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A Conference of Goobers

As a child, I was told stories about “goobers,” bizarre little creatures with deplorable manners.  Goobers talked with their mouths full, licked their knives, interrupted others, and farted in public.

Now I’m grown and I haven’t thought about goobers in years; but, the insistent buggers popped into my mind recently after organizing and attending several “educational” conferences.  As I watched the behavior of the attendees, I realized many of them had contracted “goober-itis.”  It was a sad thing to see.

The goobers at the conference talked to their table mates while the speaker was presenting.  This, of course, prevented the non-goobers around them from hearing anything useful.  Other goobers refused to take their seats, preferring instead to get breakfast, talk to their fellow wandering goobers, or peruse the registration table.  Most of these goobers were late to the conference; many didn’t even try to prevent the heavy door from slamming as they came in.  All of these goobers are distracting to the people who really want to learn something from the conference.

Less gregarious goobers chose to read the newspaper during the presentations.  Some filled out their travel vouchers, checked email on their smart phones, or balanced their checkbook.  Really big goobers did the daily crossword or played solitaire on their laptops.  These goobers are distracting in a different way; they are a disappointment to those around them and a poor reflection of quality of the organization.

Sadly, there were even some Great Goobers ™ attending the conferences.  Great Goobers are the worst of the worse; their manners would make a hillbilly blush.  One Great Goober breezed in to the conference an hour late in sweaty jogging clothes while a speaker was presenting just to get some breakfast and then leave again.  Several Great Goobers chastised the working staff for things outside their control.  One Great Goober complained at having to sign in at registration each day because “he should just be trusted” (though no one knew who he was).

Everyone is susceptible to goober-itis; but, some people are more apt to contract it than others.  Older white males with an entitlement complex are highly susceptible.   One such gentleman, a Great Goober for sure, said he was being treated no better than his fellow airplane manure spreaders (this he did as a hobby in retirement, his “real” job having been of a much higher import).  Goobers do tend to believe they are better than other people; non-goobers just roll their eyes at such declarations.

Another such goober despaired loudly, and in the presence of females, the loss of the “Playboy Club” and wondered why the hotel was not within walking distance of any local drinking establishments.  This kind of goober is a favorite of HR departments everywhere.

Insecure people are also susceptible to goober-it is.  These goobers cover their insecurities with arrogance.  One goober at the conference claimed that, “If it happens on the computer, I’ll have nothing to do with it!”  Goobers believe computers are just a “fad.”

Another insecure goober insisted that pertinent information was not provided her before the conference.  In actuality, all the information was available to her, she simply did not think to, or did not know how to, retrieve it.  Of course, goobers blame others for their mistakes, so this was to be expected.

Having goobers at these kinds of conferences is very frustrating.  The disrespect these goobers display is crushing.  As a conference organizer, I am embarrassed when a speaker sees how these goobers behave.  I’m angry that the money spent on the conference and the time, energy and sleepless nights I gave to organize the conference is of such little value.

It is easy for someone in my position to let the goobers get me down; I have to try hard to remember that there are more non-goobers in the world than there are goobers.  While goober-itis is not rare at all, most people have only a mild case; it comes and goes like a virus outbreak.  Great Goobers ™ are rare, though you have some in every bunch.  Though goobers are loud and take the most time and attention, non-goobers are more prevalent.  Hopefully the non-goobers at the conference found the event educational.

The Universe Listens....Sometimes Too Well

Just recently, the doctor found a couple of cysts on Jon's chest.  After having a mammogram and seeing a specialist, Jon found out that one lump was "nothing."  The other was a sebaceous cyst.  The specialist said he might as well remove it because "these things always get infected."

Just prior to the discovery of Jon's cysts, I had discovered a lump on my chest as well, in my cleavage.  I showed it to my doctor, who said, "It's probably just a sebaceous cyst.  It won't hurt anything."

So, when the specialist told Jon he should have his removed, I wondered aloud if we were getting the "car mechanic" syndrome.  As in, "might as well take it out so I can charge the patient a little money."

