Category Archives: weather

Lump Watch 2011

Which side?  Terri’s lump has gone down so much that I can barely find it! Hooray to Dr. Ofer! Pretty Good Dog celebrates by finding yet another dead, rotting carcase to roll in.  Ugh.

Fore! The rain has finally saturated the roof to the point where a big chunk of plaster fell off the ceiling of the stairwell, leaving a large diningroom-sized scar and showering the area with debris and rubble. Amir, my downstairs neighbor, helped me clean up. Yikes. More repairs to add to our list!

Miracles do happen: After being locked out of my mail box for almost two weeks, and wasting endless time calling the post office, I happened to be passing by when the post office car was pulling up to our mail box area.  Thirty seconds later, the guy had cheerfully comfirmed what I had suspected—namely, that the box had been locked from inside.  It was, as you can imagine, crammed full of mail.


Long Time No Blog

Let’s get this party year started! Well, 2011 is not shaping up to be much different from 2010, but most of us perpetually self-deluding types are still convinced that we can get in shape, lose weight, and do all those wonderful things (and stop doing all those bad things) that we meant to do at the start of last year.

But never fear. A new year offers a clean slate and a chance to clean out the closets, purge some emotional baggage, and get things in shape again.  For me, the year kicked off with a flurry of errands, paperwork, and other chores associated with being atzma’i (self-employed).

One of those chores was a lengthy confab with my printer, a lovely local guy who goes by the remarkable name Gantos Gantos. (What were his parents thinking?) Gantos is Christian Arab, but of a Coptic sect closer to Greek Orthodox, so he is a tiny minority inside a tiny minority.  He always starts our meetings with a small pot of Turkish coffee and a few pithy sayings. This week I got:

A woman must be able to totally trust two men in her life: her husband and her accountant.

I love it. Reminds me of what Baruch, my accountant, told me when I became self-employed:

אפשר לישון טוב או לאכול טוב
(You can sleep well or eat well.)

Being the straight-laced American, I choose to sleep well, which means that all my paperwork and tax stuff is immaculately above-board, and I make a lot less money. 😦

Soggy Doggy has a lump: Terri and I went to see the ever stoic Dr. Ofer, because I discovered a lump on my little darling. We are awaiting lab results. (Are they still Lab results even if you have a mixed breed terrier?)   Tonight’s rain had Terri digging in her heels and refusing to go outside; I actually had to carry her across the street before she gave up and plodded along, soggy and dejected.  Poor baby.  Meanwhile, here’s the girl with her monkey:
Terri laughs while cuddling her monkey.

Take the survey!  Please help me out. If you haven’t already taken my survey on computer usage, pul-eeeze do so! I need a ton of data within the next week. I need people from different age groups, backgrounds, locations, etc.  It will only take about ten minutes to do. Please feel free to pass the link on to everyone.

Bracing for Winter

Winter is here! A bit of rain teased us earlier in the week, but then it was back to sunny weather. But on Friday afternoon, the clouds rolled in and the heavy rain began at night.  We’ve had lovely thunder and lightening and rain most of the day.  Terri managed to get absolutely filthy on our walk (she not only got covered in mud, she also managed to roll in something decidedly dead and stinky).  Two baths later, she still pongs something dreadful.  Maybe it is time to get some tomato juice and try that old remedy.

Take the shoe survey, please! Ladies, I need your help.  Please take this very short survey as I (quite unscientifically) attempt to chart some basic data about western women and our love of shoes.  Please help!   

You Can’t Say That in Korean!

Blind editing, anyone?  Every once in a while, a client needs you to tackle a project that is completely off the wall. This is a great client and I’m not too proud to do annoying grunt work, so I spent a wild few weeks editing books (FrameMaker source) in 18 different languages.  Don’t worry, I wasn’t trying to rewrite anything in languages I don’t understand, but I did have to find and remove a few things, fix references to GUI elements that had changed, etc. When the Korean version got completely corrupted and all the fonts turned into question marks, I spent a nerve-wracking day updating tags to the correct fonts.  Product manager across the hall said, “I like it when you are here, because I learn so many new swear words in English!”  Yup.  Nothing like having FrameMaker crash after a sweaty, hair-raising edit session, to make you really stretch your naughty vocabulary.   

More attack cats: Terri and I had two more run-ins with feral kitties this week. One we managed to get past (although Terri got scratched), but the other was so completely psycho that we turned around and made a huge detour to avoid it.  It is astonishing that a little thing like that, probably barely three kilos, could hold off a dog and an adult human.  Scary kitty!  There was no way to assure her that we weren’t going to harm her kittens.

Hot, hot, hot: The heat wave of last week finally broke, but it is still hot and abnormally humid.  If you turn the AC off, the room instantly turns into a sauna.  The heat has also brought out the bugs, so each morning I have to look around the house for all the various gate-crashers who showed up during the night.  So far, we’ve had a few giant spiders (don’t ask me what kind), a scorpion, two lizards, and several giant mutant cockroaches.  Terri has been pretty useless at patrolling the apartment for these critters, but after our run-in with the scorpion, I decided that was a good thing!

Gorilla Love

Going ape at WritersUA: The conference is small but juicy; lots of interaction in my sessions and lots of good geeky topics. (Wish I could say that all presenters were brilliant, but there have already been a few yawners.) To my surprise, there were 27 people registered for my preconference halfday workshop on writing effecting Help procedures. My main conference session, Cultural Dimensions of software Help Usage, pulled a decent crowd and the gorilla was a hit. (I showed Harvard’s “gorilla on the court” experiment to illustrate the phenomenon of inattentional blindness.)

The weather in Seattle has become slightly more normal for this time of year. However, last Saturday was unbelievably warm and sunny. I took advantage of the day to walk along Alki with my dad. We came across this amazing racing Shelby with a stainless steel body:

To get an idea of how unseasonably warm it has been, check out this ornamental cherry:

Where’s Winter?

Hot again! Well, our winter cold spell sure didn’t last long. While much of Europe and the US’s eastern seaboard are still shrouded in snow and ice, we’re basking in very warm spring temps. We’ve gone from space heaters to fans in two days. 

The warm weather means that the jackals have been ousted from the park; the loud teenagers are back. (I prefer the jackals…) The hedgehogs are out at night, en force,  as they rummage for grubs. Terri adores them. She barks happily and pounces back and forth. The hedgehogs always tuck their heads in (we often can’t tell one end from the other), vibrate angrily, hiss, and shake their quills at her.  The other night, Terri was so joyous at the sight of the first spring hedgehog that she peed on it.

The hedgehog was probably annoyed, but no real harm done. Unfortunately, these sea lions near Seattle didn’t do so well.

Weather Watch

Sunny but cold: I’m so bundled up on last night’s walk that I can barely waddle.  Terri, who refuses to wear anything on her walks, seems quite happy to stand in the icy wind and delicately sniff the shrubbery.  We overtake a group of Russians who are strolling along with no hats, scarves, or gloves.  I suppose that if you grew up in Siberia, this must seem laughably balmy. And compared to the mid-Atlantic blizzard, we are enjoying pleasantly mild weather.

I am amazed at the number of photos showing people standing in the snow, sans hats or gloves. Even when I was young, I got miserably cold in my hands.  Best picture, IMO, goes to Casey Connelly who submitted this snow-encrusted Shnauzer.  I wonder what Terri would do…