Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I am so not maternal

The Little Kitty whose name has morphed into Taki is doing as well as can be expected. Her bodily functions seem to be working. I hate that during the day, her meals are constrained to my schedule, but in the evening, she snacks at will.

This morning, there was a large bowel movement in front of one of the bathroom doors: the evidence indicates it was from Taki.  She has really objected to my "helping" her recently, but she needed to do this. 

I am putting her in the litter pan when I think she might be ready to pee or poop, with moderate success.

Taki has taken to wandering through the house, trying to find me, when I am not in the computer room.  I will move her about, to decrease her stress, from time to time.  Other times, I keep her enclosed in the computer room.  

She has bonded to the towel that I use when I feed her: I am guessing the formula she spits out iand s drooling onto the towel is comforting to her.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Severe Weather

This has been a season of severe tornados: Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Joplin, Missouri, Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Oklahoma City area, including El Reno. Severe storms in the Dallas area, and so many areas in the south mid-west.

This is devastating. There are no words to describe how incredibly horrific this has been. We are grateful that there is a network of volunteers and emergency aid agencies who are able to respond to help: National Guard;  American Red Cross ;  Salvation Army, FEMA; and the Department of Homeland Security

The TV broadcast talked about hope and "we will be better."  That is the human condition: that we will be better. We can only hope. 

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Volcano in Iceland

Last year, a volcano in Iceland erupted, and that eruption interfered with air travel for many parts of the world.  This year, another volcano is erupting, and the concerns are present that the same problems will occur. 

Well, that may be true.  But no one controls those volcanoes and their eruptions.. As human beings we sometimes seem to act and think as if we control the universe and the natural events on the Earth.  But we occasionally or repetitively and consistently need a come-uppance to remind us that we do not control nature, and we need to learn to prepare, adapt, and otherwise be flexible about the adversities that weather heaps on us.

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Click it or Ticket

"Click it or Ticket" is the catchy national phrase used to encourage people to use their seat belts. I am a habitual seat belt user.  Sometimes, when I purchase gasoline at the Murphy gas pumps in the Wal-Mart parking lot, I think I will not buckle up to drive from the pump to the parking spot I choose.  Uh-uh.  By habit almost always I buckle up without realizing it. In some respects that is good, because I automatically buckle up.  But, on the other hand, am I paying attention to what I do? I think not.

Locally, we have been advised that the funding to have police officers patrolling for seat belt compliance has been decreased .

According to this story, the seat belt usage in Lubbock has decreased.  Why? I know seat belts are not especially comfortable, but the human damage to vehicle users who are using seat belts is so overwhelmingly less than the human damage to those in vehicles who do not use seat belts.  I know this is not 100% true, but the percentages do favor seat belt use.  


Hercules Poirot, Agatha Christie, and David Suchet

I am a fan of Agatha Christie, and especially her detective Hercules Poirot; other actors have played Hercules Poirot, I most identify him with the portrayal by David Suchet Those are great shows.

I also enjoy the Miss Marple shows, but not as much as the Hercules Poirot shows.


Saturday, May 21, 2011


I love baskets. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of baskets.  Many of them are unique, and gifts from people who know I like baskets. One person even gave me a framed picture of baskets that says:  "You can never have too many baskets."  I agree. At one point in time, I had the three walls around my dining table filled with baskets on the walls. I put a lot of my baskets into use, at one time in my life. 

Now, am a little more balanced. I do have many baskets on my wall. I left many baskets when I left a relationship, so I have fewer on the wall. I also have many baskets spread about being used for practical purposes, including cat beds, trash cans, and organizers in my pantry (I have a couple of baskets where I put pouched foods:  cat and person.)

There was a time in my life when I used wicker paper plate holders for "plates."  I rinsed them off and used them again. It made dish duty a lot easier. I do not know where those wicker plate holders are, or if I still have them.  Hmm. I may have to go looking for them.

I like wicker. I like baskets. I even made a basket. Twice, actually. I made a rope basket that came out very good. I make a market basket of strips of thin wood that did not come out very good, but I am using it: I have it on a shelf, and keep a box of Kleenex in it. I have baskets that hold cloth napkins, baskets that hold papers I want to use to remind myself about things, baskets to hold rubber bands, and baskets to hold sample toiletries.   I just like baskets.


