Monday, November 24, 2008

off my online schedule

Two jobs means two work schedules, and that has been tripping me up lately. Last week I was an hour late into work, causing my co-worker to freeze alone outside waiting for school bus groups to come to the museum, instead of freezing with me. Luckily, the buses were late so we faithfully froze together for another hour or so once I showed up.

Today I got to work on time, but at the wrong job.

I had the feeling that I should check my schedule, but I keep my calendar online with Google calendar. It's a great way to organize my schedule and keep track of everything. If I bother to turn my computer on in the morning.

Which leads to the greater dilemma. I've kept a paper planner, an online planner, and both. I need to keep track of upcoming events, weekly work schedules, daily to-do lists, to-do lists of things that need to get done eventually, but not today, etc.

But there are so many tools and systems out there, I think I may finally have to admit in Seinfield-esque tones that "it's not you, it's me."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Favorite Serial?

I was at the library the other day and noticed a shelf of the complete Nancy Drew series, by Carolyn Keene. I loved these books in elementary school and couldn't help picking up "#5: The Secret of Shadow Ranch" for a quick read.

Other immensely satisfying series books from my childhood:

The Babysitter's Club - Ann M. Martin
The Saddle Club - Bonnie Bryant
Amelia Bedelia - Peggy Parish and Herman Parish
The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner
Ramona Quimby - Beverly Cleary
Goosebumps & Fear Street - R. L. Stine

What's on your list?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spring cleaning

Between being stuck in the library stacks filling out staggering speadsheets full of information on area foundations to hit up for museum grant money and interviewing on the senior center's cable TV show as the newest employee, I realized that many things that used to fill up my days have quite suddenly slipped away.

- Writing on my blog, for starters
- Yoga, sadly, though I blame this mostly on my recent cold
- Canning applesauce and raspberry jam (but was I really going to do more of this after doing it once?)
- Updating my reading on GoodReads (though I am still a voracious reader, working on Splendid Solutions, a book about the polio vaccine)
- Keeping a continual list of books and DVDs on my library waitlist
- Clearing out my GoogleReader
- Finding excuses such as random household projects in order to listen to Amelia Peabody mysteries on CD
- Playing the piano (I'm practicing up for my blog performance, as promised)

Well, that's long-winded enough.

The truth is, some of these will have to stay slipped away. I can't pull 8 hours from my day out of no where. But I want to consciously decided which ones slip. In the next 15 miinutes I'll do just that. Wish me luck.

In other news, I have been looking after my neighbor's cats for the last few weeks (they stay in their house, I stay in mine). It has all but guaranteed that my home will never come with household pets, except for the occassional fish.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mr. Allan and Mayor John

Grunt work comes with every job. This week I was tasked with creating a spreadsheet of major employers in 7 nearby counties, along with contact information and corporate social responsibility or community giving policies of each. Curb your anticipation - this fascinating document remains undisclosed at present.

But grunt work also comes with unexpected amusements. In putting together this database, I found out that a major government contractor for security services is called "Pinkertons". Just the name I would have picked for a company that "specializes in security, fire, and emergency services". Don't worry, little Johnny, Pinkertons is on the way!

Further research revealed that Pinkerton National Detective Agency was a U.S. security and detective agency established in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton who became famous for spoiling an assassination attempt on then-president-elect Abraham Lincoln (credits, wikipedia). The Pinkertons I found were not the same agency, but were probably inspired by Mr. Allan.

Interesting, hm?

My best grunt work experience was at Take Pride in America, the volunteer arm of the US Department of Interior. I was calling mayors across the nation - the U.S. has a lot of mayors, by the way - to solicit interest in our mayor partnership program to help care for public lands.

I was getting used to cold professional secretaries or endless automated phone options when I placed a call to a mayor in a small New York town.

Woman answering phone: "Hello?"
Erin: "Hi. My name is Erin, I'm calling from Take Pride in America [blah, blah]. May I please speak with Mayor [LastName]?
Woman: "Who?"
Erin: "Um. Mayor [LastName]?
Woman: "Oh. Okay. Hold on." pause, sound of phone being muffled with hand. "John!! JO--HN!!!" pause, phone unmuffled. "Hold on. I think he just went to the bathroom." muffled. "JO-OH-OHN!!" unmuffled. "He'll call you back in a few minutes."

True to her word, I had a delightful conversation with Mayor John after he relieved himself. I don't remember if he took up our partnership offer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

my chad

Warning: in light of the many touching and reflective posts on yesterday's election, I am countering with something totally and completely myopic. (After all, I started this blog because there weren't enough people around to listen to me, me, me.)

Yesterday's voting:

1. I realized an hour before voting that I hadn't studied any candidates except for presidential. I quickly looked through my voting guide and committed to my candidates of choice (Abe, what does your public opinion formation research say about that?)

2. When I got to the polls I realized I left my voting notes from #1 at home. I couldn't remember my candidate names. Hour-before commitment only goes so far.

3. The "system" didn't have my name in it. **scrambling of papers, looking at IDs, checking computers** But the other "system" did, so I got a ballot.

4. In the voting booth, I marked the wrong sherrif. It was one of the only candidates I remembered my decision on, so I wanted to do it right. I mean, this is the sherrif we're talking about. I had to get a replacement for my spoiled ballot. Which caused a new round of people to deal with issue #3 again. Problems 3 & 4 backed up the line by about 20 people.

5. After voting, I mentioned to Abe that I couldn't remember voting for the 2 propositions on the ballot. He asked me if I had turned the ballot over. Hm. Come to think of it, the ballot had seemed short.

6. The only candidates (besides presidential) that I felt strongly about were the school board. When I got home and checked my left-behind voting notes, I realized that I had voted for the wrong people on the board.

This year, I hope that a single vote didn't make a difference.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hanna-Barbera is proud to present ...

The Scooby Doo Gang!

Jinkies! Someone's impersonating the real Velma! And she would have got away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids.

Most popular line when people saw my halloween costume: "You're from Scooby Doo. Not Daphne - the other one."

We didn't mean to do an 80s cartoon theme, but Abe made a mean Inspector Gadget.

Except that his hand kept hitting me in the face every time he moved.

And my teenage mutant ninja turtle didn't turn out so bad, either.

Abe's creations. He was going for the theater mask, but looks more old woman-ish. The candle's nice. You'll notice that we are economical with our pumpkin carving - three in one.

Happy Halloween!