Well, the universe heard me and gave me an answer.  Apparently, the answer is "No, stupid, he wasn't yanking your chain."

Since Thursday I've been battling a nasty cold--snot waterfall, sleeping all the time, chill/heat cycles, the works.  In addition, my cyst has grown about 10 times bigger and has become swollen, discolored, and painful.

So today I see the doctor, hopefully, to see what should be done.  Wikipedia mentions surgery or application of a heating pad for 15 minutes a day for a couple of weeks to make the cyst "melt" and be reabsorbed into the body.  I am neither vain nor do I routinely display my cleavage, but the thought of having a scar "right there" bothers me.  So maybe I'll try the heating pad thing.

Thank you, Universe, once again, for providing a quick but sucky answer.



Writer's Block: Happy, happy, joy, joy

Which song makes you happy every time you hear it, and why?

Anything by the Monkees.  I don't know, they just do.

Writer's Block: Circle the date

What's your favorite holiday, and why? Are there any holidays you dislike?

Halloween of course.  It's a no-obligation holiday of fun!  I probably dislike Easter the most.  Not because of the religious overtones, but simply because it's the opposite of Halloween -- a celebration of all things cutsie.

2010 Book Report

2010 is done, and it’s time for my yearly book report! It was a good year for reading, though once again I failed to meet my goal of 100 books. This time, I fell short by a lot, having read only 74. But, if you count my audios, I’m ahead.

I found some good authors and series this year that were new to me. I highly recommend all of these:

  • Seanan McGuire’s October Day series. Fae in the world but not out of the closet; Day is an investigator into Fae crimes.
  • Thomas Sniegoski’s Remy Chandler series. If you like the TV show Supernatural, you’ll like this series. Remy is a “recovering” angel and Heaven is really screwed up.
  • Leanna Renee Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful series.  Victorian good-vs-evil, friends-‘til-the-end, love story. It really is beautifully written.
  • Mark Del Franco’s Connor Grey and Laura Blackstone series. Serieses. Whatever. Fae in the world AND out of the closet. They’re a political power. Both series share the same world, but no cross-overs yet. Both investigation stories. VERY good. Low on the sex quotient, high on the old-fashion PI drama, political intrigue, species tolerance issues, and just a bit of the “crisis of faith” story line.
  • Laura Bickle’s Anya Kalinczyk series. Great use of elemental magic – with a gift for fire, Anya is an arson investigator. Plus, she has a cuddly salamander that every girl will love. Wish there was news of the next one.
  • Jennifer Estep’s Gin Blanco series. Very well written, for the most part. A little more sex than some of the other series listed here, usually one scene per book and a lot of mental drooling, but the action is great. Gin is a “retired” hitman with some interesting mysteries in her past.
  • Allyson James’ Stormwalker series. Again, a little more sex, but good story.

I also want to keep an eye on Kelly Gay’s Charlie Madigan series and Sonya Bateman’s Gavyn Donatti series. First book in both of these were really good, but with only one book read, I don’t feel completely invested yet.

In Audios, I started listening to Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series. I had read the first book a while ago and, though I liked it, I didn’t pursue the rest of the series. They became available in audio so I thought I’d give them another try. I like them a lot! I think I’m going to keep going with them in audio, but if they weren’t available in audio, I would finish the series in book form. May have to buy both audio and ebook just on principle. Jinn and people who can control the weather, fire, and earth elements. Very good series.

A couple of my favorite series ended this year. We saw the last of Jenna Black’s Morgan Kingsley series and Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series. I’m sad to see both of them go as I really enjoyed them.

Jeanne C. Stein, Faith Hunter, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Kelly Armstrong, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Lori Handeland, Devon Monk, and Carrie Vaughn continue to remain favorites. I’m already stalking their next offerings as closely as I can.

