Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finally, some useful information

I'm here in Sin City with 720 of my closest friends.  I wandered into the forensics section this morning and learned about designer drugs like Spice and Bath Salts.  Spice, as it turns out, is largely herbal in composition.  What is not on the label is the tetrahydrocannibinol derivative, or active ingredient of marijuana, that is sprayed on the herbal product.  Once it is chemically altered so that it is no longer included in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, it is no longer illegal in my home state of CA.  Bath Salts have derivatives of meth, XTC etc..  So my company makes and sells the analytical instrumentation that makes these analyses possible, but only a few labs have the expertise to even look for these modified compounds.  And that is what our guest speaker came to tell us about today.

But you know, for my buck, alcohol is the drug of choice and it's always legal.  Amazing, though, what you can find on the Internet. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Something else to be thankful for

I am blessed with a snug house, newly patched paint and an almost new roof.  I have a garden for flowers and one for veggies.  I have a good man who treats me well and with whom I enjoy spending time.  I have an overabundance of cats and currently, a dining room with an abundance of boxes of wine.  Life's good, and I treasure my friends and family. I am rich in the sense that I can buy anything I want as long as I am careful not to want too much.  Dear reader, I hope you too have a list for which you can be thankful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

one more thing - who knew?

We only have two seasons in California.  The rainy season has started.  Now that I don't get a new car from the job each year, my three-year-old windshield wipers were squeaking with the first rain of the season.  Glen told me to go to CostCo and get new ones there.  He taught me how to remove one and told me to take it inside the store.  I did, managed to determine which one to buy, and walked out with 4 of them in big plastic tubes.  The next morning we went out with the 19" wiper blade to determine if it was in fact a correct one for our Fusions.  Glen said Look!  It's too short!  I said No Way!

Turns out the wiper on the driver's side is 24" and the wiper on the passenger side (the one I took inside the store) is 19".  What's up with that?!

Back to CostCo.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tootsie's new fashion

Isn't this just worth a poor baby?  She has been pacing the room, scraping the plastic collar on all the furniture, trying to get rid of the nuisance.  Just for a couple of days, Sweetie.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

dagger bead bracelet

Some years ago I saw a magnificent necklace made with dagger bead crochet.  I tried to learn bead crochet, but was unsuccessful with anything smaller than pony beads.  Then I saw a patttern in Bead and Button magazine with peyote stitch.  This I can do.  The photo is not as gorgeous as the bracelet, but it was so much fun to make and wear.  I have a meeting in Prague this November.  The bead factory, Presiosa Ornel in nothern Bohemia, in that famous valley for Czech bead making is just a bus ride away.  Yay!  Roadtrip! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

just for the birds

A couple of places in the yard are home to clusters of plants in the Arum family - arrow shaped leaves that die back in early summer, leaving the flower spikes to grow the seeds to maturity.  I was sitting quietly on the porch yesterday when I realized there was more blue jay squawking and mocking bird rasping that usual.  I watched the territorial displays and tried to determine if there were chicks involved.  After some time I realized the birds were gathering red berries, and then realized the disputes seemed to be over the cluster of berries next to the house.  I think they were all getting buzzed from the berries!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

the SS Jeremiah O'Brien cruise

The SS Jeremiah O'Brien is one of two last remaining liberty ships, and she is kept afloat by a group of volunteers who take her out occasionally for a little outing. http://www.usmm.org/libertyships.html   For my birthday this year we took a day cruise from San Francisco up through Suisun Bay to look at the mothballed fleet tied up there. http://scotthaefner.com/beyond/mothball-fleet-ghost-ships/ Who knew there were so many types of ships?   But the lead paint and who knows how many other heavy metals are seriously befouling the bay waters, so these ships, mostly from WWII, are being either moved or scrapped.   I frequently drive over this bridge and have been watching the rafts of ships get smaller.  It was really interesting to get to sail up close and have the captain tell us what each one was and used to do.  Things look pretty different from the level of the bay, and it was a good time for all.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

cocktails at the Dali Museum

I spent a few days at the Florida Pesticide Workshop.  The hotel is lovely and on the beach, although hot as you might expect in July.  The inside meeting rooms made up for the heat by being extra cold.  Monday night we had a field trip to a museum built on a pier in St. Petersburg a few years ago http://www.thedali.org/.  I must say that boy was hardwired very differently than I am.  However, any meeting reception at a museum always trumps a reception in a ball room.  I LOVED the garden they created around the building.  I want a bench like this one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sweltering in the mid-west summer

