....

Of course, I couldn't fall asleep last night. I was definitely awake to see 4:00am on my clock and I'm honestly not sure I had been sleeping before that.

But I'm bright siding things. There was no traffic at 6am!! There was a 3 to 1 barrista to customer ratio at Starbucks when I got there. (they still gave me the wrong scone) And I had my choice of parking spaces when I got to the office!!

And did I mention how VERY early I am leaving today?

All that said.... there may not be enough caffeine in the world to make this a habit....

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

You gotta love Dad

My dad has been visiting for the last few days. He's been visiting my new car, I believe, more than me. Alright, not really. He did schedule the visit shortly after I purchased said car, so it is awfully suspicious. I guess that what happens when you buy some new fangled automobile like a hybrid....

I can't complain about my parents. They're wonderful. They would do anything to help my sister and me. They are fiercely loyal and protective and they've supported us through everything, good stuff and bad.

Over dinner last night, my father and I were discussing the dolls my sister and I had as children. He was saying he didn't remember our dolls having a particularly long life expectency and there were a number of headless dolls that we were unwilling to part with. He's absolutely right! Donnie Osmond was the only male "Barbie" we had, so when his head was lost, his social calendar was not limited. Then there was the Dorothy Hamill doll, or should I say dolls, I apparently went through 4 or 5 of them. You could take her skates off, but when you went to put them back on, you would break her legs in the process. And apparently the learning curve a bit steep on that one as I needed to break at least three sets of legs to figure that out for sure...

Then, of course, there's my sister's favorite story about me as a child. My father bought me this beautiful doll with blinking blue eyes. She had long blond hair that probably went down to her feet or close to it and she was called Angel doll or something like that. I named her Stanley. Apparently I'd always liked the name. Stanley met her demise when I decided to bath her with Crest. But as my father pointed out last night, she never did have any cavities....

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Geez, Louise...

So all day at work yesterday they had us all a twitter...

Hurricane! Hurricane!!

We might open shelters!! We might have to close bridges! Roads might wash out! Trees may come down!

Open the EOC!! Get into emergency mode!! 3-5 inches of rain!! Gusts of 50+ mph wind!!

It's no Isabel, but we need to be prepared!!

Then what happens? Nada...

Charley never makes it West of I95. We don't even get much rain!!

And, yes, I'm a little disappointed ~ not that we really were in need of any action right now, but if they were going to run around getting us all worked up....

Wait, is this what it feels like to be the naked guy when the naked girl says, "you know, I just don't think I'm ready yet"?

Saturday, August 14, 2004


Okay, I am officially brain dead....

I went to a meeting this morning, a week early. As I was trying to fall asleep last night, I became convinced that I had this meeting first thing in the morning. My palm has been doing this thing where it resets itself instead of recharging, so my calendar was wiped out. Anyway, I was the only one at this meeting. Not so much accomplished.

I've gone on about my day in a truly spacy manner, doing things like responding to a coworkers question of "Do you know Audrey's last name?" with "Audrey who?" And so on and so forth... It's a very good thing there's nothing particularly vital going on today....

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Good bye, Granny

I'm going to talk about my grandmother today.

She grew up on a farm in upstate NY. Her father was something of a mythical figure ~ he claimed to have been brought down the mountain "in ropes" like some sort of wild man. He was a dowsey, a water witch and a one man band and a farmer. She would carry baked potatoes to school to keep her hand warm and then eat them for lunch. My sister and I always imagined her as something out of Little House on the Prairie, even though, the time was off by a good 50 years. My grandmother got an 8th grade education and then went to work at the mill stitching clothing in some rural sweat shop. She met my grandfather at a country dance. He told her he was in land transfer ~ he was digging ditches. They both loved to dance. There was no great love story, at least not that I heard, but they married when she was 33. My father was their only child and my grandmother was bound and determined to send him to college. She conspired with the principal at his high school (graduating class of 13) to get him a scholarship to a jesuit school. She was diagnosed with breast cancer my father's freshman year of college. She the most radical mastectomy I've ever seen ~ I honestly believed for the first half of my life that she was born with her deformity. My father, convinced she wouldn't survive, promised her he would finish college. And she lived to see that he did it!

