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In Which There is a Poem

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers...

How did it go?

How did it go?


- "Forgotten Language" by Shel Silverstein

In Which There is Running

The first alarm on my phone is a timid sort of meeping, quiet enough that it doesn't wake my boyfriend, but just loud enough to draw me out of sleep. Sure, I could hit the thin rectangle on the side of the phone to silence the tiny klaxon for the next five minutes, but the next alarm is considerably louder and E isn't fond of waking up before the sun rises. I blindly nick my glasses and the noisemaker from my nightstand and slide from the bed with considerably more grace than I will display once I really start to wake up. As I do every morning, I tiptoe in the inky dark of the room to the bathroom and start my day.

I'm not some kind of masochist. I would love to be asleep right now, but the baleful eye of summer is still mercilessly focused on my little region of the world, and if I wait for dawn, the heat becomes unbearable. I splash cold water on my sleepy face, put my hair into a serviceable ponytail, and put in my contacts. My running clothes are waiting patiently in the linen closet, where I put them last night so as not to wake up E with my morning preparations. They seem cold against my sleep-warm skin, but I know that I'll miss that cool sensation after a couple miles. My hair is still too short to stay up for a whole run, so I put a bandanna over my ponytail. It's hot pink and emblazoned with Hello Kitty winking and flashing a peace sign -- I'm unlikely to be mistaken for a gangbanger with Hello Kitty. Other runners have met unfortunate fates for wearing blue or red, and in the dark of four AM, I really don't want to have to worry about it.

I feel a little guilty strapping on the belt that holds my ipod. I know that it's safer for me to run without distraction, but there's a good chance I won't get to the end of the block without some kind of motivation. I turn off the bathroom light and open the door, tiptoeing through the bedroom and into the living room, where I lace up my shoes and set up my ipod. I carry only my keys and a little card slipped into the pocket of my tunebelt containing my full name, date of birth, and a note about my allergy to penicillin. It's humid but a few degrees cooler than it was yesterday as I lock the front door and do a few brief stretches. In a month or two, it should finally cool off to acceptable levels.

I have a running mix on my ipod. The first song is an easy sort of warm-up, a quick jog but nothing terribly strenuous. Some part of my mind reminds me that it's not too late to go back inside and sleep for another hour, but I'm already awake and dressed. I take the first aching block at an energy-conserving lope, stretching out coiled, sleepy muscles and waking up my joints. My body protests -- I'm getting old, after all -- but after the three minute, fifty second mark, the song switches over. The song is called "Adagio for Strings;" it's not classical, but some sort of house/trance thing - I'm not really sure. The pace is challenging and drives me to speeds I would be unable to achieve without it. I run, soles meeting the pavement in hard but evanescent beats as the music consumes me with its single-minded drive to go faster, to match my steps with the tempo of my heart. It carries me half a mile before I feel the first tiny twinge in my side and I divert a portion of my focus from the music to my breathing. I count on the off beats, keeping it steady. I reach the bridge of the song, a sudden halting of the fast rhythm in favor of a abrupt and tumbling ethereal leap. In the relative quiet, I can hear my feet hitting the ground, carrying a phantom cadence through the yearning strains of the bridge, carving a backbone that is picked up again as the textured rhythm snakes out to match my pace. The beat starts again, lending strength to my flagging drive. The last stretch is an emotion-laden push that propels me through another quarter mile before tapering off and ending. I slow, my side aching and my breathing ragged, but I keep up a fast walk/jog while I recover. The next song is largely unnoticeable, but serves as a timer for my resting pace. I'm warmed up and I've pushed myself. The rest of my list keeps my speed on acceptable levels, but they lack the unnamed emotional intensity of the adagio. I pass through the fading night, the street lamps a cool orange in the muggy humidity, my t-shirt soaked and clinging to my back. I can feel the sweat trickling, tickling, down my neck, my hair escaping its pink prison in sweat-curled wisps. The streets are empty, the windows are dark, and the streetlight at the end of the road burns red.

Forty-five minutes later I return to my doorstep, tired, damp, and flushed. My ipod is silent, the rasp of the key's teeth biting into the lock is accompanied by a few ambitious crickets and the quiet hush of the door separating from the weather strip on the door frame. A wave of cold, conditioned air washes over my hot face, almost painful as I slip quietly into the house. Shoes, ipod, and belt are removed, and on sock-muffled feet, I move like a shadow through the apartment and into the bathroom to shower.

I spend the first hour of my day vibrantly alive and completely unseen to all but the occasional near-invisible face in a dark window, whose attention was drawn to the casement only by the movement of a silent runner, claiming the empty street as her own with each steady footstep.

In Which There is a Dream

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In Which There is a Questionable Analysis

I heard about this site via Fark, so I had to try it out. I pasted in the first few paragraphs of The Secretary of Lost Things (which I haven't worked on in ages), and got this:



I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!