Life in California is good.  I am not in CA, I am outside St. Louis in a lovely community with expansive GREEN lawns and shade trees, triple digit temperatures and extra high humidity as it rains every few days (not to mention the Mississippi River, just a few miles away, is running at capacity).  It just happens to have a heat index above 90 by 7 in the morning.  So when I go on my morning stroll, hardly generating the speed to be actually termed a walk here, I come home soaked to the skin before 8.  Now let me think, why did I ever think life sounded good in CA?

On the good side, Mom is pretty strong and will have not problem doing for herself when I leave in a few days.  The wireless is pretty reliable, and the big lounge area is quiet this time of day, so working is not a problem.  I spend the rest of my time out on the porch with the overhead fan, thank goodness, trying to escape the non-stop Turner movie channel in the other room. 

Did you ever wonder if there is an alternate universe where all those things you meant to do tomorrow, but didn't get done, actually do get accomplished?  What would life be like with caught-up e-mail and a clean kitchen and mowed grass be like?   Guess I will get to wonder a little longer.   Left all that behind in CA.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

a short detour for my week

My mother had surgery Saturday.  She is fine.  However, it took me way too far back to when we nearly lost her 3 years ago.  I spent all Saturday morning trying to breathe for her from here.  It was all very sudden and no way could I get there.  So I am all packed up and leaving today.  I guess I should call her and tell her I am coming.  I have boxes of plums and apricots on the counter, and hungry cats prowling the kitchen.  The neighbor promises to distribute the zucchini, so I guess I am good to go.  Oh, I need to find a jar and take Mom a plum and a cot.  I hear the tomatoes are in in IL where she lives, so that will be something else to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July in my front yard

Some of the early daylilies are about to take a rest for the hot part of the year.  The mid-year troopers are getting ready to put on the next act of the show.  A couple of years ago, Loew's built a hardware store over on my side of town, and it did not take too long to find out they sold big pots of hybrid daylilies at half off toward the end of the summer.  Bedraggled?   No flower spikes?  No problem, my bed has just the place for you.   Here are three of the newer ones:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer hits with a hammer this week

What goofy weather for N Ca.  We had a half an inch of rain at the beginning of the week, unheard of for June in our desert climate.  Temperature is going to be over 100 F for the weekend.   Fortunately I can go home tomorrow and get ready to set the hose on drip and just move it around all weekend.

I took a flat of the first apricots and plums to the Food Pantry in the next town over on my way out of town yesterday.  They evidently had to move on short notice, so I had to go find the new place or keep a flat of fruit in my trunk for a few days (EEEK!).  They are clearly scrambling to keep the door open, which is too bad because there are always lots of kids underfoot and women clutching their proof of residency.  The woman who runs the place and I seem to be the only one who speak English, but there are smiles and polite gestures to chairs all around as I wait to drop off my bags of hotel toiletries (lots of those after a few months), and fruit.  The Pantry will be closed until Tuesday for the long hot holiday weekend, so I shall go home, pick fruit tomorrow, carry it around to the neighbors, and make plum and 'cot jam all weekend.  By Tuesday, the house will be perfumed with ripening fruit, I will carry the flats back over, and start all again.  Maybe some zucchinis can make their way over this week.

I haven't really liked any of the plum sauce recipes I have found.  Do you have one for me?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The march of the Killer Zucchini

They're BACK!  They are marching into the fridge drawer and down the street to the neighbors.  My garden is HAPPY and we are going to have a LOT of zucchini.  I may have to go to the food bank with them.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

kitty warmer

I had a little shoulder repair on Thursday.  If I sit VERY still with a cold pak, there is no pain.   Fortunately, I have a kitty warmer.  He has been enthusiastically guarding this new-found piece of real estate.  I normally sit at a desk chair during the day, and this lap is clearly superior to the less-recumbent thighs he usually has to resort to perch upon, and only when I am not too busy to try to type around him at that. 

