Sunday, November 30, 2008

3 cubic yards of dirt

Who knew it would be so much? 27 cubic feet, right? 27 trips with the wheelbarrow, right? Uh, I estimate a full 8 hours over 4 days, but it's all back there now. Well my doctor said more exercise, so there you go. I had a lot of time to think about gardens, and enjoyed the classical music. Summer of '07 we went to Austria. Every little house had a little or bigger garden. Each of them looked like something out of a Beatrice Potter illustration. Well, think about those gardens have been there for centuries and centuries. If I stayed in one place, think how fine my garden would be! Well, I now have a big flat place with a nice border, and roses along one side. I am going to put sweetpeas along the other 2 edges, at least for the winter. It is probably too late to germinate much for winter crops this year. Ummm, vegetables and roses.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

cautious optimism

I have been watching the appointments to the new regime's cabinet and so forth. I am optimistic that Obama is able to appoint able public servants who actually KNOW something about what they are tasked to oversee. In addition to former Clinton appointees, several of them are members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (as am I, so not necessarily a recommendation in and of itself, but at least they presumably read the journal). Meanwhile, Bush is reportedly "burrowing" people with no science credentials into federal science agencies, such as a 30-year old into NOAA who has a bachelor's degree in government and a guy with a degree in world politics to oversee grants in the Department of Energy's Office of Science. I sincerely hope all of this sabotage can be undone by the incoming administration. Unfortunately, there is so much work to be done, this all just makes it that much harder. The law needs to be changed to move the inauguration up to a month after the election.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It's a baby bird! When the weather cooled off, I put a nest in for each of my pairs of finches. The fawn hen laid some eggs, which I didn't really pay attention to. I noticed she was chasing and pecking the other cock, so I put the separator into the cage and separated the 2 pairs. Today as I gave them water I noticed something move, and they have a chick. It is at least a couple of days old, I would guess. You can see the crop is full of seeds. Come see if you are around!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drumming up bidness in a slow economy

We have been doing meetings at Santa Clara Site since Monday, so I have been rolling along in rush hour traffic these past few days, listing to Morning Edition and trying to keep my space behind the car in front. This morning, at the awful 280/880 interchange, a white panel truck dove in the lane ahead of me (illegally as trucks are not supposed to be in lane 3), missing my front bumper by a fraction of an inch, I swear. I honked loudly and rudely and tried to remember I am not supposed to be getting my blood pressure up, then went back to listening to the radio and rolling along at 20 mph. About a mile later I inched past the white truck, now back in lane 2, and noticed in small black letters on the door, "American Casket Manufacturing Company" Well, new trucks and casket purchases are one way to stimulate a woeful economy, but please, not on my shift. @#$!@!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thomas, again

Thomas has been hanging around with the boys, who are starting to gobble and display. Beautiful guys. The hens hang out on another hill about half a mile from here. Now Thomas is back hanging around the end of our cul-de-sac, holding up the leg again. It doesn't look diseased this time, but he won't put his weight on it if he can help it. Well, he has quiet, corn and water. Take it easy Thomas and get well again.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Your tax $$ at work

Today I went to a meeting of the Crime Lab Directors. Santa Clara County has built a new crime lab on the corner of W. Hedding and Guadalupe by the jail, so we drove over there after the meeting and took the nickle tour. 4 floors, all high tech all the time. Wireless, computer notebooks, not even a photolab, all electronic with a secure link to the DA's office. Lots of rooms with monitors to look at evidence, lots of lights for photography, more cabinets than Imelda Marcos could fill, sliding evidence banks like in university libraries. Safety features, redundancy, uninterruptible power supplies and generators. A firing range (they have a long tub with water to fire bullets into to get the rifleing marks without smashing the bullet, which only travels a few feet in water) and a garage to work on vehicles. Every sample will have an FID tag, and there are scanners at each elevator and each door so all the samples will be tracked, all the time. Not only key cards on all doors, but a thumbprint reader also. A green building, sited to use the sun, one of only a handful in the county to get the LEEDs golden seal (not sure what that means, but it is a big deal). They have only started to move in, not much equipment yet, but WAY cool tour. What a show-case.