The publishers still haven’t altered their book-selling model for ebooks yet, so I continue to pay full-print-book-price for a Kindle book, which I think is a total rip. I am trying to limit my purchases to the 7.99 price max. BUT, for some of the big-names, like Butcher, Harris, Harrison, and Briggs, the pain of waiting is greater than the need to be principled, so I’ve paid and probably will pay more for their books. But as a known quantity, I’ll live with it for now. I’m more careful about the price I pay for new authors since I don’t know if I’ll like them. I really hope the model changes soon as there is NO reason to market ebooks at the same price as print books unless the author is getting more money.

I have bought quite a few books by new authors this year that I haven’t yet had a chance to read. In fact, in the year and a half I’ve had my Kindle, I’ve collected (paid or free) over 600 books. Considering I can’t get through 100 in a year, I don’t HAVE to buy another book for a while. I might try to buy only known authors and favorite series for a while and not invest in any new authors until I’ve caught up on the ones I’ve already bought. But, as a book junkie, we’ll see how that goes.

For 2011, my goal remains 100 books, not counting audio. I “collected” some really great authors and stories in 2010; I’m hoping 2011 is as pleasurable.


2010 Book ListCollapse )



Mimi and other happenings

Hi!  I have been so remiss in my journal writing! There’s actually been a lot happening, so there is a lot to catch up on.


First of all, we adopted another dog, Mimi. Mimi came from a shelter in Ottumwa, Iowa. She’s a Yorkie Chihuahua mix. I decided we needed another dog because Mouse needed a friend. She has so much energy that often Jon and I weren’t enough as playmates. Mouse really loved daycare with small dogs and she got very attached to a little dog here in our townhome complex. So with that in mind, I went looking for a dog that was about Mouse’s age and size with whom she might bond.

Dogs were pretty scarce in Des Moines at the time, especially small dogs. I did a lot of searching on Petfinder. I had seen Mimi’s picture on Petfinder when I first started searching, but she was in a shelter with her sister, and assuming any decent person would adopt them together, I passed her over thinking I couldn’t take on two more dogs. Later I saw that the sister was gone but Mimi was left. So I called the shelter, which was in Ottumwa, and made an appointment to come see her.

The shelter in Ottumwa must not have enough population to support frequent adoptions because there were about a hundred dogs and over a hundred cats in the shelter at the time. Puppies were just born the day we visited, and the lady who helped us said she would probably send the puppies to another shelter out of state to be adopted. She also said most of her adopters come from out of town. They are a no-kill shelter which is great, but it was sad to see how many animals were there compared to Des Moines.

Mimi was one of four dogs brought in by a family who were moving to California, the shelter said. She had been in the shelter two months when we got her. Mimi’s sister was adopted, but Mimi was left behind. The shelter workers noted that Mimi was protective of her sister when strangers were around, and so appeared aggressive to some prospective adopters. When we went to visit her, she was the very definition of timid; she ran into a corner and hid, ears flat against her head, and pooped in the corner. I felt so bad at how afraid she was. When we picked her up, she didn’t struggle, but held her head and body as far away from us as she could get and wouldn’t look at us at all. She had no interest in Mouse at the time and Mouse didn’t really seem that interested in her, either.

Despite all that, I was ready to take her home. Maybe it was sympathy for her plight, maybe it was just because she was exactly what we were looking for as far as age and size, I don’t know. She’s two months older than Mouse and just a tiny bit smaller. They’re both Yorkie mixes, both females. Mimi had had a sister, and so was used to another dog’s company. I just had to trust that it would all work out.

On the ride home, I sat in the back of the car and held Mimi the whole trip. We were in the car about three hours, and by the time we were close to home, she was starting to relax and even licked my nose. She was showing a little curiosity in Mouse, too, who was sitting on the seat next to me. By the time we got home and got her in the house, she seemed ecstatic.  She jumped around the house, starting playing with Mouse and the toys, and frequently came to me for a pet or a cuddle. The difference in just a couple of hours was amazing.

Mimi and Mouse didn’t struggle too much to get along. Mimi will be 2 years old in June, Mouse in August, so they’re still puppies, really. They get along pretty well, but there is still some vying for Mommy’s attention. Somehow, Mimi became the dominate dog, which I didn’t expect. She just takes what she wants, though, and Mouse hangs back to see what Mimi’s going to do.

