Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't Overstay Your Welcome

Follow the rules of "Meetings 101" and you will never have a bad meeting - and you will enjoy 5 minutes to pass to your next meeting.

Soon they will install bells to let us know when class is out. Maybe I can be a hall monitor?

Know Where You Are At All Times

Here's a helpful sign posted in one of our meeting rooms. The room is outfitted with a fancy teleconference system. The sign is designed to let others viewing this room know what location they are viewing.

It's also just a good way to get your bearings after a crazy week.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Escape is Impossible

[Picture from walking path at work snapped this afternoon.]

It looks like all I would have had to do is round the corner and just keep going. But alas, my sense of responsibility made me return to face the afternoon.

It was tempting today – escape that is – with the beautiful weather and all the crap awaiting me back at my desk. Actually I took the crap with me as I always do – on my BlackBerry. Somehow work seems a little less onerous when you are working from your BlackBerry while soaking up the April sun.

I hesitate to go into detail about work, but let me just say that things are getting interesting around the office. With weeks to go before a big product release, I have the opportunity to hire new staff. That's the positive spin. While my co-worker’s departure was unexpected, I trust it will be a good move for her. But with her goes a wealth of product knowledge. I’ve been leaning on her for all the details since I started my new role in January. Now it’s sink-or-swim for me. Luckily my parents made me take swimming lessons as a youth. It was always the coldest week in August – but that’s another story.


And now for something completely different - attack cat update.

Shana has recovered nicely, though her forearms and wrists still show the scars of a cat fight. 10 days have come and gone, and no rabies. The cat is now free to roam the garage again. Shana took the little guy - and he is a little guy - to the vet yesterday for the full exam, tests, shots, etc.

Turns out he is an "intact" (though not for long) male. He is young - but not a kitten. The vet estimated him at a year or two. Very healthy - according to the tests. Now comes the fun part of introducing him to our two cats, Roscoe and Patches. [Why don't we just take him to the Humane Society? Hmm - good question, I'll be sure to ask.]

Yesterday we brought in a blanket the cat had been sleeping on and left it in the family room so the other animals could get acquainted with his smell. Today we brought the cat in to the family room - but kept him in the little kennel-carrier. I guess tomorrow it's a free-for-all - bring him into house without the kennel. The vet suggested we get some spray bottles with water and stand back. The spray bottles are to help break up any fights because you don't want to try that with your hands.

Oh - his name: It was Oscar since we found him on top of a garbage can, like Oscar the Grouch. Now the kids and Shana think that Oscar and Roscoe sound too much alike, so they are calling the little guy Reggie. I prefer Oscar - but then I've been pretty grouchy lately.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This outlet just cries out for help. Interesting stuff you notice when you arrive 5 minutes early for meeting.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Birthdays, Oliver, and that Cat

I apologize for the sorry state of blogging lately. There’s a pattern to my blogging – I blog mainly during the good times, the happy times. Unlike other bloggers who pour out their hearts – or vitriol – I tend to take the Minnesota/Scandinavian approach and keep my troubles to myself.

That might not be the best approach I realize. It would relieve a lot of stress and perhaps hasten the return of the happy blogger, if I let loose from time to time. It might also generate some funny stories about Corporate America – as that tends to be the source of most of my woe.

So, I’m still here. This blog limps along.

Today things finally slowed down enough that I arrived at a meeting on time – actually early. Don’t recall the last time I sat alone in a room for 3 minutes.


Yesterday was the Dude’s 10th birthday. We had a small celebration with Boppa (Jake). Grandmama as at home feeling under the weather. Keeping with my rather poor mood I neglected to snap any photos for the blog. I’ll be sure to take pics at his upcoming party with his friends – May 1.

Tomorrow is Shana's birthday - the celebrations never stop!


