Monday, May 31, 2004

Friday, May 28, 2004

Better than pizza.

So. Eleven weeks of work under my belt. I've learned that there are good things and bad things about working in a small firm. The bad things are obvious: since my desk is only 3 feet from that of the principal, I know more than I probably need to know about his personal life. I can tell you quite a lot about his kids, and at least a bit about his ex-wife.

It's a little difficult negotiating our relationship. The employer/employee thing is fine, but we also have to be at least somewhat friendly, otherwise the day would be impossible to get through. We've gone out to lunch together a few times, and it's never been clear to me what we're supposed to talk about. I drove down to Scottsburg w/him earlier this week so he could pick up his new car, which was fine, I don't mind being paid to drive his car back to town, but the people selling car clearly mistook me for someone other than his design assistant. So, sort of weird at times.

On the other hand, since it is a small firm, my day-to-day work has a bit more variety than it might otherwise. I'm tired of the project we've been focusing on, and I can hardly wait for July to get here so we'll be mostly done w/the design/spec work. But, I get to do fun things sometimes. Wednesday, we took some floor mat samples out into the rain, covered them with soap, and skidded around on them to see how they would work in the bubble-making area of the museum. Tuesday, we did a bit of demolition at the building site, hacking through plaster and tearing up carpet. I get to talk to sales reps about interesting things, like epoxy coatings and cementitious underlayment. I get to run the occasional errand out to various builders' and contractors' offices.

Lots of valuable experience to have, good resume building stuff, generally enjoyable. I'm way tired of the commute, and I look forward to working closer to home. I think next time, if I have my choice of jobs, I'll go with a slightly bigger firm. Louis says the super-large firms will chew me up and spit me out, and he's right, but it would be good to have co-workers.
Not a lot of online time at home these days, too much thunder and lightning in the evenings. Yesterday I had to drive home through a tornadic thunderstorm, an experience which probably took seven-to-ten years off my life. It's always at this time of year that I remember that we haven't replaced the batteries in our radio, so once we take shelter during a tornado warning, we don't when it's ended because the radio is dead.

Note to self: buy AA batteries this weekend.

In this week's health news, I've been fighting an infection in my leg. I guess I realized my leg hurt a few days ago, but it wasn't until the swelling was so bad that I couldn't bend my knee that I really took notice. I don't know if something bit me, or I got scratched, or what really happened, but now I have to deal with the bleeding and drainage know what? The human body is really disgusting.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Dara's Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple rings – grill or pan fry until nicely carmelized, cool and cut into tidbits
1 Jalapeno finely diced
1 red onion finely diced
Cilantro chopped
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil (maybe a tablespoon)
Balsamic vinegar (a little more than olive oil)
Mix it all up and enjoy. It’s usually better if you can let it sit for awhile so all of the flavors can mingle.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Catherine is going to try and record the cicadas for me tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a few shots from the park.

Showing off my baby cicada:
cicada on my hand

Cicada exoskeletons above our head:
cicada exoskeletons on the leaves

Cicada emerging from its exoskeleton:
white cicada emergine from exoskeleton

Another cicada comes out to play:
cicada on my hand

Monday, May 24, 2004

Not a bad weekend.

I guess any day that begins with a chocolate chip pancake and ends with a chocolate chip cookie is destined to be fairly decent.

I'm on my way to bed--just in time for the thunderstorm to arrive. I swear to god, I could spend 3/4 of my life asleep and I'd still be tired. Wtf is wrong with me? I'm already dreading waking up tomorrow.

So, breakfast with friends, grocery shopping, hair cut (the standard six fade), a domestic project, and suddenly the weekend is over.

Good night.
Sleep tight.
Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

We have to stay home and stop socializing, at least for a day. That's not going to happen this weekend, though.

The in-laws left Thursday, so I finally got to sleep in my own bed. It's made such a difference. I came home from work on Thursday and pretty much went straight to bed. I'm still a little worn out, but not in so much pain.

Catherine had the entire week off, so she went to work w/me on Friday. She spent most of the day off wandering around looking at historic architecture, but we had a really nice lunch together, and I got to show her around the building we're renovating for the children's museum. It's not much too look at now, but it should be pretty nice when we're done. I didn't get a lot done Friday afternoon because Louis and I spent a few hours researching cementitious underlayment (don't ask). Old buildings can be a pain in the butt. The museum's current home page states that the building will be open by January 2005. I'm guessing that's not going to happen, but what do I know, I'm just a design assistant.

After work, we drove up to Indy for the season opener for the Fever. I'm not sure if we were just tired, or what, but the game seemed really, really boring. And not very well attended, which is a bad sign. I wish Bridget Pettis was still playing. I don't know...I think pro sports of any sort just aren't a good fit with me. It's hard to cultivate franchise loyalty when the players change season-to-season (or week to week, for that matter). I like college ball better, when you have 3 or 4 years to see a player develop. Anyway, Tamika Catchings is still the best player in the game, and the organization made a good deal for Kelly Miller, so it should be a decent season.