Mimi’s been a bit more of a challenge than Mouse was. Mouse is so whip-smart. She was mostly house broken when we got her, she communicates with us pretty well. Like every highly-intelligent child, she’s precocious, but nothing we can’t handle.

Mimi, on the other hand, is …blonde. We compare her to the character Brittney on Glee. She’s just not the brightest bulb in the box, ya know? I don’t think her previous family did much with her. She didn’t know anything but her name, not sit or stay or lay down or anything. She wasn’t housebroken at all, so there have been LOT of accidents. She doesn’t have a clue how to tell us she needs to go out; she just finds a spot and goes. She even as accidents in the house right AFTER she’s been outside, so even that isn’t clicking. She’s kinda gross, too. If she poos in the house and we don’t catch it fast enough, she’ll start to eat it. And I finally understand the issue with dog anal glands! Mouse doesn’t seem to have that issue.

She can learn; we’ve got Sit mostly figured out, especially when a treat is involved. And she’ll love you to death. She is a sloppy kisser and loves to kiss on the mouth. And up the nose, for some reason. I swear I’ve had a couple brain massages from her tongue. She’s adorable, just a little … dimmer than Mouse. She is protective, too. She’s pretty stranger-phobic. She won’t attack unless she’s startled or really threatened, but she barks like crazy when someone comes over or we meet someone outside.

We’re getting along, though, and I think she’s getting a little better. We tried her in the large kennel with Mouse and in a smaller kennel, but she peed and pooped in both of them. So now she’s in a small carrier kennel. She doesn’t mess that kennel unless she’s just been in there too long and can’t hold it. We put a piddle pad right outside the kennel, and when she gets out, if she can’t hold it, she can pee right there. We hold her over it a bit until we know she’s done. She seems to have gotten the message that piddle pads are okay to pee on because we put one in the living room, too, and about 50% of the time, she goes there. For the rest of the time, we invested in a Bissell Spot Bot Pet and it seems to be working pretty well. I just have to wonder if she never had to hold it and so never developed the muscle control. Accidents are fewer now, at least. She still doesn’t tell us she needs to go out, though. We have to keep working on that.

She and Mouse seem to enjoy each other, when they’re not doing the typical sibling rivalry, that is. We have to be conscious of giving Mouse a little more lovin’ since Mimi dominates, but all in all, I think it’s good. The next battle will be to figure out how to get them exercise over the winter. They HATE the snow!

In other news, I changed jobs at work. Instead of working in the IT department, I now work in the Education and Training department. I’m still straddling the fence a bit with IT training, but I’m also working on some Organizational Development projects as well as things like Management Training, New Employee Orientation, and the like. I like IT training, but it’s nice to get into some of the more “academic” things too. Stretches my brain a bit and it really is stuff about which I’m passionate. I moved offices, and even decorated my office, which is rare. There is still a chance that I might get laid off in the coming fiscal year; the new/old governor is calling for MORE budget cuts. So we’ll see where that will go.

I have been horrible about getting my Christmas Crafts done. I can’t even muster enough energy to get the few Christmas cards I do have made addressed and out. Of course, I discovered yesterday that I have bronchitis, which might play into some of it, but it’s been this way for a while. I’ve wondered if maybe I’ve burnt myself out on the hobby and just need to sell stuff off and call it quits. We’ll see. eBaying stuff is a whole new hassle of its own that I just hate dealing with. And the last time I worked with a consignment shop, the guy was an idiot.

Jon and I are struggling a bit. I hope it’s just a low point in the relationship. He’s not fond of the work that comes with the dogs and we don’t seem to do much together other than sit next to each other in the living room and watch TiVo on occasion. We both can be so fricken worn out or worn down from work and we’re both introverts, so turn inward to regenerate energy. We also don’t handle conflict in the same way. I read a book once that theorized that if two people deal with conflict in similar ways, their chances of having a successful relationship go way up. If that’s true, we have a lot of work to do because we’re nearly opposite in that regard.