The Wind

This has been a particularly windy spring. I think I have said that before. It was windy again today.  Living in town, sometimes it is difficult to estimate just how hard the wind is blowing, and if you do not pay attention to what the mph means in terms of its effect on  you, the impact of the wind can be surprising.

The horizon profile and footprint of Lubbock has an interesting influence on the wind. Central Lubbock is surrounded by a Loop.  Inside the Loop, the impact of the wind is largely mitigated. Depending where you are, and the direction from which the wind is blowing, the impact can be tremendous. This is especially noticeable when the dust is barely blowing outside the Loop.  Inside the Loop, the dust may be barely noticeable on the horizon, but not in town.

In the winter, for houses who have pipes on the north side of the house, the pipes are more apt to freeze, than if the pipes are on the south side of the house.  My house faces north, so a north wind is not felt too badly in the back yard.  Because of fences, trees, and my neighbor's houses, a south or westerly wind is very noticeable in the trees, but not too bad in my yard.  I do feel the east wind, though.

My front porch is enclosed on 3 sides, open to the north. It gets no sun, so is cooler than the sunny air sometimes. But unless the wind is from the north, it is stiflingly warm in the summer, especially at night, when the concrete and brick have been absorbing heat all day.

Throughout town, inside and outside the Loop, large buildings have the same mitigating effect on the wind.  It is amazing.

The building I work in is in the middle of large cotton fields. We are outside the Loop. The parking lot is very large, and the walk to the building in the wind can be bitter.  Especially because the parking lot is open to the north.   As people on the South Plains like to say, there is nothing but barbed wire between us and the North Pole.  That factor often induces me to wear a much warmer coat in the mornings than I might otherwise choose.

So, we live with the wind. It influences many choices in our lives. A friend and I went out to see if it was too windy to go kayaking today.  The lake we use in town is a "run off lake."  The playas and canyon lakes catch a lot of run off water.  That means garden chemicals, street chemicals and trash accumulate in the lakes.  We do not mind kayaking on top of the water, but do we do not want to be swamped with waves on windy days.  It is less pleasant to kayak in the wind. If the water were clean, I would not mind getting wet on really warm days. But not with that water.

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Friday, May 20, 2011


I have a dear friend with whom I communicate regularly.  When we were in college together, we frequently had such intimate moments:  we could finish each other's statements, or anticipate each other's activities, or some how be thinking and doing similar things at similar times.

Well, that has not changed.  We frequently call each other within minutes of when the other was going to call. We frequently email each other within minutes of when the other was going to email, or about the same topic.

It is wonderfully reassuring to have a psychic connection to someone.

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Fenway Park

I have been to Fenway Park  We were fortunate, when we were children, that we were able to get to Fenway Park once or twice a year.  We enjoyed the trip, which also usually included some other Boston experience: visiting the Sears store, the Boston Science Museum, or who knows.  And, it almost always involved stopping at a Howard Johnson's restaurant's, (which do not seem to have survived so much as the motels have) at least for ice cream, if not for a meal.

Well, Fenway Park celebrates its centennial anniversary on April 20, 2012, the same day the Titanic sank.  So, there will be a celebration: there have been lots of updates and improvements made to Fenway Park recently, very much anticipating the centennial.

Go Fenway!

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Lots of Baseball

Well, the blog follower knows that I am a Red Sox and Yankee baseball fan.   Living in West Texas, we do not even get good coverage of Ranger baseball, although may change, given the big TV contract they have entered into with Fox Sports

The last couple of years, I seem to be getting access to a lot of Red Sox and Yankee games. Traditionally, the national coverage has aired when the Red Sox and Yankees play each other.  Of course, sometimes, but not always, when one of those teams plays the Texas Rangers, I might see a game or two, especially if it is on the weekends. For some reason, the Houston Astros get better coverage.

If either team plays a Chicago team, I might get coverage on WGN.  And TBS or TNT might also cover games.

This year, I seem to be able to tune into a large amount of Red Sox or Yankee baseball. I am delighted. This has been a lot of fun.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Returning Phone Calls

I am usually very good at returning phone calls, whether they are personal or professional.  In the professional setting I try to return phone calls within 48 business hours, but really, much sooner. I think that is important.