Not sure how I feel about that.



For reference, here's what I submitted: Secretary of Lost ThingsCollapse )

Yes, it needs editing, but the whole story sort of fell by the wayside when I started grad school. I might pick it up again some day, but for now it rests in my Vault of Unfinished Stories. What lies forgotten in yours?



Edit: Out of curiosity, I checked a few other things. My post "Some of this is Fiction" is supposedly written like Steven King, and my post about the health care bill was supposedly written like David Foster Wallace (which is actually pretty cool). It's probably mostly random, but it's an interesting concept.

In Which There is a Quick Update

I'll be (hopefully) catching up on journals soon, plus posting this week's log of the Wii Fit+ and EA Sports Active: More Workouts over at Hero Gym. I've been keeping the log in a notebook so that I can post them one week at a time, which works out a bit better than posting every day. The workout week ends on Friday or Saturday (I'll have to check) and starts again the following day. We'll see how it goes.

Life has been pretty hectic. My laptop cord is still fried and it's still $70 to replace it (youch!), so I've been off LJ for a while and mostly updating little snippets on Facebook (since I can access it via my ipod Touch).

Health-wise, things are stable. I'm still waiting for the hospital to call me back to reschedule the last two tests, but the headaches have been pretty manageable so long as I'm careful with my neck and don't invert my head with any kind of swiftness. Granted, that cuts out a lot of my yoga, but I've been improvising. I use an app called iHeadache that lets me enter and track my headaches -- the type, duration, symptoms, triggers, etc -- and send reports to my or my doctor's email. It's pretty fantastic, actually.

Anyway, I just wanted to drop a note and mention that I will be coming back to LJ... soonish! ♥

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In Which There is a Plan?

I'll be in NC for the second half of this week!

The current plan is to arrive at my parents' house on Wednesday afternoon (which, yes, means that I'm voluntarily missing the nanophotonics lab opening here in town Wednesday afternoon in favor of playing the Wii with Dad). Thursday's plan is to hang out with Becky and Steve, Friday will be with my sister for her late b-day hang-out, Saturday will be Teavana and gait analysis with Ms. Sandra, Sunday is the Durham museum with the family, and Monday I'll be driving home.


Now for more coffee!

In Which There is... Shiny!

Watching BBC's Planet Earth in HD on a 50" plasma TV is amazing.

In Which Good Times are Had

I've been pretty busy lately, but last night I finally cracked open the "Just Dance" game I bought for the Wii a couple weeks ago. You can't help but laugh the whole way through; add the constant giggling at yourself to the bit of exercise you get from it, and you have a fantastic way to burn off some stress.

Here's a bunch of guys dancing to one of my favorite songs in the game:

In Which There is an Actual Entry

Hey guys, sorry for the sparse updates lately. I've been working on my research project and it consumes most of my free time.

Things are going pretty well. It looks like I might be getting my office suite back sooner rather than later, which will be an enormous relief. The mold issue forced me into a move to Investigations last year, reducing my six-room suite of vault, lab, storage facilities, evidence lockers, etc down to one 10'x9' cubicle. To say it's been crowded and unproductive is a criminal understatement. Anyway, I'm thrilled that the end to this cave-like mess is in sight.

Otherwise, I've been keeping a fairly regular schedule in my running (or glorified speed-walking, but my knee is slowly but surely getting better). My tracking sensor has been glitchy due to the holding pouch I've been using, so I'm going down this weekend to be fitted for a pair of the shoes made for the program (Nike+). Still, with the weather being fairly dismal these past couple weeks, it's been harder to get out and walk/run. In response, I'm getting a Wii with the Wii Fit Plus kit. I've read a lot of favorable reviews on it and I really like the concept -- I'll keep track of my experiences on HeroGym, along with a side-by-side comparison with EA's second release of Sports Active. To be fair, I've been wanting a Wii for a while, but couldn't justify the expense for pure gaming purposes.

Classes are... the same. My boss' boss heard about my research project and wants me to present it to the city in order to get access to resources otherwise not available to me, and in return, he wants me to present my findings to the city council in a bid for better funding for our community policing efforts. It worries me a little; as a researcher, I can't promise that my findings will support his cause. Regardless, it would give us a better insight into police relations with the community.

Anyway, I can't wait to get some quality free time. This weekend will be a sort of shopping trip, which is nice. Emanuel has been extremely supportive in all this, and I'm happy to finally be able to set aside a whole day where we can just be. There's sure to be some crazy hijinks when we get the Wii set up.



I hope you're all doing well and staying warm. *hugs*
Midterms. Ah, midterms. Midterms, midterms, midterms.

Work is still stressful, but I spent the day shaking things up and will hopefully get my office back this year. My class is going a little better -- for the first time since I began my program, a professor actually called out a student on her inaccuracy. She responded to this by answering his follow-up question in ALL CAPS with a few short words that didn't even answer his question. I could almost hear my professor's eyebrow raise. In other news, I got an A on my last paper, despite the flu. Hurrah!

