Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Monday and Tuesday of this week DRAGGED by, very slowly, but today was much better. I am not sure what makes the difference.

We have five different trainers that give us lectures and answer questions. It is surprising how quick and easy it is to pick up on personality differences and such when different people present similar styles of material day after day in such different ways. The head trainer is clearly the head trainer for a reason - very strong leadership, she controls the classroom and demands attention. She presents the material clearly and relies strongly on the handout to lead the lecture (which is good in my opinion). Our second female trainer, lets call her blue, is very people oriented. Her lectures try to be amusing but are cheesy. She likes power points, the material is relatively clear, but she indulges questions a bit much and this can lead to her getting way off track. The third female trainer, lets say Goldy, is the worst of the bunch. She does not use power points and her hand outs are useless. She reads off some notes she has that no one else gets to see, but she lectures as if we are all looking at them. She assumes things are self-explanatory that are not. She does not utilize examples during the lecture. She often cannot answer questions. Then there is the "computer" guy. He isn't actually IT or anything, but he seems to be in charge of all the computer based lectures, a fact I find to be comical since he is the oldest trainer and we often have to point out basic computer things to him (zB - how to zoom out so more of a word document fits on one screen, how to tell if an internet page is loading). The result is that many of his lectures tend to explain how to do things that are second nature to anyone who has had any other office job or simply grew up using computers - for example, how to use a search function in a database program (i.e. type in the search term in the box and click on "search"). In general, he repeats information A LOT during lectures and elaborates way to much on basic points, of course who am I to be the judge of that when some people still seem confused. The last trainer, "Orange", is my favorite. I think he is most people's favorite. He is very approachable, he follows handouts but also adds to them, he covers the material completely and answers questions concisely, and makes the class laugh.

I could also tell you that last night I had book club and it was fun (Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society), that I am going to a friends house tomorrow night, and that we have made plans to visit my sister in Burton this weekend. And now I did tell you. :-)

Last but not least, I am super psyched that tomorrow is the first day of October. Bring on the Halloween!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009


"Three days ago it smelled like hay season outside. (I noticed this on an evening walk with Grim).

Today is smells and feels undeniably like fall. I love it. Love Love Love it. I want to throw open the windows and go for a hike. These desires are probably partially due to a general over-sentimentality I am experiencing at the moment. When Vivaldi's Four Season's came on my MP3 player this morning I had the desire to play it loudly and frolic around the room. Not that I followed through with that, since I happened to be at work at the time.

Some of you are probably wondering what exactly Hay Season is. When you grow up on a Hobby Farm in Northern Minnesota there are four seasons. Autumn is September through October. Winter is November through March. Spring is April through June, and Hay Season is July and August."

I wrote the previous three paragraphs on Friday during a break at work, with the intention of finishing it Friday night, but I never got around to it.

Instead I went out to O'Shaunnesy's with friends and ate fried pickles and chatted. Saturday morning found me meeting friends at the farmer's market, and then picking up another friend to go to the art museum. It has been a busy weekend. Tonight I am going to my Grandma's. We will be celebrating my cousin's birthday.

I am starting to feel the crunch of working an 8 hour day - the weekend has become immensely more valuable to me. I am finding it hard to have time for a lot of the little internet things I used to keep up with, so my internet presense is going to drop (it already has). I am sure you have noticed I have become a weekend blogger. I can't keep up with facebook, which is a minor loss. The best way to get a hold of me is email.

I normally do not post about this sort of high school theorizing and nonsense here but I want to get it out of my system so you will all be my willing victims. The weekend also brought some illuminating things to my social life. I have a friend who I don't get a long with that well. I know, it sounds like an oxymoron or something, but it is true. In my opinion friendship is 1/4 convenience (i.e. it being easy to see them or talk to them), 1/4 familiarity (this could also be called history, its nice to talk to people who know us), 1/4 compatability (how well we get along, how similar tastes are), and 1/4 effort (choice that is). Well this particular friendship, I believe, was hinging largely on convenience and effort, and convenience is now out of the picture since I left OSU. Until this weekend I thought she wanted to try and keep it up, that I should continue with the effort. This weekend I realized she is surrendering to the pressures of life, at least to some degree, and there is no reason for me to pretend I don't want to do the same thing. Since all that was pretty convoluted - in other words - she cancelled going to the Museum with my on Saturday because she decided she had too much school work to do, but simultaneously invited me to a new get together on Sunday which she knew I probably could not come to due to previous conversations. This did not upset me. I had a good time at the museum on Saturday, and am not sad I cannot go today. What it did do is show that she is prioritizing spending time with other people and doing activities she knows she will enjoy.