On a personal note, I "lived" with my cell phone for a period of 6 to 8 years, for various reasons.  After my mother died, it did not seem as important to me to live with my phone.  I often leave it behind, or once I turn it off, it stays off for days, or I forget to check it for voicemail messages.
I am not trying to be rude about phone calls.  I am just not that connected right now.

One of my uncles did not have a telephone for a long time. And when he finally did, long before the days of answering machines, his philosophy was that the phone was for his convenience.  So, he only answered it when it was convenient to him.  He also said if someone wanted to speak to him seriously enough, that person would call back.  I tend to agree. For a long time, I answered the phone as soon as I could. I finally learned that I could let the phone ring for a while, or not answer it as all, as I wanted.

However, once we have moved into the world of answering machines, voicemail or message takers, once a message is left, my thinking is that the recipient has an obligation to respond. My reasoning is that if you have made yourself available to hear messages, then you have an obligation to respond to those messages appropriately.  And, I realize that there are some messages that are unsolicited, or do not require a response for various reasons. Having said that, I have often used answering machines or voice messaging as call screening. But, I do not ignore phone calls.

In a professional setting, I think that responding to phone calls is important.  I think it gives an indication of the professionalism of the recipient.  It gives an indication of how respectful people are of other people. It says "you are important."

I realize that people are very busy and can not always respond immediately to phone calls. And some professionals set aside certain times to make and return phone calls. Which means that phone calls may not be returned immediately. But professionals who do not return phone calls in a timely way send a message to me:  I have to wonder if they think they are too important to be bothered with me.  I have to wonder if they think they are more important than I am. I have to   wonder if they are serious about wanting to interact with me. I have to wonder if they are reliable.

On a personal level, I want to return phone calls to family and friends to stay connected. For personal business, of course I need to enter into dialogue so returning phone calls  is important. And certainly, on a professional level, I want to project a sincere image of being interested, engaged, and concerned and therefore, responding appropriately to phone calls.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Are You Kidding Me?

I recently opened a savings account at the Texas Tech Federal Credit Union  I have had an open account there for years: it was a checking account with interest.  But when I went to work at the prison, I could not access the account easily, and I moved my primary account to a local bank that was eventually bought out by Wells Fargo.   And even more recently, I set up to allow electronic transfer of funds to and from the Texas Tech Credit Union, and my primary bank, Wells Fargo.

After verifying the the account transfers were valid, I was in the process of setting up an electronic transfer from Wells Fargo to the Texas Tech Credit Union.  The transfer was going to cost me $3.00.  What!  Are you kidding me?  I can make the same transfer with a paper check (I do not pay for my checks) and a $.44 stamp. 

What do you think?


Wearing My Religion On My Sleeve

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic.  At one point in my life, I read at Mass, attended daily mass at St. John's Church  in Millers Falls , and frequently at Cornell University and the College of Our Lady of the Elms,  and even graduated from a Roman Catholic college, The College of Our Lady of the Elms

After graduating from Our Lady of the Elms, , I accepted a position at Catholic Family Service, Inc. for the Diocese of Amarillo, but was stationed in Lubbock, Texas. Eventually, the Diocese of Lubbock was created, and Catholic Family Service, Inc. in Lubbock was also created. I worked there ten years, before I moved on to other employment.  But my admiration, respect and caring for the agency has not diminished.

A few years ago, there was a 25th anniversary of the agency, and I attended. I was asked about being a committee or board member, and I applied. I am on the PR/Membership committee, and this year, was elected to the board.  I was delighted but intimidated. I am honored to serve, but do not have deep pockets, business or money contacts that board members are often asked to utilize. 

I am delighted that the new director has asked me to contribute in regards to professional areas: licensing, supervision, documentation training, and planning for counseling.  What an honor.

I do not wear my religion on my sleeve.  I do pray, daily. But I do not make a show of it.  I start my day with a thanks to God. I pray at other times during the day, but not do so that anyone would notice. 

I have several colleagues who wear their religion on their sleeve: they pray noticeably, and otherwise discuss their religious practices.  I am not comfortable with that. I think God knows what I am doing and why, and I do not need to proselytize, because as a professional social worker, using my influence to proselytize would be an abuse of power.  I am not criticizing my colleagues who pray openly.  I am just saying that my faith in God, which does not change, is private, and also offers others the opportunity to have private but hopeful interfaces with the Maker.

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