Thursday, June 30, 2005

The human touch

"Hi, Bev," Chris greeted me as I walked through the door of Blood Source. I was there to donate my 12th pint of blood. I remember being surprised the last time I was there that she remembered my name. She's always been very friendly, but she must see hundreds of people a week.

Someone new led me to the interview room where she proceeded to treat me as if this was my first time giving blood. She carefully explained everything in detail, including pointing out the "signature" line when I hesitated a split second before signing the form. The last time I was there, I remember having a nice chat with the intake person, while she very efficiently took me through the process.

By the time I was ready to have my blood drawn, I was feeling like #109 in a long line of faceless donors. As I got in the chair, the new person explained that Chris would be coming soon to take my blood and gave me more basic instructions, as if I had never been there before.

Chris chatted while she quite efficiently took my blood donation. When new people walked in the door she greeted them by name too.

When I left the blood draw station, I realized what a big difference it meant going that one extra step to be friendly to people and how much better it made the consumer feel when someone acknowledges them as an individual rather than just member of the faceless masses.

New Puppy

New Puppy
Originally uploaded by basykes.
Looks sweet, doesn't he? This is after five hours of crying. I never dreamed a puppy could cry so long. He had a brief break after he ate--15 minutes or so--and then went back to crying again.

We FINALLY got all 3 puppies fed and asleep and they were up at 1 and 3 for feedings again, but seem to have stopped the incessant crying

Ashley has taken them back for the weekend, while we are in Santa Barbara, but we will take them back on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Paula Deen again

God, Paula Deen is my kind of woman. I happened to tune in midway through a program. She apparently had made zucchini bread and it was Tasting Time. Now, most cooks who taste their own cooking, take a little nibble. Not Paula. She glopped a HUGE gob of whipped butter on it and stuck half the slice in her mouth. Again the orgasmic response and then while going to commercial, she stuck the other half of the slice in her mouth.

When she came back from commercial, she had another slice in her hand and said she just couldn't stop eating the bread, and as she began to talk about making crab soup, she was eating and talking with food in her mouth.

She did half the crab soup and then as she passed by the zucchini bread, she picked it up and started eating again, talking with her mouth full.

Paula does enjoy her cooking!

Sydney, Go Home!

I could learn to dislike Sydney. I love being outside sitting with the puppies and watching them play, but now that Sydney has discovered that I have bare skin, I can't stand to be out with him unless I can distract him. He played for awhile this morning and then attacked my foot, my leg, and even leaped up to grab the hem of my shorts. "NO!" did nothing at all. I finally had to come back inside. It appears that my two choices are to bundle up in long pants and socks when I go outside in the 95 degree weather, or sit inside and watch them through the window (or let Sydney inside to pee on the floor).

I'm really hoping he gets adopted tonight!

Trying something new

I'm just getting too high tech for my boots. Here is a link to a puppy playing movie.

If you click here or on the picture itself, it should bring up a brief movie of the puppies playing (I don't have a clue how long it takes for the movie to come up; if you have dial up, forget it!)

The puppies woke me at 3 a.m. this morning. Or rather, they woke up and Sheila, kindly, decided to wake me up. It was fighting with them until 4 when they got in, peed on the floor and tried to attack the bag of dog food, so I fed them outside and was able to close the door and try to get some sleep, but was unsuccessful.

Today they go to the Farmer's Market to see if there are any takers. Tomorrow evening, Ashley picks them up before we leave for Santa Barbara.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Really Stupid People

I suppose that in a country that will actually elect George Bush, I shouldn't be surprised to discover that out of all the people who have ever lived in this country, "the people" have voted Ronald Reagan as the "Greatest American."


Even Ron Reagan seemed surprised and a bit nonplussed by it all.

Smart Puppies

Another determined puppy
Originally uploaded by basykes.
When I tried getting down to the puppies' level to take their photo, Sydney took that as an invitation to sink those razor sharp teeth into my toes, and if he couldn't get my toes, he'd chew up my Birkinstock.

At the same time, Friedman was absolutely determined that he WOULD have the strap to my camera. Needless to say "getting down at puppy level" didn't last long.

But these guys are so smart, I'm not surprised that by the end of day #1, Sydney had figured out how to get into the house through the dog door. I had to lock Sheila in and the puppies out so I could get some sleep!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A new toy!

I just discovered (thanks to Steve), Our Media, which is a site where you can upload various bits of media--movies and the like. He's uploaded several, including "How Do You Fall Back In Love?" from The Big Voice (please watch it--it's wonderful!). I've been going through some of the snippets of movies I've taken on my digital camera and uploaded two. I added a movie from Australia of visiting the wildlife park--note the noisy crows that caw in the background. They caw with Australian accents, I swear!