I think those are the highlights. I’m sure this post is long enough, but I did want to get caught up, especially about Mimi. I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season!

Picture Tray for Mouse

Today's goal has been accomplished!  Here's my crafting project for the day:


A Crafting Project...Finally!

I haven't been crafting much for a while, but I did do a project over the weekend.  It uses the Sizzix french fry box template.  I decorated a little welcome box for two new employees at work.  This isn't a great pic as I took it with my phone, but you'll get the idea.


Stampin’ Up! has tempted me back into the fold, so assuming my paperwork was received on time, I am once again an SU demonstrator. They had a special “rejoining” special during the month of July, so I got back in for only a fraction of the normal cost. 

But what REALLY hooked me was the Halloween stuff coming out in the new Holiday Mini. It’s MAGNIFICENT! Very Edgar-Allen-Poe-ish. I can’t WAIT to get my hands on it. They have several Halloween vinyl pieces, too. I have to figure out SOMETHING to do with those. It’s a real bonanza year for Halloween at SU.

This year, SU did a massive reworking of their color schemes. So over the weekend I have reorganized my ink, markers, and paper to reflect that. About half of my collection of ink and cardstock is now retired. I have been trying to decide if I’m going to get rid of what’s retiring or keep it. I’ve gone back and forth on that decision, first thinking that I might as well keep it and use up what I have rather than buying anything new. Spending too much money on stamping supplies is why I got out of SU in the first place.

The reason I would get rid of it is NOT that it’s retired: heaven knows that what I bought through SU was never for “business” reasons. Rather, I’m considering getting rid of it simply because I have more cardstock and other supplies than one could ever use in a lifetime. It would be good to simplify and free up space. If I don’t feel so overwhelmed by my stuff, maybe I’ll use it more. A friend and former co-worker runs an after-school art program for kids, so if I get rid of some stuff, I will probably give it to her.

The question then becomes how much more to buy. I don’t know how long I’ll stay in SU this time; it’s hard to justify spending $150 a quarter on supplies when I don’t have a lot of time to play with them. That’s how I built up the massive collection I have now. There are roughly 5 or 6 brand new colors that I don’t have and 5 In Colors – temporary colors in the collection. I’m trying to decide if I should even bother buying those as I KNOW I can’t use them up very quickly.

Right now I’m leaning toward getting the core colors I don’t have but not getting the In Colors. I have In Color paper and ink I’ve bought in previous years that are still in their wrapper!

I went out with Jon’s niece, Sarah, today. We share a birthday, so we usually go out together to celebrate. We didn’t get to do it around our birthday, so we had a belated celebration today. We went to Olive Garden for lunch (she had never been), then to Barnes & Noble to find a book, then to get pedicures for both of us. With wet toenails, we came back to my place to see Mouse and play carnival games on the Wii before I had to take her home. It was a lot of fun.

Mouse was very strange with Sarah, though. She’s been around Sarah before with no problems, but today she acted jealous. She might have been; I’ve been playing in my craft room all weekend rather than cuddling and playing with her as I normally do on weekends. When I was home, I was paying more attention to this little blonde girl than to her. I held Mouse for a while during Sarah’s visit, and then spent a lot of close time with her after taking Sarah home. Hopefully she’s feeling better.

Speaking of Mouse, I’ve started taking her to a different day care. There is a doggie day care very near where I work that has come highly recommended from many sources. They separate big dogs and little dogs. Each group has their own indoor and outdoor play areas. The little dogs have a doggie door to the yard so they can come and go as they wish. They get access to water all day, are never kenneled, and get lots of treats and attention. She seems happier there than at the first one we tried which is dominated by big dogs, and I’ve heard so many good things about this day care that I can’t help but feel good about here being there.

We’re going to board Mouse there when Jon and I go to Virginia next month. When you board dogs with them for more than a night, they take the dogs out to their acreage in the country. I guess they’ve turned it into a doggie resort so she’ll spend a lot of time socializing and playing and NOT being cooped up in a cage.