She was already in her 60s when my sister and I were born, but her energy was unbelievable. She cooked constantly and could be counted upon to have at least 4 cookie jars filled with all different homemade cookies. When I was 10, she had a massive heart attack when the two of us were alone in her old house. I was left to call the rescue squad at a neighbor's house. When she got to the ER, they tried to take her teeth out because they couldn't imagine a 70 something woman without dentures, but she had all of her own teeth. She spent nearly 2 weeks in the hospital, but she recovered completely and quit smoking in the process.

She was surrounded by neighbors and relatives with great grandchildren, so she took to collecting stuffed animals from the colleges and grad school where my sister and I had earned degrees. Whenever the little old ladies got out their pictures and started bragging, she would pull out her collection and shame them with the fact that their families didn't get past high school. But she did desparately want the great grandkids. Family holidays would be several verses of "Are there any nice boys in New York?" (where my sister was living at the time) with refrains of "You never should have let the Matt get away" (the college boyfriend of mine she had met)

When my sister finally did get engaged, Granny had fallen and broken her collar bone and fractured her hip. She never was quite able to walk again after that and all the trips to hospital and rehab had made her level of dementia unignorable. She was terrified of three men dressed in clown costumes who came and terrorized her at night with their motor cycles. It was completely in her head, but as real as anything else. She didn't attend the wedding eventhough my father would have carried her on his back. And she finally got her great grandchild 6 months ago. Although she never got to meet him, her room at the nursing home has been decorated with his photos since his birth.

My grandmother died today. She was 98 years old.

This is in her memory.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Stress, anyone?!

So things have been a little crazy in real life and not so much in a good way. As you might have figured out, I work in public health; I'm an epidemiologist. Most of my job is outbreak investigations and bioterrorism preparedness. Lately, things have been just nuts!!

We have this enormous drill coming up. It's actually the DoD drill, an annual event that was in Las Vegas last year and Seattle the year before. The whole idea of a DoD drill is that the events have to be so huge that they overwhelm all civilian capacities: local, state and federal, so that the military has to be called in to assist. What that means for all purposes is that we're being set up to fail on a grand scale. Now, generally speaking, drills are run to see where the systems break. The point of the drills/exercises is to find the flaws so that they can be repaired before an actual event. That doesn't mean everyone isn't running around like chickens with their heads cut off in the mean time.

And meanwhile back in the "real" real world, we've had some outbreaks and other events that required heavy investigation. I've been looking at a really rare outbreak that we just can't find a link for and we're completely dumbfounded. And then the media had to get involved. Don't get me wrong ~ I'm all for warning the public about potential hazards! But, there's no point in creating hysteria or putting undue attention on something that is otherwise under control. Once the news gets involved, it just makes the investigation ten times harder. Plus, we've got more TB and West Nile season is upon us, so it's only going to get worse.

But I suppose to keep the level of difficulty high, I'm back at work today after three days of unbearable migraines. I actually spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday flat on my back with ice on my head and a towel over my eyes to keep the light out. Vertical was not good because I felt like I was going to vomit. I couldn't read because the words wouldn't stay still on the page and the tv was too close to a strobe effect. The worst part is I have no idea what brought it on.

