Tuesday, May 29, 2007


So I dreamed I was at this really great Memorial Day party yesterday, with lots of great food prepared by the chefs from a local restaurant. Most of the restaurant staff was there, and it was eye-candy overload whether you preferred looking at pretty boys or pretty girls. But they were also really sweet to everyone else - it was like hanging out with the your high school or college A-list, but without the attitude or condescension - just very genuine wit and pleasantry. Everyone was way high or way tipsy, and playing volleyball in the front yard, dancing to music in the back or eating piles of this amazing food - pulled chicken in mojo, mole pork, steak adobo, smoky bean salad, and the perfect potato salad. In my dream, I brought pink lemonade pies (three of them), and they were a big hit - lots of very pretty girls raving over them, and some manly handshakes and pats on the back from actual restaurant chefs who said it was really great. The weather was balmy and not too sunny - and the day seemed to last endlessly. The whole thing was completely ludicrously over the top, and so unlikely that it makes me laugh. Great dream.

Oh, except when I woke up, it turned out that it all actually happened.

Pink Lemonade Pie

Dudes, this is so easy.

8 oz package cream cheese, room temp
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
6 oz can pink lemonade concentrate (or 1/2 of a 12 oz can)
few drops red food coloring
1 cup heavy cream, stiffly whipped
1 graham cracker pie crust for 9 inch pie

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese til fluffy. Add condensed milk and lemonade concentrate, beat until smooth and well mixed. Add a few drops of red food coloring until desired shade is reached. Gently fold in whipped cream. Mound into crust, cover and freeze 4 hours or overnight until ready to serve. Keep frozen.

If you're feeling ambitious, replace 1/2 cup graham crackers in the crust with 1/2 cup mixed nuts (walnuts, pecans, and/or almonds, especially) toasted until fragrant and chopped fine.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Goodness, what a week

and for once, I'm not being sarcastic. It really was a great week! Along the way there was some rain, and the vaguely annoying, vaguely exciting process of trying to dash 12 miles home on a scooter that does 35 mph in between torrential downpours that cut the power at work, brought down some tree limbs all over town, and flooded a few underpasses and entrance ramps. 30% chance of rain my ass. In case it wasn't clear from this post's existence, I made it home safely, and honestly, not even all that wet. I've ridden in much wetter. Of course, if I'd been caught out 30 minutes earlier, I'd have probably drowned... so good thing number one.

Good thing number two, is huge: I finally got my promotion and raise. Both of you, my loyal readers, may remember my random work venting posts from a few months back (it shouldn't be that hard, I've hardly posted anything since). The outcome, which I see now I never did post, was a great success. The inservice day was lauded as a great triumph, much fun was had, and the internal bickering of our work team was in no way apparent to the agency at large. Our workgroup got the spotlight in a big way, with two notable outcomes - P the annoying slacker whose broken body we were on the verge of burying secretly in Swede Hollow found himself OFF the team, reallocated to a different unit because there wasn't enough impetus or actual evidence to fire him outright. May he enjoy counting down his days to retirement somewhere well out my sight and hearing.

The other outcome was that my annual review was a huge ego-stroking pat on the head, with a recommended promotion and raise. Which has taken a full eight months to process, with one thing and another. There was an issue with selecting the right title and grade for the position so that P couldn't use his union seniority to bump back into it once his reassignment was up. There was the prolonged position rewrite, which ultimately I had to do myself, since my supervisor spent several weeks out with a back injury and surgery. There was political jockeying and budget pressure, with the post-election reassignment of commissioners, deputy commissioners, and "budget experts" within the administration. There was me applying for a couple of competitive positions with other agencies, because damn, people, how long is this going to drag out? I'm almost up for my next annual review, already! But, at long last, everything has been signed, sealed, date-stamped, and delivered, and I am now an Administrator Senior, with an 11% raise. I think I mentioned back in March that a lot had happened since my final post of 2006 in October, and this is mostly what I was talking about. Now that it finally has some resolution, I guess it's worth posting after all.