It is raining a surprising amount for June in California.  My garden is ecstatic, and growing like Jack's beanstalk.  I have picked a good weekend to veg out in the chair.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Time for garden pics

That's Louie in the catmint - look for the little pink tongue
The first hydrangea

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Water for Elephants, the book report

I was out of town and dangerously near the end of the book I had brought, so a quick trip to the mega-mart drug store found me leaving with a new book.  Water for Elephants  Rosie-the-elephant only knows Polish, but then, the protagonist does too.  A really fun read about a depression-era lad who runs off to join the circus.  I so love it when the villains get their just rewards, even if the end is a bit predictable. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Return of the old friend

Remember the lost erring from last year?  It surfaced with a PING! from the weed wacker.  Slightly the worse for wear, it earned a trip to a jeweler's to be reincarnated back into an erring.  I get to pick it up tomorrow - I'll be glad to get it back.  Yippee!

Monday, May 2, 2011

on to the next project

It's good to finish something.  Due to 2 days of enforced sitting in a chair, the beading project is finished.  I can't post photos as it is supposed to be a Christmas surprise.  There is a stray thread that needs gluing, and then it's all done.  I found a lovely new book on beading at my library http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Art-Beading-Essential-Techniques/dp/0811871606/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1304372792&sr=8-1 that has a number of lovely projects.  I think I need to buy it. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Well, hello there!

We scored some tix to the Giants Atlanta Braves game yesterday and with 43,000+ of our closest friends, went out to watch the Giants lose in the bottom of the 10th.  Oh well.  We went to the adjacent restaurant to have a little dinner before driving home.  I was in the very poorly maintained restroom, drying my hands, and I turned to the woman who had just walked in the door and told her there was no paper in the stall.  She exclaimed and I looked up to see A, the professor with whom I have an appointment today, 100 miles away.  Go figure.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This means WAR

Louie is my go-to gopher hunting cat.  He has been keeping the yard pretty clean of them.  However, one moved into my daylily bed a couple of weeks ago.    The guy at the nursery part of the new hardware store today suggested they carry castor bean pellets.  However, it really strikes me as just wrong to poison everything that moves in the dirt under my flower bed.  However I found what I hope will be a perfect solution.  Gopher, as soon as the sun comes up in the morning and charges the solar battery, you better pack your gopher duds and prepare to be moving on.  This gizzie promises to make noises you won't be able to live with.  Just watch out for the blue point Siamese on your way out.

Huh. That's no fun at all

I cheerfully started the bangle pattern in the latest Bead and Button magazine.  The peyote base worked up fine with just one little mistake no one but me could ever find.  http://www.beadandbutton.com/Magazine/Current%20Issue.aspx  But the edging done in net stitches is wavy and not smooth as shown.  I could swear the size 11 beads are too large, or 3 of them per stitch is too many.  I have written the author, let's see if she responds.  I have a lot of work in this to have it look as awful as it does right now.   Huh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A rare, rainy April Day

We finally reached our year to date normal rainfall here in N CA.  The reserviors are full, a real blessing here in a dry land.  There should be enough water in the rivers from snow melt that the salmon will be able to have decent conditions to migrate and spawn.  There are ticks aplenty - it's even a good year for them apart from the 6 I have killed so far.  But the best part is my flowers are so happy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

About that software manual

I'm working in my home office, trying to digest the user's guide for an analytical instrument.  Here's Louie, keeping me company and inspiring me to concentrate.  Gotta keep the day job to pay for the kibble.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

stabilizing peyote in progress

I started a new project from a pattern by Cynthia Rutlege in April BEAD & Button.  She suggests to put the peyote on a paper foundation.  GENIUS!  It keeps it from flopping around and makes it ever so much easier to keep the working side aligned. 

Beginnings are so exciting.  There's the rush from the retail therapy to gather the bits not in the stash.  All perfect, no mistakes yet (been there and done that on the back side of the work already).  Satisfying brainwork to puzzle through the construction.  All good.