In other news, Brood X is finally here. I was beginning to think this cicada thing was all a hoax, despite reports from Catherine and Garry that campus was covered with them. Before today, I hadn't seen a single one, but today when we were out running at the neighborhood park, we saw tons. We heard them before we saw them, they sound like aliens have landed, quite different from the regular cicada noise. And they kept landing on us as we were running, and getting in our way. At one point, when I was gimping on ahead, Catherine let out this blood-curdling scream. I thought she was being killed, but it turns out it was just that a cicada had landed on her nose. They're about the size of my thumb, so I guess that would be startling.

Took the car in for it's first oil change (1,500 miles overdue, but who's counting?), went to the bank, bought some rabbit-proof fencing, had some coffee. Worked on a small project I'm trying to finish. Talked on the phone to a friend and possibly annoyed her by repeatedly expressing my opinion that cats cannot be trained. Hung up the phone and discovered I was supposed to be dressed and ready to go to John and Cindy's going-away part in five minutes. Had a very cute cicada on me at the party, it had one undersized wing and one regular-sized wing. I guess it was following its biological imperative because it kept trying to climb higher and higher on me. I eventually off-loaded it onto a tree so it could finish its reproductive task.

And we saw a big, cool snake while we were there.

Tomorrow we're having breakfast with friends, and I must get my hair cut. After that I am going to come home and work on some projects and hopefully spend some quality quiet time reading and relaxing on the back porch. Must put up that rabbit fence at some point, but other than that, I'm doing nothing that feels obligatory. I'm thinking I deserve a day off.

Friday, May 21, 2004

For those of you who wonder if I'm doing any work at all, I've uploaded .pdf files of the last two building sections I drew, the one for the first floor rear stair and the one for the lift. The rear stair nearly killed me, because it's backwards in my mind (from the inside of the building looking out, instead of from the outside looking in).

In other news, everyone in the office building across the street is on strike. It took me awhile to figure out what all the random honking outside our storefront was about. I pity the people who have to be outside marching back and forth in the heat and humidity. I hope the health benefits they may or may not win are worth it. If they succumb to heatstroke while they're on strike, who will pay the hospital bill?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Today demonstrates exactly why the instructor for my last two design classes should be fired. I was brought in on the meeting with the structural engineer today because I'm going to be doing the structural drawings. This is a first for me, but in theory I should know how to do all the structural detailing because I just finished a course in it two weeks ago. All the things the engineer showed me looked familiar, but this morning I realized (again) I just don't have the knowledge I should have, that I would have if I could have taken the course in Bloomington from Tom. My drawings will be fine, and I'm sure I'll learn something in the process, but really, I should have learned something about this all already.

Anyway, it's a new challenge. If the building falls down, hopefully it won't be because I drew something wrong, but rather that the engineer didn't figure out his moments and elasticity coefficients properly.
It has been a long weekend.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Friday, May 14, 2004

A little tired and stressed, I think. My mother- and sister-in-law are coming into town tomorrow, and we're having dinner for ten on Sunday. It sounded manageable at one point, but that was before my paycheck went almost equally toward my latest hospital bill and my student loan payment and left me wondering how I'm going to afford groceries next week. Suddenly I feel panicky and unable to cope. I feel lonely, actually, and that seems a bit silly given that I'm about to have a house full of people. I don't know...there's a lot going on in life that just doesn't translate well to text, so I seem to just carry it around with me.

Anyway, we must hope that it eventually stops raining, and we must hope the Brood X cicadas stay in the ground until at least Monday. If I can get those two things taken care of, maybe the rest will take care of itself.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Our ancestors sinned; they are
        no more,
    and we bear their iniquities.
Slaves rule over us;
    there is no one to deliver us from their hand.
We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
    because of the sword in the wilderness.
Our skin is as black as an oven
    from the scorching heat
        of famine.
Women are raped in Zion,
    virgins in the towns of Judah.
Princes are strung up by
        their hands;
    no respect is shown to the elders.
Young men are compelled to grind,
    and boys stagger under loads
    of wood.
The old men have left the city
        the young men their music.
    The joy of our hearts has ceased;
        our dancing has been turned
            to mourning.
The crown has fallen from
    our head;
woe to us for we have sinned!
Because of this our hearts are sick,
    because of these things our eyes
        have grown dim.
But you, O Lord, reign forever;
    your throne endures to all
Why have your forgotten us
Why have you forsaken us these
    many days?
Restore us to yourself, O Lord,
        that we may be restored;
    renew our days as of old--
unless you have utterly rejected
    and are angry with us beyond
        measure. (Lam. 5:7-22)

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Not a typical day.

Which is good. Aside from my incredibly painful shoulder (I *swear* I will never it mention again in public), today was an interesting day, a nice break from our regular routine. It's good to disrupt your normal flow and take stock of where you are, I think. Friday, I was really run down and discouraged, I felt like I spent the entire afternoon pointing and clicking without anything much to show for it in the end. It's easy to lose track of what you've done when you're always working on the same building--every day the drawings just get more and more specific, moving from floor plans to floor enlargements and elevations, to wall sections and structural details, etc. Just closer looks at the same old thing.