I'm still feeling less than great, but I'm getting better by the day. I've found that I've fallen into a grey sort of routine, and have decided to shake things up by going red (headed, that is). My plan for the cut & color is here Rawr!Collapse )

Otherwise, that's life. I haven't done much interesting, as that there's this whole midterm thing that has invaded my life like some sort of academic kudzu. I live it, I breathe it, I even make jelly out of it and sell it to tourists... wait...

In Which There is a Time to Keep Moving

 I'm sick. I haven't been answering my phone much due to a lot going on in addition to the flu, so I've been filtering most of the negative news I can't change and letting it pass me by. Unfortunately, it seems like 2010 has started rough for everyone. I've got a coworker whose had to burn up her leave time to fly around the country, trying to reach loved ones before they stepped with dignity from this mortal coil. Another friend who has to fight very serious and significantly damaging false rumors in order to defend her integrity and preserve her job. Others cite financial issues, unreasonable bad luck, irrational anger... 

Weather through, my friends. This is but a moment in time.
Bear with me -- I'm teaching myself this silliness as I go along.

Silly photomanipulations starring Jess, Bob, Becky, Steve, Kat, and Some Radioactive GeeseCollapse )


I'm still hunting for good pictures to play around with. If you have any, send them my way!

In Which There is a Chilly Morning

The good: I woke up early, left early, I got 19 out of 19 green lights this morning, and got to work early. Woot!

The bad: 
It was a very rough weekend work-wise. Lots of craziness on my desk. Bad craziness. Wish I could elaborate, but there's the whole "will lose my job if I blab" thing. Oi.

The ugly:
Check engine light came on while I was driving to work. I'm pretty sure it's not the gas cap this time. Will check fluid levels and such at lunch time.

Otherwise, it's shaping up to be a good day. The office is 65 degrees, accounting for last night's freeze -- the first of the season, I think. Yes, I'm imagining That Look from Jess, who is currently experiencing highs in the twenties and, according to the weather channel, a horrible combination of snow and freezing rain.

I finished up the remainder of my Christmas crafting last night, tweaking a few things here and there. I need to wrap everything, but I think I'm finally done. It kind of sucks that both my brothers are stuck having Christmas with the U.S. military (Air Force & Marines), and I miss them very much. Uncle Sam better make an awesome Santa, or me and the military are going to have stern words. Stern words, I tell you!  (where values of "Military" are equal to "Muut").

Anyway, I've got a few more minutes before I'm on the clock, so I link for your viewing pleasure (viewer discretion advised): 

A variety of fun loving unicorns who love children and leprechauns!

A new take on an old classic!

And finally, it's always important to eat your veggies (or pay them protection money).
Today's tea is a blend of MatéVana and Rooibos Chai.

The Rooibos Chai has a lighter spice similar to Sheri's blend from Zoomdweebies, but without the smooth, sometimes too-sweet candied flavor. The Rooibos Chai is energizing but caffeine free, which is perfect for an evening boost if I'm needing a kick in the tuckus but not wanting to stay up all night. I hear that some people take it with milk, but I'd have to make it extra strong if I did -- the flavor is really great, and I'd hate to drown out the high notes with too much milk.

The MatéVana falls a bit on the other end of the spectrum, being both caffeinated and more robust. Emanuel compared it to the caramel chai over at Zoomdweebies (which I can't find on the site just yet, but I'll link it when I find it), but I think the MatéVana is a lot better. The Zoomdweebies blend has a sort of unpleasant sharp bite at the first sip, which isn't present in the MatéVana. The MatéVana is deeper, smoother, and strong. You've got to make sure that you don't steep it too long, but the upside of this is that it lends itself well to blending with milk without drowning the flavor of the chai.

As with many great combinations, I think these two are better together than they are separate. The lighter nature of the Rooibos Chai balances the robustness of the MatéVana very well, making for a much fuller flavor than Sheri's blend, which has been my morning chai up until I tried this blend. I'm experimenting with the caffeine content this morning by having only the MatéVana & Rooibos Chai blend instead of the usual cup of coffee followed by Sheri's Blend. So far, I'm feeling pretty good (despite little sleep last night), so this may be a better alternative to my morning cuppa.

With regard to Sheri's Blend (which is a rooibos blend), the marigold flowers and apricot pieces tend to make a smoother, sweeter flavor that, while fantastic, is a bit too smooth for my breakfast blend. The taste is comparable (in a weird way) to a warm sunbeam coming in through a window. While comforting, it's warm, soothing, and has a habit of making one a bit sleepy -- which is a bit counterproductive to my morning wake up. Additionally, it's sometimes a bit too sweet for me. I don't add any sugar or honey, but the natural sweetness in the apricot really shines through.