It is such a logical thing to do. Prioritize time with people you get along with and for activities you know you will like. How did I not think of that? I think I will follow her lead.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Teenage Machine Angst Warfare

Tonight DH and I went to see Transformers II in the dollar theater. I had a strange desire to see it, despite having never seen the first one, and having no desire to see the first one. I also received a tip that if I was going to see it, best to do it on the big screen, so we went for it!!

It was entertaining - full of ridiculous plot wholes and shoddy logic, and a bit too long - but entertaining. The first half was teenage angst interspersed with machine warfare. The second half was machine warfare interspersed with teenage angst. It had some really funny jokes, I laughed hard. It was fun.

Afterwords we went to Half Price Books. I found Harry Potter 6 on tape! Now I only need 7 and I am set. I also found a ridiculously hilarious ugly panda journal. I may have to take a picture of it and post it on here just because it is so wonderful.

Work was fine today. We had a lot of reading time. Tomorrow we have a lot of policy lecture, which I expect to be mine-numbing. We got our first medical readings today though, which are more interesting than the policy stuff, and we got computers so I can check email a bit and such during breaks/lunch, and luckily none of my favorite sites are blocked!

That is all!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

After a Week

Today is an absolutely beautiful day. The temperature is lovely. The sun is shining. The air is refreshing. Its awesome.

I love the fall. Of course, this is more like a Duluth summer than fall, but the pattern is the same - cooler temperatures, leaves thinking about changing, its great.

My first week of work was good. We are just starting to move beyond the basic orientation stuff into more the meat of what we will be doing. They say there is A LOT of reading, and while I believe them, I also think I am a fast enough reader that it will not be too much, and perhaps even not enough to keep me busy. Of course keeping busy won't be a problem once we move beyond the readings and start working with claims. We get computers on Monday, but the usage is very limited and very monitored due to the fact we will be on the Social Security Administration network. But still, I will be able to do basic online things like email which will have me a whole lot more connected to what I am used to than this week has.

Outside of work, on Monday I had 'book club'. It was actually just me and my friend R, everyone else cancelled. We went to a tea shop, it was good times. I hated the book thought. I have finished three other books this week - Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which is about a boy being raised by ghosts, I enjoyed it. Red Prophet, which is the sequel to Seventh Son, both by Orson Scott Card, also very enjoyable, and then I finished a reread of Twilight.

I have no big plans for this weekend, but I want to make some! Or get out and do something at least, just so it really feels like I had a weekend when I go back on Monday. Last night we watched Sunshine Cleaners. It was a cute dramedy, quite good for the most part, but ultimately unsatisfying, which is unfortunate since it had so much promise and so many good bits. I wish they had tacked on 15 minutes and wrapped up better.

Yep, and that is my life at the moment :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day!

Today was my first day at the new job. I am a bit tired and tired of repeating the same things over and over, so this will be short.

First off, I am really happy the office is so close to my house. It took about 9 minutes to get there this morning.

Second, today was boring. An hour of ice breakers, 2 hours with HR, 3 Hrs waiting around while people got badges, an hour of policy stuff. I think things will get more interesting once we get through all of the paperwork (ethics, insurance, direct deposit, sexual harassment policies, etc etc etc) .

Third, I found out that we are a federally funded but state run organization that processes social security claims, just for those people who care exactly where in the bureaucracy I fit. This is why the bureau is hiring like mad despite state budget issues. There are too many disabilities claims for them to handle thanks to the baby boomers.

More updates as they come :-)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Game Day!

Its game day!!

8am - get up and walk grim
8:30 - make a grocery list for the party
9:00 - Head to the Farmer's Market to meet Aunt Karen and pick up some fresh produce for the week, including the corn for tonight.
10:30 - Giant Eagle for the rest of the goodies. Also stumble upon a really cheap lunch box for when I start work Monday. Watch a group of men in the parking lot dressed in red pour Kahlua into their star bucks coffee.
11:15 - Arrive home and put away groceries
11:30 - Start potato salad
12:30pm - Put potato salad in the fridge to marinade, harvest farmville crops, read the first 100 pages of The Alchemist. Its not bad but I am not a big fan.
1:55 - Call Mom
2:00 - Start the second step of the potato salad while chatting to Mom
2:30 - Accidentally answer my cell phone when I friend calls even though I am still talking on the land line to mom. Awkwardness ensues.
2:55 - Put potato salad back in the fridge
3:00 - Shower
3:30 - Write a blog about how the day is going