I also put up that bullfight that I saw in the fields around Davis recently. Check them out and see if you can get them.


Originally uploaded by basykes.
How often do you get the opportunity to vote for Abraham Lincoln? Not much any more! Lincoln is one of the five "finalists" for "Greatest American." While I might not quibble with four of them--Lincoln, Washington, Franklin, and MLK, the addition of Ronald Reagan seems like one of those SAT test questions: "which one of these names does not belong in this list?"

For my part, I cast my vote for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cell Phones

I came to appreciate cell phones this past week. I used mine to coordinate pick ups at the airport, to arrange for meetings, to check on items that needed to be purchased, etc. I did NOT appreciate cell phones when they interrupted the interaction between people in a group. I received a phone call when we were at a dinner. It was a message I had been anticipating. I took the call, received the information, said I was with other people and could have to get back to the caller later. To me, that's a reasonable use of a cell phone.

Conversely, there was more than one occasion when our group interaction was interrupted by a phone call from friend of someone at home, who was calling to chat. The receiver of the call then essentially turned the rest of the group off and continued to chat--loudly (I think we tend to speak more loudly on a cell phone than we realize) the the caller, who obviously was more important then the people in the group. In one instance, the member of our group receiving the call spoke all through a store, and while we were walking around admiring the scenery. There was no suggestion that the call would be returned at a more convenient (i.e., less insulting) time; instead we were made blatantly aware that whoever was on the other end of the line was so much more interesting than we were, that we could not only be ignored, but our own conversation could be hampered because we could not speak over the level of the conversation going on on the cell phone.

On a lengthy automobile trip, a cell phone arrived and all music, conversation, and anything else in the car came to a hault while the person on the cell phone carried on a chat with the person on the other end.

I think there is definitely a time and a place for cell phones. I can even see where receiving a call while you are in a social setting can be excusable. But when that call becomes the focus of your attention, to the exclusion of the people with whom you are visiting face-to-face, I think that's just plain rude.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bird Watcher

Bird Watcher
Originally uploaded by basykes.
I think this was one of my favorite pictures from the weekend. We were sitting on the beach in Tahoe City and there were several mothers with toddlers there. I took lots of pictures with the 12x zoom. I think animals and kids are my favorite things to photograph.

There was one kid, though, who made me angry. It was an older boy who was throwing rocks at the Canada geese who were gliding by. He hit at least one of them on the backside. Nobody seemed to be paying any attention to him.

It's a good thing the geese swam slowly away out of rock reach because I was about to go down to the water and bawl him out.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Airport Security

I sure don't know what was up with Airport Security at the Sacramento Airport tonight. They wouldn't let cars in either of the two lanes near the curb, so we were all shuttled into the outside lanes, whether we were dropping off passengers or picking up passengers. When I slowed down to see if Walt had come out yet, a police officer came up and shined his flashlight in my face and asked me if I was dropping off or picking up. I said I was picking up. He gestured to me and told me I had to move to the outside lane. When I asked him how I was supposed to tell if the person I was looking for had arrived, because I was supposed to pick him up, he growled at me "I heard you the first time--now move along" and flashed the light in my eyes again.

Thank goodness for cell phones. I called Walt on the cell and found that he was still on the plane at the gate, but would be out soon. I directed him to a spot away from the building itself where I would have a chance to pull over and pick him up with being attacked by the security Nazi.

It was a first class mess. I forgot to watch the news tonight to see if there had been a bomb threat or something at the airport. I sure don't understand why it was so fouled up--or why the police couldn't at least be POLITE about inconveniencing us.

It's a new world and I hate it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

bull fight

bull fight
Originally uploaded by basykes.
Today was an example of why you should always travel with a camera. I made a wrong turn off of the road I was traveling on and started down this narrow county road when I saw a car coming toward me pull over to the side of the road. There was practically no shoulder, so it was tricky "getting off the road."

As I passed the car, I glanced into the fied beyond it and noticed these two bulls with their heads down. I kept watching (there were no other cars around) and they were obviously in the middle of a big fight. I had to take a picture!

I had to drive about 1/4 mile before I got to a place where I could turn around, but I did and they were still at it. I took a few photos and a quick movie, but then the one on the right started chasing the one on the left and they disappeared behind a barn.

Little flurry of activity there, but I'm sure glad I had the camera with me!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Empty Calories

I have just proven that you can gorge yourself silly on fabulous Chinese food and not eat a single nutritious thing.

It's the eve of my cousin Shirley's funeral and all the cousins in the area, and their spouses (spice?) met at this wonderful Chinese restaurant (I know it was wonderful because its name is Wonderful Chinese Restaurant). There were 8 of us (my "date" was my mother, since Walt is in Santa Barbara).