I had just finished writing a long review of the Teavana Tea Rhapsody Glass Tea Tumbler that Ms. Crystal gave me for Christmas, but something occured with my touchpad versus browser, and it Backed a few pages at the brush of my sleeve, thus making me lose everything since the last auto-save. Oi.

Long review short:
it's beautiful, great for certain types of tea but not others. It's good for light travel; sturdy, but by no means rugged -- so no taking it hiking, or for a trip to the beach. I recommend it for iced teas, as that the glass doesn't insulate as well as my brushed aluminum thermos (though this one most definitely has a greater aesthetic appeal). It's a little difficult to steep tea in the tiny strainer that comes with it, but I think you're supposed to put your tea leaves in the main part of the tumbler, which really diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the airy look (the MatéVana looked like grassy mud) unless you're using the flowering teas, which are very beautiful but fairly pricey if you don't shop around. All in all, it's a lovely addition to my tea-ware and I look forward to using it in the future.

In Which There is a Pre-Work Rhumba

This is the tune to my morning dance-around-the-office-because-I-come-in-and-an-ungodly-hour-and-no-one-is-here moment. It's very happy.

Behind the shiny cutCollapse )


I hope it inspires at least a momentary boogie.


Have a wonderful day!!
Reasons I am often cranky at work:


Coworker: "Why haven't you processed that car?!"
Me: "What car?"
Coworker: "The one that was stolen!"
Me: "When?"
Coworker: "Last night."
Me: "No one told me. Where is it?"


Answer? In the parking lot of a building I never go to, and never drive by, in the back, behind buildings. The best part? "You should have known you needed to process it. There's crime scene tape on it."
http://xkcd.com/668/




Hover text: "What? Oh, no, the 'Enchanted' soundtrack was just playing because Pandora's algorithms are terrible. [silence] ... (quietly) That's how you knooooooow ..."



This has happened more than once, with this exact song.



...Does he take you out dancing just so he can hold you close? Dedicate a song with words just for you? Ooooh-oh...

In Which There is SCIENCE!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/education/23educ.html


As an aunt and maybe-someday-but-not-any-time-soon-future-mother, this makes me very, very happy.
The city is finally fixing the cracked and leaky roof on my department's building. This is a good thing. However, the roofers have been running a grinder on the roof since 6:45 this morning, then hacking away at the roof with axes. Sounds productive, yes?

Water begins soaking a ceiling tile in my division office, where there has not been a water leak before. Our scene begins here.

CPL: "Hey, I might need your umbrella. Take a look." *CPL directs me to water spot*
Me: "That's pretty horrible. I'm using my umbrella in my cubicle, though, to keep the falling pieces of ceiling tile from hitting me. You're a Boy Scout; don't you have one? 'Always Prepared' and all..."
CPL: "Eh, I've got one in the car..." *CPL removes the ceiling tile, unleashing a waterfall. At this point, my LT comes out to look at the spot*
LT: "I bet that's from --"

*Before he can finish, the roofers began utilizing the grinder once more, directly above the division office*

CPL: *indecipherable hubbub drowned out by grinder*
Me: "WHAT?"
CPL: "IT MUST BE FROM THE GNATS"
Me: "WHAT GNATS?"
LT: "WHAT?"
Me: "I SHOULD CHECK THE LAB."
CPL: "YOU WANT A PLATYPUS?"
Me: "... YES. I WANT A PLATYPUS. YOU SHOULD GET RIGHT ON THAT."
LT: "WHAT?"
CPL: "OKAY. BUT I THINK THIS LEAK IS BECAUSE OF THE GNATS."
Me: "WHAT GNATS?!"
CPL: "THE GNATS! THEY'RE USING GNATS!"
LT: "WHAT??"
CPL: *makes hacking and chopping motions*
Me: "OOOH, AXE!"
CPL: "YES! GNATS!"
LT: "WHAT?!"


So I've got an umbrella wedged between my overhead cabinets to keep me from being showered with bits of ceiling, earmuffs (the kind you wear to the range or when woodworking) to keep out the horrible sound, and there's a bucket by Chris' cubicle to keep the water from flooding us out. All I need is mittens and I'll be the poster child for modern fashion.




... I still want that platypus, though.

In Which There is a Trip to the Tea Store

On Saturday, Emanuel and I drove down to Teavana in Jacksonville for some much-needed teatime; I needed to pick up some more white chai, and he was interested in learning more about my tea obsession "thing." As usual, Teavana had their little sample stand in the doorway, where he tasted - for the very first time - the glory of their Samurai Chai/ White Ayurvedic Chai blend. This was most excellent, as he rather enjoyed it.