No peeking, cuz.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

another thing or two in the list of stuff not to buy

Although it doesn't accumulate in humans, it evidently does in fish, and as an endocrine disrupter.  I like to buy those antibacterial sprays for use in the kitchen.  Now that I am working on Salmonella typing, I am more aware than ever before about keeping the kitchen counters and sink clean.  But triclosan and triclocarban is toxic to fish, which live in the sewage runoff that goes into the waterways.  Bleach, folks, diluted into spray bottles, is the way to go.  Label reading 101 again, please.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330214709.htm

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Planting a spring garden? Remember the Monarchs

If you are putting in your garden, as I am doing, try to make a space for plants Monarch butterflies can use as waystations during their migration this year. My yard is already a Certified Wildlife Habitat, so it will only take a little work for me to get it certified as a Monarch Waystation.  Go here and learn what you can do as well  http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/.

This is the week the painted lady butterflies migrate.  I can sit in my yard and watch them flutter down the street and across my yard, headed north.  Once your eye starts to watch, you can see dozens of little moving spots, fluttering by.  Apparently there was so much rain in Southern California that there was a lot for the caterpillers to eat, and now there are a lot of butterflies.

Monday, March 28, 2011

it is trying hard to be spring

There was a little sun yesterday.   After 3 weeks of rain, we finally have reached the average year to date rainfall, which is a good thing as it will now start raining.  We sat on the porch and had a drink yesterday evening, the first time this year, even though it was only 60 degrees.  There is a Great Egret hanging around here for the past few weeks.  First one I have ever seen here.  And a Rufous hummingbird visited the feeder - they migrate through for a few months, so he told me it is trying to be spring, too. 

I was looking for a photo this morning and poking through the blog archives.  I must say, I had forgotten much of that.  I am lucky to have this job - some of the things I have done have been really interesting.  Thanks, cuz, for prodding me into starting a blog.  You should get back to keeping yours up, too.

Friday, March 25, 2011

La Fred Athena blouse pattern

Maybe last Christmas, La Fred had a free pattern download offer (this is the pattern, not the download). http://www.bullarddesigns.com/lafred/athena.html I printed out some 30 pages and laid them aside.  Yesterday afternoon I glued and taped them all together while I watched the evening news.  Only when I cut out 3 pieces did I realize there was no sleeve.  No file, no email, no trace of the original download.  OK, I could draft a sleeve, how hard could that be?  I fussed and fiddled, and drew one 3 times, using the infinitesimally small figure on the pattern layout guide to calculate lengths and widths proportional to another piece on the diagram and its pattern piece measurement.  It still looked cattywampus, so it was time to sleep on it.  I walked past it at noon to get a cup of tea, and it caught my eye.  I realized I had just drawn a grainline from the center rather than drawing the grainline perpendicular to a line connecting the ends of the armscye.  OK, got that all fixed up once I realized my mistake, redrew it from the armscye down. Found a piece of plaid to make a sleeve muslin after I finish the bodice. Free pattern, fabric gifted from my friend, it doesn't get much better than this.

No, Mr. Obama, this will not 'win the race to educate our kids'

The National Science Foundation (NSF) had decided to cancel GK-12, a $56M program that brings STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduate students into K-12 classrooms to work with teachers and kids.  http://www.gk12.org/2011/03/04/gk-12-program-cancellation-discussed-in-science/  Now I have no direct experience with this program, but I have a lot of experience communicating technical issues to non-technical people.  I also remember what a truly terrible TA I was my first year in graduate school.  This program was a win-win all around.  This smells like a bad decision.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rain for the rest of the week

But yesterday, we had a few hours of sun. I took advantage of a slow day at work, and went outside for awhile in the afternoon. Now I ask you, does anyone need a better reason to grow catmint (Nepeta faassenii)? In another month it will be covered with little purple flowers, but now it is covered in cat!

