Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Quick Job Update

I spoke to my old boss this morning. He definitely wants to hire me back, but it's a matter of IF they are hiring. So could be as soon as a month, could be as long as a year. So that's obstacle one. Obstacle two, of course, is the salary. I calculated it up in detail last night and know what I would need, provided I teach four classes a year. It is only slightly more than the salary of when I left, so maybe that is not too unreasonable or unfair. Hope not anyway.....

Of Cats, Poop, and Pills

There's two types of people when it comes to pets: those that get what it means to treat a pet and love it like a human family member and those that don't. Of course, I am in the former category, so for the sake of those who may read this that fall into the latter, take down that stone wall around your heart. =P

Scamper is going on 17 years old. For a few years now, we've been dealing with chronic colitis, which basically boils down to, he doesn't poop right (aka diarrhea). The treatment included a broad sweep of many different foods, including extremely expensive prescription brands. It ended up at a steroid pill called Prednisone. It did not cure the problem, but it did enable him to make it to the litter box and maintain a good quality of life. So that went on for a while; I'd take him for 6-month check ups and we'd continue the meds. Then a new med came out recently called Tylosin. It only comes in injectable or powder form. It worked wonders on another pet he treated, so he prescribed it for Scamper, who was having increasing number of accidents on the floor. (I bought a 2nd litter box to help.)

I was instructed to give him a tenth of an eighth of a teaspoon. "Say again, please?" Um, yeah. That's impossible, so I grabbed a balance from my chemistry lab and measured the amount out. I tried to give it in milk, peanut butter, and just straight up dumping it in his mouth. I felt miserable about it. Finally, a colleague at school said that she was also giving Tylosin (and btw, it was working) and had filled gelatin capsules with it to give to her pet. So I tried that. Much more successful, though Scamper has figured out how to push the capsule out. So we get angry with each other THREE TIMES A DAY while I firmly hold his mouth closed until he swallows. IF he swallows. He works it out quite a bit, so now the capsule is sticky, making it even harder to give. I've almost cried in frustration several times. I just want him to feel better, but all he understands is that I'm forcing something down his throat against his will.

After two weeks of this, I finally stopped and decided I was going back to the other med. Unfortunately, Scamper developed the drippies the day I stopped. So I filled up a bunch more capsules and started again on a twice a day regime. Talked to the vet this morning, telling him that the Tylosin seemed to have changed the quantity and color of his poopy, but that it is still not solid. It also appears his bottom is irritated. So the vet recommended we do both pills for 10 days. Holy crap. I'm so upset at having to put him through this as it is, and now I have to give him TWO pills twice a day each. In the meantime, I'm also going crazy to the point of tears with all the accidents on the floor.

I know this is not curable; I'm happy if his quality of life is good and if he does his business in the litter box. But I'm not certain about the first now; the second definitely isn't happening all the time. I don't know what to do, and since you are probably thinking it, *THAT* is not an option. I'm not strong enough to make that decision. (The following statement is one of those that refer to one of two types of people.) Scamper has in many ways been my anchor. Having gotten him in middle school shortly after I stopped seeing my dad, he has been a unmatched companion. He greets me when I come home, he provides comfort at night when he sleeps with me, and he keeps any loneliness at bay when I'm at home. Why does loving something (or someone) have to hurt so much sometimes???

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McCain's Never-ending War

Just a political blog post real quick. Skip it, if you want.

Let me ask you, what are the most important agendas to you this coming election? For me, it is the economy and our foreign policy. To speak to the latter, it has been reported that a majority of the American people want out of Iraq. And in a democracy, our elected officials are supposed to represent what we want. This week, Senator Obama met with the Iraqi Prime Minister, who endorses Obama's plan for reorganizing our forces to where they should have been in the first place--Afghanistan. Senator McCain has stated in an interview he supports no such withdrawal and disagrees with the American people (and apparently Iraq's own PM, who supports withdrawal). See for yourself:

We can talk economy next time. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I woke up this morning a little more questioning about whether I would be okay with going back to two jobs. The problem is, I really don't know unless I do it, but if I do it, I can't back out of it. But my wonder of going back being possible was no less quenched when I found out this morning that the defendant got 145 years in prison. That's 40 years until parole eligibility. The prosecutor had also offered a plea deal for 10 years which was not accepted. That's pretty much BY FAR the biggest sentence many in the section have seen. So although yesterday was an irritation, today I view it with intrigue. I'm afraid that no matter how much I tried not to get my hopes up, I will be disappointed if it doesn't happen. I would say the odds are it won't...I did ask for more than the starting + experience salary would be for a new hire. And if they say no or offer less, it's a no go. Just can't do it. We'll see.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Interesting and Irritable Day

At long last, having been gone from the crime lab for 13 months, I was finally called to court with no way out of it. My old boss, an awesome guy, would talk to prosecutors and get me out if a defendant didn't plea. Not this time. I slowly got ready this morning, hoping that I would get the call from the prosecutor's office that the defendant took a last minute plea, but no luck. Went up to the crime lab to pick up the case file, said hey to some old friends/co-workers, etc. I really do miss some of those people. I miss the work too. Not that I don't like what I'm doing now; it's fine. But I would probably have to give the edge to being a forensic chemist. Things are looking better for chemists these days, it seems. The state pay grade for them is going up, the legislature gave the lab more money for working hard on the backlog, and merit raises are being introduced.

I made a light-hearted comment that if they could pay me a certain amount (a little more than what I was making when I left), I could come back and still be able to pay my bills. I'd keep teaching, though, since I'm mainly doing online courses now (which also mean less time at school after work). Just wouldn't be the director anymore. I liked it well enough when I was doing both before. I think I could easily teach 5 classes a year, which combined with what I said I'd need from them, would move me laterally, thus maintaining my current living standards.

Okay so by now maybe you sense that it's more than just an off-the-cuff conversation. He said he'd look into it because they need to hire. Not trying to get my hopes up; it was a higher number than they start out. But I'm not gonna lie...I really enjoyed working in forensics. What drove me away were some coworker issues and the politics of being in a government job. Having been a supervisor for a year now--not to mention my own personal growth in the past year--I must say that some things that could get under my skin and make me have a bad day are just now what I would call "non-essentials." Not worth getting worked up about. The politics of moving up....well, I see my old boss doing it and I feel like, if given the opportunity again, I could follow in his footsteps. I could easily see him moving up and me filling what he just vacated.

As I drove to and from court today, my thoughts dwelled a little time (probably should have been more) on the way God directs the career aspect of our lives. On the one hand, God could want a person in a specific job. On the other, the case can be made for it not really mattering what you do, as long as you enjoy it and are His light in the workplace. I lean toward the latter; my job takes care of what I need. Why I'm here is for PPBC. I've said that over and over. So does it really matter which I do, if I'm happy, it takes care of my living, and I act in obedience by loving others in the workplace? Is there more to consider? I don't know. I wish I could say I am in a solid enough place to answer that, but I'm in one of those little droughts we all tend to have, so my "spiritual clarity" (if you will) is a little muddy.

Well, I don't want to make a big deal about this. Sure I would probably go back if he offered it and at what I need. (Cuz it's not a matter of want, but of can't.) But it was just a casual conversation that may amount to nothing, and I suppose I am good with that too. I have a good job and am blessed, and I'll do my best to follow God's lead wherever I go.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I think I may be having some kind of emotional crisis coming into being here, but I'm not quite sure yet. I can't quite pinpoint it. I had a short conversation that made me realize that in fact 90% of my friends are married and I have precious few people who I can just call up and hang out. Not saying I don't hang out with my married friends; it is just there is more structure to their lives. One has to check with the other and things like that. So what spontaneity I have, such as suddenly wanting to go do something or hang out, is largely squashed.

And as a result of this, I've largely tried to fill that time by hanging out with some of the teens from the student ministry. That's not bad either; I'm glad I can be around and provide a safe, positive environment for them. But the beginnings of my crisis evolved today when I made a light-hearted comment that resulted in a mini-lecture. One of those I've-kinda-been-thinking-this-and-needed-an-opportunity-to-gently-say-it moments. In the hours that followed, it occurred to me just how much time I really had been spending with them. Too much perhaps. I'm an adult and what I missed in my same-aged friends, I think I have started to try to make up for with some of the teens. And I don't think this is at all healthy for me. I mean I can be their friend, but there are different lines for different age groups. (As I read back over this, I'm suddenly struck with the story of a friend who perhaps dealt with the same issue. I'll have to speak to him.)