Anyway, in addition to getting some more white chai, I picked up a new Beehouse teapot* like the one I have at work so that I could have tea at the apartment. Emanuel picked out a teacup at my insistence, since I wanted him to get something he felt comfortable drinking out of, as opposed to the fragile little koi cups that match my old teapot. He found an awesome iron teacup that suits him immensely and couldn't be more perfect for him. Teavana has a wide range of beautiful iron teaware, but I've always been a bit leery of owning any (iron allergy and all). While Emanuel was going through the selection to find his teacup, I made a few inquiries to Richard, the resident tea aficionado at Teavana who has all the bearing of a wise old scholar in the ways of tea and puts you completely at ease -- which is particularly good in my case, since I've had a bad experience in the past with employees putting on the Tea Snob Persona when they realize that I'm not some yokel looking for some Lipton. Anyway, Richard enlightened me on the benefits of the iron teaware (and pointed out that the iron is coated with enamel so I won't have to actually touch raw iron) and I left with a lovely iron teacup* of my very own.



While I was making some of the Samurai/White Chai blend at home, Emanuel casually mentioned that he'd only be drinking tea when I made it. He was getting into it because I'm into it, and while the tea is good, it'd be something he did with me and not of his own impulse.

So color me surprised when he filled up the teapot last night and put it in the microwave.


Me: "You're... making tea! That's awesome!"
Emanuel: "... no I'm not."
Me: "But... you're heating water. You've filled up the tea strainer with tea. You've got the rock sugar out."
Emanuel: "Yeah... but I'm not making tea."
Me: "Then what are you doing?"
Emanuel: ".... Helping the... little elves... that are making tea."





*in-store prices for Teavana are often several dollars cheaper than the online prices, and provide a wider range of colors, finishes, and textures than available online.

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I've had two nights of pseudo-nightmares back-to-back, which has been odd.

The night before last, I dreamed that the city was taken over by zombies...Collapse )

Then last night, I dreamed that someone anonymously tried to kill me at work...Collapse )

In Which There is a Need of Eyebleach

No matter what anyone tells you, it is, under no circumstance, a good idea to check out www.peopleofwalmart.com while eating lunch.
Here's the first picture sent from Mona (photographer extraordinaire):

In Which There is Jellyfish Brain

Elizabeth: "Can you imagine the letter to the scientific community detailing the discovery? Located in the deep ponderous waters of academia, the jellyfish brain: a complex organism of mystifying qualities. Despite its apparent complexities, it can be noted that the jellyfish brain is of a simplified nervous system revolving around the basic instinct of the species - idiocy. We fully expect the species to take the Darwin way out - or take over the world with their parasitic young."
The name in bold is the instructor/enabler.

Image put here for sizeCollapse )

Clearly we don't require silly things like "facts" and "truth" or that bothersome thing called "knowledge" in this class.

The proper response to this is something akin to BIRRGLGRAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! and your brain leaking out your ears.

In Which She Emerges From a Paper Chaos

For the first time in five or six years, I agreed to do a professional photo shoot. My father's cousin, Ramona, is a supremely awesome professional photographer and is hilarious to boot -- so after a couple glasses of wine, she rendered me compliant. What followed was ten hours of hard work -- three locations and four shoots (went back to the ruins with candles after nightfall). She should be done with the post-shoot editing in a couple weeks -- she has actual paying customers to attend to first, as opposed to the just-for-fun that I sat (and stood, and precariously balanced, and jumped, and kneeled) for. I'm ridiculously sore today, but hey -- free workout, right? I'm just happy that I got over my camera-shyness for a day and had fun with it. I'll post a few when Mona gets them to me.

I hope everyone is doing well. Things have been pretty crazy lately, but they should hopefully either mellow out or reach terminal velocity in the next couple weeks.

In Which There is Non-Wakefullness

Seriously? Did someone switch the lifeblood in the break room to decaf?!


SACRILEGE!!

In Which There is a Yearning for the Cold

Life has been a roller coaster of ups and downs this past week. I sometimes feel like things are spinning out of control, as though I've discovered that my sanctuary away from the world has really been built on the back of a giant tortoise, which has heretofore been slumbering peacefully but has suddenly decided to traverse the world. I find myself missing the quiet peace of how things used to be, but realize that keeping thick walls between me and everything is unhealthy and makes for a reclusive, isolated Kat. Emanuel has been good at getting me to open up, which is both very scary and an enormous relief, though I find myself sitting in silence this quiet Monday morning, feeling more serious than I have any right to be, and wanting nothing more than to go read in the dappled sunlight of autumn. I need the brisk red and gold of fall to kindle my heart and lift my spirits -- the weather here has been unbearably warm and, like a bell jar closing in my breath tightly around me, humid and muggy. I find myself both restless and fatigued, my sleep fretful and heavy with confusing, unsettling dreams.