Monday, March 21, 2011

'Bye to the rainy season

We get another week of rain here, and then, no more until next winter. Really, winter and summer are the rainy season and the dry season here in N Ca. But the trees are gorgeous now, and I am ready to start washing the jelly jars.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My TeaCup

I drink tea all day out of a great big Botanic Gardens "breakfast mug" with a big flat bottom. I have a little warmer with a switch that keeps it from getting cool. And I have to tell you when I spill my tea, like I just did, that I'm really glad I don't favor coffee with cream and sugar. Much easier to clean up!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The meeting at Hamburger University

Some account managers met the Food Team for a couple of days last week. We were outside Chicago, not where I would pick for March, but there was a customer visit. I was pleasantly surprised at the hotel site, it was on the McDonald campus where they do their corporate training. There were a lot of suits in the halls, apparel I don't often encounter in my line of work. You can see the campus includes several large classroom buildings, this one connected to the Hyatt by a covered walkway. But the best part was the memorabilia and art at the Hyatt. There was Ray Kroc's original malt machine. Wall art included a quilt of hamburger and fries, Mona Lisa with McDonald's bag on the floor next to her, Queen Beth eating fries out of a McDonald's sack, tumbling Ronalds in the shape of McD - you get the idea. Iconic and charming, not at all heavy-handed. I'd stay there again just to walk the halls of the Hyatt and look at the art.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Christmas jewels

My Great-Aunt Elizabeth was much beloved by my family. She laughed a lot, put out a big dinner for Thanksgiving, and lived in a beautiful brick home that Great-Uncle Chester built. I have a lot of wonderful childhood memories from that house. In due time, she passed away, and I helped my mother clean up her things at her home. So you can imagine my delight when I received this package under my tree at Christmas, wrapped with a bit of ribbon, from my mother. All of her rhinestone jewelry, and now I can enjoy it every day. Thanks, Blondie.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The flowers are lovely

We in The Company have for some weeks had extensive and painful discussions about a gentleman from Cameroon. So when G showed up with African violets for Valentine's day, it was a real trip. Thanks, sweetie, it was the perfect touch.

Monday, February 14, 2011

blustery start to a week of rain

We really need the rain here, so I cannot complain. Last week was warm and sunny and I spent a lot of time looking at the weeds in the yard.

I also enjoyed the various pink trees in bloom, so I am hoping the rain will be gentle and not the kind that knocks all the petals to the ground. Yesterday we got the first blossoms on our plum tree. I'll just look at them out the window and be grateful for a week of rain.

Friday, February 11, 2011

looking forward to the weekend

I think this unpleasant diversion has blown over, the investigation shows the charges were unfounded (surprise!). I seriously need to get this thread back on track. Saturday is Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild http://penwag.org/ meeting, of which I have been an enthusiastic member for about 15 years, followed by lunch with dear friends. The weeds in the yard are growing better than the plants I tend, so I need to get busy with that. The fruit trees need spraying with copper for leaf curl before bud break, which will be soon given how warm it is now, in the 60's. Yup, happy times are here again.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

yup, life goes on, part 3

The Come to Jesus meeting did not seem to work. Snot Nosed Post-Doc walked out on me when I gave him a direct request (well, order) to do something. The good news is I get to go home tomorrow. I'm really grateful to have management squarely behind me, but when the proverbial substance hits the rotating oscillator, everyone gets dirty. Fortunately I have managed a lot of successful collaborations, as have my managers, and we have a track record of doing it well.

Time for dinner. Yup, life goes on.

Monday, January 24, 2011

KDFC went away today

Bummer. I work at home sometimes, often doing e-mail and expense reports. The radio is a nice diversion, and I listen to the classical station a lot. So here I was swaying to the Blue Danube Waltz this morning, and the next thing I know, there is The Hotel California by the Eagles at 12:20. Something about switching to public format, and now DRAT! I am going to have to figure out this streaming business. Change is not good here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Dance, Squared

My poor BlackBerry has a bent pin, it cannot be repaired for complicated reasons. The death rattle came this week, I have 2 bars of battery life left. Now I am no longer a Field Engineer, but am an Inside Applications Scientist, which belies the fact I am in the 4 days - 3 nights travel mode for this entire month. Nonetheless, I am not actually entitled to a BlackBerry. This month I switched from my old boss J to my new boss P, that blue-sky thinker and loose cannon. It has been a good trip this week, lots of us were here to launch a new collaboration, and we were enjoying a most excellent bottle of wine gifted on us by our Enology Professor Sue. So, P, I say, my phone is dying and I need to order a new one. Why are you telling me, he says. Because you have to approve it, P. Just get it. Fine. (P evidently slept through manager school where they explain the pecking order of whom is entitled to what work tools). So I am sitting here salivating in anticipation of my new touch screen BlackBerry, which should arrive this week.