We did the usual "pick your own dish and we'll share" bit and I realized when the food came that except for my mother, who had ordered a snow pea/mushroom dish, every single one of us had chosen a dish that was fried and/or sweetened. We had no more than FOUR versions of fried sweetened meats, one candied shrimp with walnuts, and a dish that had a bit of regular beef sandwiched in between fried prawns and more sweet fried chicken. Then there was sweet and sour chicken, a couple of fried dishes, and chow mein with crispy (i.e., fried) noodles.

What's more, at the end of the meal, the plate that had the most leftovers was my mother's nutritious selection.

The nice thing is that my mother and one cousin (and spouse) are leaving on a camping vacation on Sunday, another cousin had come down from Reno and was headed back, one cousin is dieting (though I think she's "dieting" like I'm "dieting") and one couple just didn't want to take food home.

So I took it all home with me and it should make at least two meals for Walt while I'm gone next week.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Call me cynical but...

1. Bush's popularity is at an all-time low.
2. He's losing on Social Security
3. The Patriot Act is coming up for reexamination.
4. The FBI wants to make it even more permissive than it is now (might as well strip away the few privacy right we still have left)
5. Bush is out stumping for the Patriot Act
6. Al Quaeda is discovered in Lodi.

Now--perhaps I'm just overly suspicious, but does it strike you that this discovery is just a tad too timely? I'm betting they've had those guys under surveillance for months, if not longer, waiting for a politically correct moment to pick them up.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Happy Anniversary???

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my infamous bike accident. I've learned a lot about healing in the past two years. I learned that it took more than a year for the shoulder to feel back to normal again, and that the "minor" injury (the knee) is the one which has made what seems to be a permanent change in my life. I'm so used to the knee problems now that they have almost become the "norm" for me, though I still can't bike and it is still a major production to get out of a car, and finding a seat in a theatre is tricky because I need a place to stretch my knee out. I had that problem before (the need to stretch the knee out), but adding the apparent numbness which is now part of the knee has made it that much more necessary.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

September Song

Found this on a discussion board today:

phun for sure!
but plz lets keep it that way,
like i said in the courtesy thread
@barry & others plz don't drown us with yr pix
be selective, go 4 yr best!

Now perhaps this new tech-speak is supposed to speed things up, but it takes me 3 times as long to read because I'm trying to translate into usable English.

Or maybe I've just turned into the old fuddy duddy that we always used to joke about. I'm already that old lady driver that my father used to joke about who hugs the right lane and goes just barely the speed limit.

When did I get to be one of the "older" ones??


What is it with the Don Johnson look? Last week's TV Guide listed the "sexiest men on TV" and with one exception (E.R.'s Goran Visnjic) every single one of them had a day's growth of beard.

That "look" has always fascinated me. How do they keep it that way? It never gets longer; it never gets cleaned off. It just always looks like they have a heavy beard that shows a 5 o'clock shadow.

Not a look I particularly care for. Just looks scruffy.

But then "conformity" is what Showbiz is all about anyway. The women mostly looked like they have been stamped out of the "blonde bimbo" machine. Big hair, big boobs, big lips, and looking the same as every other blonde on the big or little screen. Brunettes or women of any hair color with short hair really stand out as "unique."

Monday, June 06, 2005

More PhotoShop fun

Originally uploaded by basykes.
I took this picture over the weekend and my friend Michelle took it and did some manipulation with it. I took her idea and did some other manipulation with it and came up with this, which I really like. Looks kind of like a cartoon. I love the bright colors.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I flunked!!!

I flunked my blood test.

I thought I was being so clever. The last time I went to give blood, my hemoglobin count wasn't high enough so they rescheduled me for a week later. I went home and stuffed high-iron foods, like beans and oatmeal and spinach and other stuff like that. I also started taking an iron supplement.

A week later, I went back and that drop of blood sank like it had an anchor on it. Didn't even have to be centrifuged, like it usually does.

So, knowing that I was donating blood today, I have spent the last week stuffing high-iron foods and taking iron supplements. I was surprised when the blood drop didn't immediately sink but was shocked when it also didn't pass the centrifuge test. Now I'm stymied. I'm not sure what else I can do. But my next appointment is June 29, so I guess it's a lot of beans and iron until then and hope for the best.

(Of course the worst part of not being able to donate blood today was that I didn't get to have any donuts.)


What do Maureen, Darryl, Hillary, Lucio, Irvin, Lynn, Ina, and Dennis have in common? They all think I have parcels of land on which the tax is due.

Boy, when spammers get a new idea, they don't kid around. I received all 8 "tax is due on parcel #..." messages this morning, the first of this particular kind of spam I've received. I wonder if this new kind of message is going to join the hoards of Cialis ads and the Nigernian potentates and the number of people who send me messages entitled "is it funny?"