The weekend was wonderful; I finally made it to the early Saturday market and picked up some local honey. I explained to the vendor that I was finally making the transition from the beekeepers in the mountains -- he seemed to understand and even gave a wistful sigh at the talk of the sourwood honey of the Blue Ridge. This new stuff is sweeter than I'm used to, but is still good and will suit my purposes once I get used to it. Emanuel and I walked for a while, trying to enjoy the fall, but with the temperature soaring in the nineties, it hardly felt like autumn. Times like this -- times of transition -- are typically my favorite, but with the heat plodding ever onward toward an unwavering, featureless horizon, I find myself discouraged. How did I find myself here? It isn't as though this is a terrible place, just... uninspiring.

Yet life goes on. I am grateful for all I have, and have hope that those darker spots in my vision of the world will be resolved soon.

In Which There is a Smaller Passing

I regret to inform you all that Ivan the Terribly Disgruntled, fish extraordinaire, passed away during the night of October 7, 2009. He lived a good fishy life glaring at guests in my office and puffing to show his displeasure at intrusion, movement, and color of any kind; however, he was very old for a fish and had recently suffered several age-related illnesses. Alas, our Ivan has shuffled off this mortal coil to enjoy more fruitful pastures in the fishy afterlife.


Enjoy that big tank in the sky, little angry one.

In Which There is a Passing

My grandfather passed away on Monday.  I feel as though the world has suffered a huge blow at the loss of him, and I find myself helpless in the wash of emotions that ebb and swell like a tide controlled by some distant, invisible moon. I'm okay for the most part; I know that death is part of every flame of life, that our grief is not for those who have passed, but for those of us who live on without the ones we love. Yes, I grieve because I can no longer hear his belly-laugh or hear his rumbly brogue as he tells about the tungsten well or some tall tale about bears in Nova Scotia. I grieve at the loss of the smell of sweet pipesmoke and coffee early in the morning, the mist still clinging to the grass as he named the birds coming to the numerous feeders. I grieve the loss of his poetry, of the rough words of encouragement he penned in letters spanning the years, and the way he would always put my nickname in Gaelic on the address line of every letter he sent.


I grieve, but I cherish the memories he gave me.




Go mbeannaí an Tiarna thú agus go gcumhdaí sé thú.
Go dtaitní gnúis an Tiarna ort agus go raibh sé caoin leat.
Go nochta an Tiarna a ghnúis duit agus go dtuga sé síocháin duit.





In Which There is Morning Perspective

I finished my papers for class!

I got about three and a half hours of sleep last night, compounding on a sleepless night before that. However, I made eggs for breakfast and had some fresh fruit, and I've got a stein from my trip to Gillette Castle that holds half a pot of coffee.

Life is stressful, chaotic, and entirely unpredictable... and good.

In Which There is a SINGING TESLA COIL!!!!




My favorite part is at about 1:05. ^__^

This is a solid-state Tesla coil. The primary runs at its resonant frequency in the 41 KHz range, and is modulated from the control unit in order to generate the tones you hear.

So yes, it is the actual high voltage sparks that are making the noise. Every cycle of the music is a burst of sparks at 41 KHz, triggered by digital circuitry at the end of a "long" piece of fiber optics.

EDIT:

OHMYGOODNESS!!!



*geekgasm*


Yesterday was beyond horrible, so I'm not even going to glorify it with any details. In any case, the evening was supposed to make everything better -- drinks and pottery with the girls from work -- but for a handful of reasons, plans got canceled. I went to Walmart and was determining the swiftest way to a Tom & Jerry's suicide (Death by Chocolate, anyone?) when one of the other girls called. We talked a bit, and she decided that the best way to patch up the evening involved pizza, alcohol, and cheesy movies. It was a good band-aid on the day, and I got home around 12:45 in the AM, and went to bed.

Woke up at 5 this morning to my work alarm, got up, started to get ready for work. Had that sudden, liberating "Oh! It's SATURDAY!!" feeling and went back to sleep.

Woke up later, with daylight outside. Went to get up and was popping and cracking at every joint. Couldn't figure out why til I looked at the clock. Yeaaah, being almost completely motionless for another TEN HOURS will do that.


So... yeah. My Saturday was spent sleeping. I had just over fourteen hours of sleep, which is about 4 times my nightly average. Despite the fact that I had plans to go to the Saturday market this morning, I really, really needed the sleep.
It's 10:15PM. I have just finished RE-writing my stupid paper and have submitted it. I'm still at work, because I figured with all the noise at the house, I'd get more work done here, where it's quieter... which is true, but not necessarily work on my paper, but work-work, because I'm AT work. I will now go home, where I will shower, brush my teeth, and sleep for a few hours, before coming back here before the sun rises.

Realistically, if I had clothes, shower stuff, and contact solution here, I'd just sleep on the couch in the division office. I'd get more sleep that way, since I still have to drive to and from home.

In Which There are Changes and Tea

I'm in the middle of overhauling my LJ account, so please bear with the virtual sawdust.