By comparison, yesterday I was at the Department of Justice in the capitol, in the tox lab where they run blood and urine alcohol, drugs and so forth. Turns out for every person they stop who is under the legal alcohol limit, they go ahead and run a tox screen. The biggest problem? Ambien, the sleep aid. Now this lab has been there some years, and it for sure is not in the same ball-park. Books, papers, files piled up to the ceilings and held in place with bungee cords (earthquake safety). Old equipment, out dated computers, tired offices.

And before that, at Ca Food and Ag. We gave a presentation in the library, full of books from the 40's. Really. Government offices sure have a wide range of longevity and modernity.

Some days the job is really interesting. I just wish I weren't exhausted.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Plan

Boy, there is a lot of stress out there in the blogs I follow. Let's explore how to deal with all that.

Well, here is the plan. Exercise, not that I did today. Lose weight - one cookie at the Guild meeting. Check. Read a good book, on #2. Sew or read a sewing/beading book every day. So yesterday afternoon I put in the picot French neckline on a white-dotted long-sleeve tee, and it worked just like the instructions say it should have, although the next time I make this pattern I should scoop out the neck a bit. I was suprised that the neckline stitched with a straight stitch was still stretchy - guess that is due to the picot edged elastic in the trim. It got very dark when it started raining, so I shall continue sewing up the black fabric in the daylight today.

At our guild meeting, I decided I needed more therapy, so acquired 3 skeins of linen-mohair fine yarn and a lovely pattern that can be worn as a vest or a shrug, depending how it is buttoned. Very clever. I knitted my swatch last night, and my anti-stress therapy is to knit LOOSELY on the next sized larger needles to keep to gauge.

On a sad note, I hear the Hancock's fabric stores are closing. I didn't go there much, but I need to visit one more time. Surely there will be some stress-alleviating items on a good sale.
I WILL get the blood pressure down. Less housework, more stash acquisition.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A note on beginning the 7th decade of life

I could not imagine even a decade ago that this country would have elected an African-American to the White House in any capacity. I have been watching as the collective country rejoices and holds its head in its hands. Well, here we are, with the most articulate politician in a generation elected to head the Executive Branch. I was delighted to note he has chosen a junk-yard-dog Chief of Staff to keep the troops in line around the Oval Office. While Obama was not my original candidate of choice, I could bring myself to support him after I examined his views, especially on science and environmental issues, and because it looked like he knew how to surround himself with good people. Let's hope he can, no one can know everything, and Lord knows, he's going to need the help. God bless us all, and provide us with the best Secret Service agents $$ can buy.

The other comment on the 7th decade of life is less sanguine. I never imagined my doctor would tell me to lose weight, but that 7 lb. of fat that has larded my belly since taking this job and cutting back sharply on the exercise has elevated my blood pressure (or is it the stress that has me clenching my teeth . . . nah, not possibly). So, back on the discipline wagon, more exercise, watch the diet, drink less, sigh. Poor Glen, more brown rice. The good news is unlike the high cholesterol, this appears to be fixable, and within my choice to do so. I've still got a lot of fabric and beading to deal with, so I'd better get on with the program so I will be able to do so.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election night

I'm cleaning up emails and listening to the first returns. John Sununu and Elizabeth Dole (R) were already defeated for re-election. I get a Genome Technology listserve and lookie here:

Every Tuesday brings a new poll question to the GTO homepage.
Here are the results from last week's poll:
One week to go! Who would you vote for?
16% John McCain / Sarah Palin
76% Barack Obama / Joe Biden
5% Bob Barr / Wayne Allen Root
3% Ralph Nader / Matt Gonzalez

What do you know, I am not the only scientist fed up with BOOSH.