Upcoming stuff – the kids are quite keen on trying out for the Rosetown Playhouse’s summer production of Oliver. They would like me to audition as well. I get nervous just reading about the audition:

• Come prepared to sing one song of your choice, a cappella
(preferably not a song from Oliver or a pop song)

• Perform a reading from the script, alone or with a partner
(reading provided at your audition)

• Perform a short dance routine (taught to you at your audition)

It would be like last summer with the three of us in the show. That was lots of fun, but very time consuming. This year my work schedule may cut into some rehearsals and I would have a major trade show for 3 to 4 days wedged between the two performance weekends. In the end, I suppose I’ll do it. After watching the Christmas show, I really missed not doing it.


The stray cat continues his quarantine - only a few more days to go and absolutely no sign of rabies - just boredom. Shana is back from her conference and is healing nicely - though her forearms and wrists still look kind of creepy.

That is all - for now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Stop Thief- oh and you kids over there - duck!"

Oh - in addition to cat trouble, M had an eventful day at school.

According to the StarTribune:

A Roseville school went into lockdown mode Wednesday morning when the owner of a liquor store across the street shot at a pair of robbers as they fled with stolen cash.
. . .

The men fled with what Vang [the store owner] said was a significant amount of cash, but Vang followed them outside and fired several rounds from a handgun as they drove away in an Oldsmobile Cutlass.

OK - taking matters into his own hands - nothing like a little self-help - but to fire at the fleeing car, he also fired in the direction of the school. Luckily for bystanders, he actually nailed the car a number of times.

Shana leaves tomorrow for a conference in Denver. Let's hope the excitement is over!

A Sucker No More

Shortly after posting my ode to a stray cat, M called on my BlackBerry. No one ever calls my BlackBerry during the day, so it's usually a wrong number - or bad news.

M reported that while she and Shana were attempting to load the little kitty into the kennel/cat-carrier, the little fiend (the cat - not M) attacked Shana. Shana was bit several times on her hands, wrists, and forearms.

The vet's appointment was off - though a trip to the Doctor for Shana was on. I came home to help with the logistics and post school event pick-ups and drop offs that Shana couldn't handle. (Thanks to H and Jake for driving M around to choir events!)

On our way to the human doctor, we were able to run the little devil past the vet's. Though we had missed our scheduled appointment they did scan it - no microchip. That means no easily identifiable owner - and no record of shots.

On to the doctor where we spent a considerable amount of time discussing RABIES. The doctor put Shana on an anti-biotic and checked to find out her tetanus shots were up-to-date.

As for the cat - after consulting with doctor and vet (again), we agreed to quarantine the cat for 10 days. If the cat shows symptoms of rabies, then we treat Shana - if not, all's well.

Cat is now quarantined in our garage in a large dog kennel - one of Duke's. There he will stay with food, blankets, and litter box for 10 days. When I went to feed him tonight, he put up quite a fit - meowing and hissing. I put on some leather garden gloves and slipped the food in. Now that I'm on the lookout for rabies, I'm imagining the worse in his behavior - hopefully he's just freaked out about the events of this afternoon.

Next time I see a stray kitten, I will just walk on by.

Sucker for a Cute (and Lost) Kitten

First it was Roscoe, the kitten (now cat) the kids fell in love with and had to take home from the cabin. Then it was Patches the very large (can cats be obese?) cat we took in to help a friend whose aunt had to get rid of the cat before moving into a nursing home. Now it’s the mystery cat – we call he/her Oscar – but that will all be determined this afternoon at the vet.

I discovered the latest feline addition to the household on Sunday. Walking through the park with Duke, I saw what I thought was a crow sitting atop a garbage can. I did a double-take because it made some very un-crow like movements. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a very bedraggled kitten (an older kitten – but not full grown). He/she looked awful – very thin and dirty/wet. I held out my hand and the kitten kind of nuzzled me. I was able to pick her up and put her on the ground without a fight. She/he even touched noses with Duke as he inspected the smelly little mess.

Long story short – the humane society seemed out of the question as the kitten looked very unadoptable – and we feared the worse. So –he/she has been living in our garage since Sunday. The vet recommended separation from the other cats until we can check out her/his health. We take the cat to the vet this afternoon where we will be scanning it for a microchip – which would make things very easy.