Today's tea is the Ultimate Chocolate Rooibos from 52teas.com (aka Zoomdweebie's) courtesy of Jess, Bob, Steve, and Becky (Thanks guys!!). I've been on a rooibos kick lately, but was a little leery to try this one since it has actual pieces of chocolate in it. I've been a purist for years, sticking strictly to tea leaves or herbal teas, eschewing fruit, flowers (aside from chamomile), and anything else of the non-leafy variety.

Oh, what I have been missing.

Anyway, after my morning dance training and a couple hours into working on assignment for Crim Theory, I decided that enough was enough -- I'd try the tea. The aroma was a little off-putting at first; I like a tea that has a sort of cloud of scent, one that has multiple mingling notes of olfactory flavor. This one smacks you in the face with the chocolate smell, and while you're still reeling, pats you on the head with with the warmth of the rooibos. The first batch was delicious, if not a little odd at first -- I'm not entirely used to drinking chocolate tea -- but I brewed the second batch and added milk, which was very good and perfect for a cool day (or a freezing house, which is the case here).

I use a tiny Japanese teacup, so I made the decision to add the milk straight to the teapot -- only possible because I have a highly non-porous teapot that is extremely easy to clean (found here. I realized I forgot to link it before -- mine is in matte black, which turns out to be a dark charcoal grey).

As far as the tea goes, I might consider beefing it up a little with some marsala chai, but I'm out at the moment. This is my first chocolate tea, so I don't have much to compare it to, but as a stand-alone representative of chocolate teas everywhere, it makes an outstanding impression.



Tags:

Text from Jon: "Hey, when was the last time you saw Spaceballs?"
Me: "Ages ago. Still funny?"
Jon: "Yes, but I need intel... do you remember what the speed after light and ridiculous speed was?"
Me: "Yeah, ludicrous speed."
Jon: "Aha! Well, I'm traveling at Ludicrous speed toward Florida."

In Which Kat is:

Very, very busy.

In Which There is Green Tea Kombucha

Today's tea: Green tea Kombucha, by Yogi Tea. (Link is to a listing for 6 boxes; the tea is not terribly expensive and can be found in most grocery stores that sell Yogi brand)

This was one of the first teas I ever really got into, having tried my first cup about eight years ago at a new age store in downtown Sanford, NC. I picked up my current box at the co-op in Pittsboro while I was on vacation, but I think Publix might also sell it. It's a green tea with Kombucha extract, which is hard to explain, except that it's completely wonderful. There's also lemongrass and spearmint in this tea, but the Kombucha extract blends these two with the green tea in perfect harmony. Yogi Tea also makes a decaf version that I haven't tried, but reviews indicate that you can't really tell the difference between the caffeinated and decaffeinated versions.

I will give no testimony as to the health benefits of this tea -- I drink it because I love the taste and aroma, which I find very soothing. As to the digestive, immune system, and anti-cancer claims... that's up to you to decide.

As a random benefit, Green Tea Kombucha will not get bitter no matter how long you steep it. So, say, you were going to do laundry and completely forgot you left a bag steeping in your favorite coffee cup... you can still remove the bag, pop the mug in the microwave, and voilà! Delicious tea without a hint of bitterness.




A PSA about teapot cleanlinessCollapse )

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In Which Sleep is Had

I woke up this morning after limited sleep, and groggily prepared to start my day. Then it hits me: Wait, wait, wait. I don't have to be anywhere today, do I? *quick mental check* No, no I don't. This means.... this means.... I can go back to sleep. Seriously. Is this a joke? I can actually go back to sleep? For as long as I want? OHMYGOODNESS.


I was so excited about this, I almost couldn't fall asleep. Almost.

Tags:

I'm linking my Teavana reviews to my journal -- not sure how it's going to work out, but if you see some strange on-goings involving tea, I'm working on it :)

EDIT: Okay, so linking my product reviews places them into my news community, The Daily Paper. Working on this.

EDIT #2: Right, so, scratching the whole "linking reviews" thing. It's really not working out like I wanted -- too bot-like. I was hoping that it'd post the picture from the website and all, but it's just linking the site and posting my review. I'll write up a review for LJ when I get home.

Tea of the moment: Sheri's Blend from 52teas.com (also known as ZoomDweebies), compliments of Jess, Bob, and Steve (THANKS GUYS!!). It's described on the package as "Caffeine free premium African Rooibos blended with dried apricot pieces, real cinnamon, and marigold flowers." It's fantastic! I've been a little leery about red teas, but I really love this blend. It's got that perfect blend of cinnamon and fruit, held in the robustness of the rooibos. It's got a warm, slightly fruity aroma  that is perfect for any time of day. It's caffeine free, which is a double edged blade -- the robust taste makes it a perfect kick-start to my day, but I also wake up at 0-dark thirty, so I drink Sheri's Blend after a cup or two of coffee. I've considered blending it with Teavana's Samurai Chai (which is very caffeinated) -- I'll let you know how that goes when I try it.