Another nice thing that happened yesterday, is that we had a very successful project review with my collaborators, where I let the new post-doc to understand that I picked up on a couple of omissions and had total control of the details. My managers were quite pleased with the meeting. We had other meetings for the rest of the day. Professor Sue quite kindly invited 4 of us to dine at her home along with her collaborator Professor Alyson of Food Science and Technology, along with other family members. It was delightful, we enjoyed the conversation, and Alyson and I dreamed up a new project for pomegranate juice authentication. Sometimes it all works out just right.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

and life still goes on . . .

So I am sitting in the small hotel by the college campus, preparing for my first quarterly review with my university collaborators today. We are about 3 months behind where we wish we were, due to delays in equipment deliveries, but it is what it is. I have my power clothes all ready, and the attendees all have their assignments for what to present. We will see if the come-to-Jesus meeting yesterday focuses everyone's mind on the work at hand as defined by the project (not what the blue-skying post doc wishes he could do first).

It's really foggy here, as it tends to be this time of year. I am so glad I live where it stays above freezing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

and life goes on . . .

All of us have scars on our backs - not always literal ones - where we have been stabbed. I have a new one from yesterday, and it is still bleeding. The data came in, looked as expected after several days of troubleshooting, I was happy, offered the customer a glass of wine to celebrate, and the next morning the proverbial substance hit the rotating oscillator. Personal attacks via the e-mail bomb made it necessary for me to pull a bit of data and leave ASAP. I REALLY didn't see this one coming. Different culture perhaps made the body language unreadable, but I was for sure blindsided. Fortunately my managers trust and respect me, but who needs this? It's really hard to dodge all of that proverbial substance when it is flying around. The customer may always be right, but not this time, folks. I for sure didn't need this one. aargh.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Part of it is finally finished

A couple of years ago, I bought myself a J & P Coats spool cabinet at the auction (http://www.icollector.com/Victorian-Casino-Antique-Auction_ae271) I had my eye on these as they occasionally appeared for several years, but got priced out of the bidding. Two years ago, things didn't go for as much, and I managed to pick up a bargain. It sat on a packing box for a couple of years, then one day I found some turned legs for sale. Who knew one could buy legs, aprons and all the stuff to make your own table? So a lot more money later than I thought it would cost, stuff showed up. I thought I could stain and glue and it would turn into a table. Well, the resident engineer took over the project, and the stain and oil finish is a perfect match for the old wood cabinet. The top still needs to be stained and glued etc, but as it happens, this much works well enough. Isn't it lovely?
BTW, apologies about the header to the blog. It is kind of under construction and will get put up there right as soon as I get help to figure out how.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

I think I need to officially declare 2010 as a successful year. I got to travel to Germany, Hungary, Las Vegas, Chicago, Fairbanks, Tallahassee, Seattle, Atlanta, Washington DC, Orlando and somewhere else in Florida, not to mention Davis CA, where I get to go again this week (o boy). I got to travel a little with my Mother, which is a beautiful thing after years of not having that opportunity. I made a beautiful bracelet for my cousin. I perfected the tee shirt pattern and have several to wear to work now. I made some other things, although I can't quite call them to mind at the moment. The roses and tomatoes did OK, I'm still working on the gardening. I have another cat who wandered into my life, and he is a sweetie. On the down side, I really smashed my shoulder, and it is still giving me trouble. Being inactive while my shoulder healed was not kind to my waistline, and that, of course, is part of my resolution list for 2011. The new Wii Fit is still in pieces in the living room, but sometime early this year, that will be a happening thing. But you know, I am blessed with dear friends, a good man with a good job, a job that makes me happy, a new, snug roof over my head, and I am contented. Life's good.