3:45 - Read another few pages of The Alchemist
4:00 - Start cleaning the house
5:30 - Boil the Brats
5:45 - Light the Charcoal
6:00- People arrive, put the corn on the grill
6:30 - Grill Brats for the people who don't care about religion or animals (including myself of course), portobello mushrooms for the vegetarians, and kosher hot dogs for the Jewish guests
6:45 - Chow Down and hang out
8:00pm - Watch the big Game! OSU vs. USC!!!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Short Week

The long weekend has lead to a short week, something that I normally would hardly notice, but seeing as it is my last week without commitment to a job, I definitely am noticing! I have a lot of stuff I wanted to get done before starting work and the shortened week combined with me basically throwing yesterday away is not helping. I will manage though :-) I think the biggest issue at this point is trying to get a hair appointment on such short notice. My hair has not been cut in ages and I really wanted to start the new job with a new do.

The week is also being shortened by big plans for Saturday. We are supposed to have people over for the OSU/USC game. I say supposed to because despite people showing interest in the planning phase so far I have about 8 responses of "not coming" and no responses of people coming. We will see if it actually happens. If it does happen, I will pretty much be spending Friday night and saturday during the day getting ready for it (there is potato salad to make, fixings to buy, a house to clean, etc).

Sunday, knowing me, will be spent doing a lot of stuff I swore I would take care of earlier in the week.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Unexpected Diagnosis

I got a call from the doctor today saying my thyroid level came back high, indicating hypothyroidism. (I know... that seems backwards, doesn't it? Turns out they don't actually test the level of thyroid hormones, instead they test the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormones, if your level is high it means your body is trying to get your thyroid to produce more, meaning it is not producing enough, hence the hypo- prefix.)

This sort of sent my mood into a downward spiral - not so much because of the hypothyroidism - everyone and their brother is telling me its no big deal - but rather because it was unexpected. When I had my blood drawn last Thursday I expected no news, no diagnosis. So when I got a diagnosis of anything it came as a bit of a shock. Put into that the compounding factor of being home alone and today pretty much sucked.

So, when I went to take Grim for her evening walk I decided I needed to try and get out of this funk! (DH is still not home, work has been very busy lately). I made the walk extra long and tried to concentrate on thinking up what I could doto reverse my mood (cheer myself up). It wasn't easy. Many of things I thought of to do that would make me happy were not doable, either because they involved other people that are not available, places not reachable, or circumstances outside of my control (example: hang out with friend R, be in the wilderness, stand in the rain). So then I started trying to just think my way positive so to speak, which was undoubtedly an uphill battle. Eventually, nearly home, I seized briefly on the sunflowers now blooming my my backyard. There are two in full bloom and a few more on their way. They are my limited success story on gardening this summer. It was calming, though I would not say cheering.

When I got home from the walk, I picked up the mail and my October issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray has arrived. Its cover is black and orange and has a barrel-full of crisp fall leaves on it. That did the trick. Up until now, I have been hesitant for the arrival of fall. That is unusual for me, usually I love fall and can't wait for it to come. Now I am totally ready, I think fall is just the change I need. Bring on the colored leaves and football, the pumpkin carving and creepy decorations, the squash, maple syrup, and apples.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


It is hard to believe that Summer is coming to an end. It was a really good summer. I got to travel and see my friends B&R get married in St Louis, spend two weeks in Duluth and be a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding, and see a wedding of a good friend here in Columbus. I got to spend the summer doing what I wanted - which was a LOT of reading and a lot of Rock Band. I spent nearly every Sunday with my extended family at my Grandma's house. I went hiking three or four times (although only once to a real destination, read not Metro Park). I had friends over all the time, watched the 2nd and 3rd seasons of Torchwood, ate lots of good food, and enjoyed time with the pets and DH. And in the end, right when I started to really get down about being unemployed, I found a job.

There are some things I did not get to do. I did not plant my garden until July and thus do not have my own fresh produce (though I still hope some of it will have enough time to develop). I did not go to very many farmer's markets. I did not have a BBQ and did not make potato salad. However, its nice to know that these things were skipped not because I did not have time, but because I chose to do other things with my time (I was busy with friends nearly every Saturday for example).

In light of this, I am now making the decision to try and take the time to squeeze in an end of the year BBQ next weekend. It will feature brats, corn on the cob, two kinds of potato salad, and the USC/OSU game. I am excited :-)

So what else have I been up to you might ask, besides reading and reminiscing? I have been enjoying the cool weather. I have been playing Rock Band again. On Monday DH and I went out and got sushi and then went to see Inglorious Bastards. I quite enjoyed it - different than any other movie I have seen. Tuesday I went out to girl's dinner at the Winking Lizard with my internet friends. Last night we went to Trivia night with our OSU friends.

Life is good.