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In Which There are Snippets

My mini-vacation was very good -- got to hang out with awesome people and do fun things. Conspired to take over the world with Becky, which is par for the course when we go to the mall (what did you expect us to do? Oogle shoes?) and basked in the glory of Teavana's wall-o-tea. On Sunday, I went to Pittsboro with my sister and had fun at the street fair, had a very cute guy ask me for my number (only to run into him and his girlfriend a couple hours later, where he didn't have the grace to be embarrassed and even blatantly hit on me in front of her while she gaped at him in shock. Awkward.), which has never happened before. Monday, I went to the mall in Fayetteville with an old friend from high school, where good times were had and cute sweaters were purchased.

Returning to Georgia was bittersweet -- I enjoy my work, but there's a certain draw to move back to NC, to take some sort of job just to be back where I can say three words and have the friends around me understand what I mean without me needing to fill in the blanks. I miss sprawling out on the grass and feeling completely at home in the scents of pine straw, tree bark, and chrysanthemums. The air smells different there -- it's drier, of course, but there's something fundamentally comforting about being back in the sand hills. Still, my near-Spartan lifestyle here in Georgia has been good for me. It's been a struggle, but I've done more than I ever thought I was capable of. I'm learning to stop second-guessing myself and put faith in my own abilities.

Otherwise, things are as they always are. Work is work. Life outside work is the same old hermitude, with exceptions here and there. There's a boy I like but won't say anything to (I really don't think he sees me as date-able anyway), class is going well (though I really need to work on my term paper this weekend), and I'm going out with some of the girls from work to a drag show -- yes, I know. No, I've never been to one. The girls say it's hilarious, so on Friday I'll be dressing up and going to see flamboyant gay men prance around in pretty dresses. I'll probably be the DD, but I hope to have fun just dancing (though it occurs to me now that I have no shoes to wear to this event, as my club shoes are in storage and all I have are sneakers and slip-ons. Hrm).

Anyway, I'm off to kill some Frost Giants. It's been that kind of day.

In Which a Mini-Vacation Starts

"Alright, what I want you to do is take off your glasses, shake out your hair, and say 'Mr. Booth, do you know what the penalty is for an overdue book?'"
"Why?"
"... Nevermind."

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Tatsuya knows bestCollapse )

Some days he posts comics that sum up my day better than words. Still, I'm superwoman and I totally kicked insecurity's butt with my baseball bat of determination. ^__^

In Which There is an Article and Cake

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/08/30/georgia.killings/index.html


The PR officer is not as stupid as this article makes him sound. Arguably, because he was being "tight-lipped" about the details of the case and "refused" to tell the press about the nature of the bodies, I would say that the press quoted him to sound like some country hick. Too many so-called journalists have seen CSI and think that they're entitled to know everything about the scene/case/suspects when in reality, their job is to say "This happened. Police are on it. Be cautious of suspicious persons and chainsaw-wielding, hockey mask wearing serial killers who want to bake you special cookies."

I despise the press when it comes to situations like this.


Otherwise, the morning has been pretty good. I've been unreasonably cheerful and am enjoying every moment of it. A friend's birthday is tomorrow, but we're having cake today to celebrate. Cake!

Speaking of, can anyone else help me to explain to a certain scrooge (and incidentally, beloved friend) why it's important to celebrate the birthdays of people you care about? This particular friend has griped and complained every time someone has something set up for their birthday -- since this friend doesn't wish for his birthday to be recognized by a display of cake (seriously?! Who doesn't like cake?), I restrict myself to giving a card. For others, there's usually cake -- like today (chocolate cake with strawberries!!) -- or a special lunch of some kind. I've tried explaining that it's a celebration of a team member, a sort of extended work family, the annual celebration of a loved one. He doesn't get it.

That's okay, though. Maybe this is just a job for some. I don't expect everyone to understand where I'm coming from on this one. I don't plan big celebrations for everyone -- I try to remember to get a card at the very least (though I do I forget sometimes) -- but I'm on a tight budget and I do what I can. It's my pleasure to recognize someone I work alongside, someone I've shared laughs and burdens with. Why not recognize them? People are uniquely individual, and each person has something worth celebrating (even if they annoy the crap out of you for the other 364 days of the year).

Life is too short, too fragile, to avoid celebrating birthdays. Have your cake, my friend, and eat it too.
Feeling better; fever has been gone for almost 24 hours, which means that -- according to department policy -- I can return to the office. Headed to work tomorrow morning *fingers crossed*. I have a bit of a lingering cough and may wear a mask, but still! I can work!

Aug. 25th, 2009

"We are born unique. Our experiences mold and change us. We become someone, all of us, and to have that taken away by murder, to be erased from existence against our will, it's just..."
"Evil?"
"Unacceptable."

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