Jon and I are going to Virginia to visit my friend Anthony. While we’re there, we may also see my friend, Cresta. We’re hoping to visit Baltimore and DC when we’re there. The boys are picking the tourist destinations.

I finished up the second book in Mark Del Franco’s Laura Blackstone series, Face Off. It was very good. I am enjoying that series immensely. I have the first book in his Connor Grey series, but I haven’t read it yet. I just started a new series by Caitlin Kittredge that starts with Street Magic.  It’s very good, though takes some getting used to when you first start reading. Caitlin is a British author, so first-time American readers have to adjust to not only a new author’s writing style but British slang and culture. If you’ve never been exposed to British slang, keep Wikipedia and handy and remember a “fag” is a cigarette, a “loo” is a bathroom, and “Parliament” is, among other things, a brand of smokes. BBC fans should have no problems.

Have a great week!


Ratless, and other thoughts

We are ratless for the first time in five years.  On Friday, we had Kirby put down.  His breathing had become incredibly labored, he had lost way too much weight, and he wasn't moving or eating his favorite treats for about a week.  He rallied some on Thursday night, making the decision harder, but the vet concurred that he was in his final days and we could save him some pain.

We adopted Kirby from the ARL knowing that he was probably damaged for life.  Unlike Max, who was likely neglected but came to enjoy human contact, Kirby was more likely abused and never became socialized.  We can but hope he felt safe in his new life, enjoyed his home and his treats, and understood that we cared for him.

Though we are ratless, we are not petless.  Mouse is a constant delight, frustration, and source of amusement and wonder.  She does a heart good. :)

We were supposed to go to Cedar Rapids on Friday to see Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse books (the inspiration for the HBO show True Blood) and Johanna Parker, the narrator of the audio books.  Though it would have been a lot fun, we chose to stay home because of the three storm systems that were moving their way across the state.  The first brought us tornado touch-downs, and since we had to return that evening, probably late, we figured it was safer not to go. 

Additionally, it sounded as if the event was going to be packed, and in order to sit INSIDE the building, we probably would have had to go over early and stand in line all day.  I didn't really relish standing outside in the humid heat or pouring rain.  I'm not a famous person chaser anyway, and while it would have been fun to hear Harris and Parker speak, it seemed more enjoyable to be in the comfort of my home reading or listening to one of the books. :)

I only hope they were safe and enjoyed the event, and that all the people that attended, especially those coming from a distance, were safe as well.  "Hello, Ms. Harris.  Welcome to Iowa.  Here is our basement tornado shelter..."  Welcome to Iowa in the Spring.

It's Father's Day.  Sadly, it took me completely by surprise.  I think I'll be going to Cherokee next weekend to hang out with Grandpa.  And I'm taking Mouse with me, dang it.

Hope you had a happy and safe weekend as well!



Latest Month

June 2011

2010 Books


24. Land of Painted Caves; Jean M. Auel (squeeee!)
23. The Better Part of Darkness; Kelly Gay
22. Iron Crowned; Richelle Mead
21. First Grave on the Right; Darynda Jones
20. Pack of Lies; Laura Anne Gilman
19. A Hundred Words for Hate; Thomas E. Sneigoski
18. Legends 13; Bryan Lindenberger
17. Late Eclipses; Seanan Mcguire
16. River Marked; Patricia Briggs
15. This Side of the Grave; Jeaniene Frost
14. Pale Demon; Kim Harrison
13. Dead to Me; Anton Strout
12. Game of Cages; Harry Connoly
11. Bloodshot; Cherie Priest
10. Taken By The Others; Jess Haines
9. Double Cross; Carolyn Crane
8. Mind Games; Carolyn Crane
7. Hunted by the Others; Jess Haines
6. Afterlight; Elle Jasper
5. Black Wings; Christina Henry
4. Grave Witch; Kaylana Price
3. Queen of Shadows; Diane Sylvan
2. Mercy Blade; Faith Hunter
1. Child of Fire; Harry Connoly


2. Windfall; Rachel Caine
1. Chill Factor; Rachel Caine


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