All afternoon I've kinda felt like that awkward adult guy that hangs around teens a little too much. And I know that's not what was meant. This is probably not something to publish on an online journal being quite personal in nature, but it is actually quite liberating emotionally. See, the reason I can't quite pinpoint this issue is because I think I may be facing something that I've never dreaded or cared about before...loneliness. I've always been pretty independent; it's never bothered me to go-it-alone. But over the last year (as described briefly in another post), I've kinda been changing that. And I think today is another result of that inner change.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Little Reminder

I got a nice little reminder from a friend yesterday that sometimes the best approach to tackling an issue is to let itself work out. I have to fight wanting to take control of situations in order to help them resolve. I don't like to see friends hurting, for example. It kept me up last night a bit. But today I realized my friend was right...sometimes, by doing something for someone, we can cripple their growth of handling situations on their own. My original conflict was from Sunday's message about being involved in people's lives. Not in a nosey way, but in an encouraging way. But then I realized (to use Allan's words) the people involved weren't 'drifting'. But if the situation continues for too long and it drags them down, I'm there to lend what support I can. So unless that happens, it is best to keep an eye on things from a distance and let the problem work out, thereby giving the people involved the chance to grow and learn from it.

Thanks, friend. You know who you are. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Little Geekiness to Pass the Time

Haven't posted in a while. Life has pretty much been a monotonous blur since I got back from Ohio. Every work day starts out with answering a dozen emails and voicemails from impatient students who can't seem to register for courses. They all have one thing in common: they all feel the need to tell me they "really really need to get into that class." I'm aware of that; you're call will be answered in the order it was received.

Well some pretty exciting things happened in Macworld yesterday. I updated iTunes, which now has the App Store for iPhone applications, first. Perusing the free section first, I pre-downloaded the Google app, remote control (controls iTunes from iPhone), a sports score app, a over-simplified to-do list app, a silly "flashlight" app (nothing more than a white screen; funny thing is, another developer actually charged for this and got reamed by reviewers), and a lightsaber sound effects app. :)

At various times in the day, I tried to access Apple's new online syncing service, MobileMe. If you've been around me the past couple weeks, you know I've been eagerly anticipating this. You probably know that my email change was in anticipation of this service. I got about a 15 minute glimpse of it before it crashed for a good 36 hours. Just for the heck of it, I tried to open it in Safari, rather than Firefox. And it worked! And that's still the situation as of this post. It's up using Safari but not Firefox. I went through and altered settings to meet my needs and browsed around. Couple of things to point out:

Calendar has no way to set an alert, like I can on my phone or iCal desktop application. Major boo! Hopefully to be remedied soon. Also, I have an activation key that I bought for cheap and plan on using when my trial period is over. But currently I see no way of entering it. They just want credit card info. Apparently, anything that says .Mac on my desktop and settings should now say MobileMe with the 10.5.4 update. Well, I have that update but everything still says .Mac. So I'm not sure how that is going to affect my pushing updates. I went ahead and turned everything on for syncing so we'll see how this goes. I fully expect it to be slow for a while. Man, have people on the Apple forums been irate over this. But the fact is, new roll-outs in technology will always have bugs, no matter what company it is from. Deal.

I also kept my phone docked and periodically clicked "Update" for it, but never got through. Rumor was there was a direct link and manual update method, but I'm not all about that. I'll take the update when I can get it through "official" methods. I happened to double click the button once and on the second click it oddly found the update and so I proceeded. Took about 20 minutes and I was posting live info on the forums and drew quite a following as the process did its thing. My apps were loaded and although settings were returned to default, I quickly got it back to the way I like it. Sometimes the touch response is a little sluggish, but not too worrisome. If you're an iPhone user, here's a little gem you may not know: hold the home button and press the power button to take a screenshot. :)

There were a couple of paid apps I'm keeping an eye on reviews for. But today as I waited for a haircut, I got a 4 1/2 star-rated game called Enigma. 3-D puzzle game and it is quite difficult. Well, I think I've spent enough time in front of this screen--most of it spent exploring MobileMe--so that's it for now.