So, onto number three...About the same time that this was happening last week, my supervisor pointed out the application deadline for the state's leadership academy - a program designed to build new managers and supervisors to fill the voids left by baby-boomer retirement. The deadline to apply was yesterday. I hadn't planned to apply this year, because the next few months are going to be crazy busy, and last year I didn't get in, since most of the 30 slots available went to state employees who are already managers or supervisors. Which may be the most succinct explanation of state bureaucracy you'll get from me.

So, yesterday, I pulled out last year's application and revised it, and got my two letters of recommendation, and turned the whole thing in. It is a better application than last year, because I have a much more focused idea of what my role in the department is, and more importantly, what it could be. It's not a slam dunk by any means, but my supervisor wrote a great letter of recommendation, and while this is also not a slam dunk, I think I see who he and his boss hope will replace him when he retires in 10 months. But I'm not going to say it out loud, and I think I'll quick knock on wood for even thinking it to myself.

So, all in all, a good week. I didn't go into education thinking it was a good way to make a lot of money, and it has been a struggle for much of the past 15 years, even though I love what I do. Finally making grown-up wages for what I do is tremendously validating, and seeing how the choices I've made have opened up the type of career I've been trying to build all along is really rewarding. Keep your fingers crossed!

The capper, of course, is that the great week has a three-day weekend. Woohoo!

By the way, this week's video has absolutely nothing to do with anything. But I thought it was hilarious.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why You Should Trust Your Instincts

I should have just bought the fucking ticket.

A few months ago, I saw that Amy Winehouse was coming to The Varsity. After being wowed by her at the Brits, which we attempted to watch on ITV when we were in London, jet-lagged and bleary eyed on our first night, I was hooked. Back to Black is an absolutely fucking GREAT album, by the way. Had I gotten a ticket, the concert would have been tonight, as it happens.


Cash flow was a bit lean after our trip, and I had trouble convincing people to go with me, so I held off. Of course, Amy started getting airplay, my lame-O friends realize that I have great taste and they should listen to me, and by the time they decided that sure, we should go, she was completely sold out. Well, duh, what did you expect people?

So as an alternative, I get invited to this wine tasting fundraiser at a friend's house. Since it would be after dark by the time we're done, and presumably I would have been wine uh, tasting, I opted to ride the bus today instead of scooter, so I wouldn't have to park it and come back for it tomorrow.

Work is winding up, and I'm ready to go catch the bus to the tasting party, when some moron from another department desperately needs help figuring out how to work the DVD player in the conference room. I know! But I'm nice that way, so off I go, and it was a pain in the ass, because some other moron had turned off the amplifier, which is supposed to be on always, and while the DVD player was working fine, there was no sound, and with all the cables that connect one thing to another, it took way too long to figure out that the fucking power switch was just off, everything was fine, just no power. Now I'm late, but there are several buses, no worries, I'll just boogie on downtown and catch the alterna-route, but I gotta move, because it's in less than 10 minutes and it's a 10 minute walk to the stop. I hustle off.

I get delayed just enough by the traffic lights and the after-work traffic that I arrive at the stop just in time for it to fly by. Gasping from rushing my not-so-little tail off, whilst carrying my backpack over one arm and my jacket over another working up a most unpleasant glow in my dressy shirt and slacks, I curse the fleeing bus, and turn to the schedule to see when the alterna-alterna bus will be by, and then SOME FUCKING PIGEON TAKES A GIANT SHIT ON ME! Spoiling my dressy shirt, my jacket over the arm, and nearly a few other things as I'm hit immediately by a fit of gagging on the foulness and stench.

I phoned Boo and told him not to expect me. I wiped pigeon shit off my shirt with my jacket, and shoved the jacket in my backpack. I stomped off to the bus for home.

Some day soon, I'll begin coughing and wheezing, but we'll assume it's just allergies until it's too late, and a week later I'll be dead from histoplasmosis. Fucking pigeons.

Moral: Buy the fucking ticket when you have the chance. Worse things could happen.