Oh yeah – we gave it a bath. She was pretty stinky so that had to be done. Thinking ahead, I wore rubber gloves during the bathing. The gloves came out of the bath slightly shredded – but I only received two big scratches on my arms so they provided some protection.

It eats like a horse! We only feed twice a day, and this one immediately cleans out the bowl where we combine what seems like copious rations of both wet and dry food.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Washington D.C.

[A walk in the woods near John and Sue's before the sight-seeing begins.]

The Dude and I returned last night from our whirlwind tour of the nation’s capital. We had a great time, and were lucky enough to stay with my brother-in-law (John) and his wife (Sue) who along with Otto were gracious hosts, ferrying us to the subway stop and other locations around town.

I’ve been to DC about 4 times – including living there for a semester in college while I was a congressional intern. It’s always a blast – but there is just too much to do.

Our sightseeing adventures began Sunday when we all drove down to Mt. Vernon. I was excited as it was on the list of DC area sites that I’d never visited. Even the Dude was excited, as every 9 year old knows George Washington, – unlike say Woodrow Wilson. (On Monday, Sue drove us around Georgetown, Embassy Row, and at one point, past Woodrow Wilson’s house – big yawn and “who?” from the Dude.)

Unlike many old historical sites, which usually seem smaller in real life, Mt. Vernon was huge. It was quite an expanse – even though the historical site is significantly smaller than its original 8000 acres.

Monday we were on our own – after Sue drove us to the Metro stop. The Dude was very excited about taking the subway but quickly learned that a slight predisposition to motion sickness, together with a little claustrophobia can make subway rides less than fun – especially during rush hour!

Despite Monday’s drizzle and cold, we hit three museums – which is one too many we learned. We enjoyed the International Spy Museum (I had never been there before.) The Air & Space Museum is always fun if not crowded. The moon rock was something of a letdown – being rather small and smooth. The Dude expected big, gray, and rough.

After those two museums, we soldiered on to the Museum of American History where we encountered one velvet-rope-line too many. No way were we going to wait an hour to see the ruby-red slippers! They had a great exhibit on Lincoln, but after that we ready to call it a day.

Wednesday dawned sunny and windy and shortly after arriving in town got a real treat – a Presidential sighting. As we strolled around the east side of the White House we observed a helicopter circling overhead, and then police stepped out to block the street and sidewalks. The Dude was confused, but it didn’t take long to figure out what was going on – and we had a front row seat.

What could have been my best picture is kind of a dud. Don’t know why I didn’t wait about 5 seconds until the Presidential limo was directly in front of me – like where the DC police car is in the picture. The Dude blew the picture too, but all-in-all, it was an exciting event.

After that we walked around the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam Memorial, we met a school friend of the Dude’s for lunch. We knew they were going to be in DC so we arranged a little get-together. I think the Dude was tiring of hanging with 40 year olds.

After lunch we considered taking another run at Dorothy’s ruby red slippers but decided to go to the Zoo instead – more subway and more walking.

Not much to say about the Zoo. Zoos don’t really impress me – but we did get some nice Panda views. My limited experience with Pandas is that they are rather inactive creatures but these guys were moving around when we were there, so the Dude got some nice pictures.

After the Zoo, we trudged back to the subway and downtown for another stroll around the White House. Alas, we didn’t get lucky that time, but did purchase a nice Obama t-shirt for the Dude and then it was off to John and Sue’s for dinner.

Wednesday – the last day – was hard. The Dude was exhausted and vowed to not set foot in one more museum. But we had time to kill before our flight, so off we went to tour northwest DC, Embassy Row, the VP’s house and a few other “must see” sites before arriving at the airport.

[The Dude flashes a V for victory, alongside Winston Churchill in front of the British Embassy.]

All-in-all it was an excellent adventure for the guys. Many thanks to our hosts John, Sue, and Otto!