Monday, June 14, 2004


I've been reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mays. I've seen the movie repeatedly, but the book is a completely different story. I loved the movie. It's one of those tales about thinking you're in the absolute worst place in your life and winding up exactly where you want and need to be. I guess that's something that I'm really identifying with at this point in my life. When you get to a place, numerically, where you thought you would have certain things, have accomplished certain goals, but realize you're in a completely different place than you thought you'd be. Not a bad place, per se, just a different one. And you wonder if you've taken a path that took you somewhere other than where you thought you wanted to go. I'm turning 34 in a few months and I always imagined that I would be married by now and have children. I'm not and I don't. I have other things, things I'm very proud of, but I wonder what I may have sacrificed on the way. Did I completely miss the married with children exit on the interstate? Was I so focused on the left hand lane of higher education and career? (Hang in here with me, I'm enjoying this metaphor! )

But getting back to the movie, this story, at least in the film, is one of those tales where people end of getting everything they want in the end, they just have to get used to the idea that it doesn't look like what they expected. That's what I like. I think maybe the interstate is really a beltway and that if I just keep driving, I'll hit that same exit again. I just took a longer time getting there.

The book is different though. She doesn't run away to Bramasole, it's a summer home with her second husband. And she has a grown up daughter who visits. But it stills makes you fall in love with Tuscany and gives a romantic feel to the lives of American expatriots in Italy. I am jealous that my tomatoes and peaches will never taste as vivid as the way she describes the fresh fruits and vegetables from the markets in Cortona.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

It was a dark and stormy night...

We've been hit with the violent thunder storms the last fews days. I guess I should start by saying that these storms are one of the things that I love about living here, but they do cause a certain level of inconvenience.

They always seem to hit during rush hour, which by itself wouldn't be a big deal, the local civil engineering has some added bonuses. There's an interstate and an expressway that run through the city and both are sunken, created in such a way as to serve as drainage when a heavy rain floods the city streets. First to flood are the on ramps and then a perfect hydroplane spot gets created at the exits. During these storms, I avoid the highway going home, not because of the natural disaster obstacle course, but because I know my fellow drivers are not up to the challenge.

Have you ever noticed that everyone claims to be able to drive in snow?? I rest my case....

My sister lived in Manhattan for 9 years, in a neighborhod not far from where Carrie lives in Sex in the City. It's a section of NYC with mostly 4 to 6 floor buildings, most don't have elevators, so they're all "walk ups." Anyway, at the end of my sister's block, Donald Trump built this metallic monstrousity that had to be at least 20 stories that sticks out over all these little neighborhood-like buildings, the provebial sore thumb. And as if the gods had conspired with the laws of physics, everytime an electrical storm comes through Manhattan.... Whether I would be in my sister's tiny 4th floor walk up studio, or on the phone with her hundreds of miles away, the enormous crash-bang sound is unmistakable, and the view is equally blind either way since her two windows looked out the back of her building. Hit the Trump towers again, we'd say in unison, with a giggle. It's now our standard rationalizing whenever thunder hits too close, always the Trump towers, whether we're in Virginia or Texas or Massachusetts or even Mars, I suppose.

But I never mentioned why I love the storms here, did I? We never had storms like these where I grew up. Maybe all the mountains got in the way or perhaps we weren't in direct line with the jet stream like I am now. The storms come rolling through here like there's nothing to stop them. There are sheets of rain and lightning that lights the night sky brighter than day. I've learned not to leave windows open, horizontal rain is not out of the question. And there are times when an umbrella will do you no good. You will be soaking wet in the moments it takes you to open it and the winds will twist it around anyway. You just wait out the rain and it will pass because it always does. The sound of the rain of the roof is to be savored anyway.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Livin' La Vida Chipotle

I was at Chipotle last night after work picking up some dinner and witnessed WAY too much of other people's lives. First there was this girl with cotton knit shorts and a tank top flashing her thong to the general world.

And then when I was getting my drink these two other girls (maybe 17 or 18) walk over. One of them comments that the other looks taller and the apparently taller one responds, "Must be all the sex I'm having."

Excuse me, random stranger within earshot??

But with the ridiculousness of it all, I have all I could do to not start laughing at them. What is this, Sex in the Suburbs? And then this guy, who I can only assume is the source of all this sex, comes out of the bathroom to join them and he's this scrawny dreadlocked white kid who looks like he's 15 on a good day. (I guess I need to mention that everyone in this story is white but I only mentioned the race of the boy to illustrate the ridiculousness of the hairdo).

Yes, welcome to my world.