Anyway, today was a mini-deadline day. Our big deadline is July 2, but today we needed to have a set of design development drawings ready. So, after I drove to Louis' house to retrieve a file from his home computer (why didn't he bring it to work? He brought every other file in that directory, but not that one), I started plotting our drawings. We have 18 sheets of drawings so far, on ARCH D-size paper (36" x 24"). It was good to see the whole set plotted out, it gave me a better idea of all the work I've done in the past month, and made it seem more real. But it took well over an hour for all the sheets to print. The printer holds on to each one an extra 30 seconds so the ink can dry. In theory, at least. The drawings are printed on vellum, and the ink never dries, I swear. I can smear ink on a piece of vellum five hours after it's plotted.

As the drawings were coming out of the plotter, I ran a blueline of each one. It's kind of hard to describe how to make a blueprint. You take your original print, and put a piece of photographic paper behind it. Then you feed it face up into a copying machine, while trying not to suck in the ammonia fumes it is putting out. The original and the photograph come back out, then you curl the photograph back on itself into the machine so it can be developed w/the ammonia. The original falls to the floor in front of the machine, the developed blueprint in back of the machine. It's quite a dance trying to catch the originals as the fall out of the plotter, then again as they fall out of the blueprint copier while simultaneously catching the blueprint, and stacking all the copies together in the right order, facing the right way...eighteen sheets took me almost two hours to plot and run blueprints.

Ran the set of bluelines down the street to Louis at his meeting, then took the originals over to Roseberry's to have four more sets of bluelines run (no way I have the stamina to run 5 sets of 18 sheets). And then my day got really odd. Louis told me to go back to his house and dig through his furnace room until I found a box of his old model trains. There is something really weird about sorting through your boss' childhood toys, let me tell you. I finally found them (in the biggest, heaviest box, of course) and took them back to the office. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the floor, trying to design a track for the museum. The plan is to have an elevated track running above the reception area/entry way, but we haven't been sure what gauge to use, or how much space it would need. I think I have a pretty good idea now, after three hours of moving track around, taking measurements and sketching out routes.

Took a break to pick up the blueprints at Roseberry's, ran another set to Louis at his meeting, then left work an hour early to go to my physical therapy appointment. That was tedious beyond belief, but now my day is over, and I can sit in my chair and watch Perry Mason until I fall asleep.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

So, yeah. I fucked up my shoulder, and it wasn't like I was doing anything I wasn't supposed to be doing. I was only doing things recommended by my physical therapist, but at this point, I'm starting to wonder if she has any idea what she's doing. She seems to think that strength training will fix all my problems, it's just that my shoulder is weak, but I swear to god that there's something actually wrong with the connections inside there. Something isn't attached like it should be, or maybe it's not attached at all, I don't know. I'm not sure exactly what to do. I don't have another appointment with my orthopedic surgeon until the 17th, and I have two more physical therapy appointments between now and then. I've stopped doing the strength exercises on the theory that sharp pain is never good, no matter what anyone says, and I think I'm just going to have to dig in my heels and insist on another evaluation on Tuesday. We'll see.

Thursday, May 06, 2004


I think I might call it a day, a bit early. I've got a little time coming to me, and my boss took off about an hour ago. Partly he left because it's son's birthday, partly he left because the same son lost his guinea pig in the yard earlier today, and a major psychological/emotional crisis was brewing on the homefront. Every day, I learn a little more about why I never want to be a parent, especially not a single parent of four boys.

Anyway, now that school is over, all I do is work, and that's boring to write about. I think enough about it between 8:00 and 5:00, I don't need to re-hash it all after I get home in the evening. We're only really doing one project right now, the children's museum, and it's taking all of my mental and most of my physical energy to keep up.

And, speaking of physical, yesterday I popped something in my shoulder, and spent the evening in the arm chair with said body part packed in ice. It's still swollen today, so I'm not sure what exactly gave way. I don't have another physical therapy appointment until Tuesday, so I guess I'll just have to wait awhile and see.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Whirl of Gaiety.

In the past few days I have:

  • Spent a day in Terre Haute
  • Went jogging
  • Gone out for an excellent dinner
  • Sacked out on the couch and watched a Barbara Hale movie
  • Made a trip to the hardware store for home maintenance tools and supplies
  • Made two trips to the coffee shop
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Spent an afternoon repairing one side of our screen porch
  • Planted carrots, beans, and more onions
  • Sacked out on the couch and watched 3 or 4 episodes of Perry Mason
  • Spent a day at work
  • Went jogging again
  • Had the neighbors over for dinner
  • Spent another day at work
  • Bought a pair of shoes on my lunch hour
  • Kept a physical therapy appointment

Sunday, May 02, 2004

B.A. B.A. M.A. M.A.


I'm officially done with school. Yesterday I drove to Terre Haute, delivered my final speech, sat through 23 other speeches, and drove home a free woman. Catherine surprised me at home with a funny card (the card was only averagely funny, but the fish pictures she tried to draw were really funny) and a dinner invitation. I thought it was a little silly to celebrate an associate's degree at this point, but as she pointed out, four years of hard work is four years of hard work, and really, it's the only degree I have that's led directly to a decent job. So, yay for me. I'm a graduate.