Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kitties help with floor project

What's up with all this???


Boy, ripping up carpets is fun!!!
I like to eat it and hide underneath it.

But the whole thing is VERY exhausting...

The floor project



So in addition to starting a new job less than a week ago, we are also having new floors installed. The guys are coming tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. to start. In order to get ready, Albie and I had to rip out all the ugly, green wall-to-wall carpet and the foam underneath. To be nice, we also pulled up all the little pieces of nail-strips that held the carpet in place.

The floor guys will tear up the particle board, which will just crumble since it consists of glued-together sawdust. I am hoping to be out of the house when they start and will probably just have a glimpse of their progress before I pass out for the night.

The good news is that in 3-4 days, we will have brand new hardwood floors. Bye, bye ugly carpet! We won't miss you a bit!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ch-ch-changes

So, I got a new job. In fact, I started this week (Tuesday).

It all happened very quickly. Because it's within the same company, I guess it's considered a promotion and I didn't have to give 2 weeks' notice. It's going to mean a lot more work - at least for the next month or so - but also a little more money. Which hopefully will make it worthwhile.

More details will follow as soon as I'm able to get some rest - the past couple of weeks have been immensely stressful. Let's just put it this way, the woman who was in my office before me either had the world's worst hangnails or didn't spend much time working - while cleaning out her desk, I've already found three emery boards (nail files).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The mystery at Yale University

Annie Le was supposed to get married Sunday. She had meticulously planned her wedding, and she was looking forward to becoming Mrs. Jonathan Widawsky, friends say.

Last Tuesday, she entered her lab at Yale University. She never came out again.

The day of her wedding, forensic officials announced they had found the body of a girl who matched Le's description. It was found inside a wall, in a chase on the basement level.

For days, I kept hoping this would just be a case of cold feet. Perhaps Annie Le had changed her mind, I thought. Maybe she wore a disguise and slipped out of the building unnoticed by the security cameras. She could have just wanted to get away from it all for a little while. But why leave her purse, her keys, her ID and her cell phone behind?

When officials on Saturday found bloody clothes tucked away above the ceiling tiles in the laboratory building in New Haven, I knew she couldn't possibly be alive. Despite saying later that the clothes were no Le's, it was impossible not to think of what probably happened in that building that caused someone to stash away evidence.

The suspect, identified as a lab worker with defensive wounds on his body when first interviewed, is expected to be arrested Tuesday. We all want to know who it is and what happened. But of course, the more pressing question is why. Why was a 24-year-old, friendly, pretty girl slain five days before her wedding? Why did she have to die?

Perhaps we'll never know the whole story. But hopefully at least the family will know why their daughter and future wife was taken away too soon. It won't make it any easier to deal with the loss, but at least they will know she didn't willingly abandon this world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The luxury of making toast

Toast was a luxury at my house when I was growing up. We had a very old toaster that needed a big adapter to be plugged in, and both the toaster and the adapter were stowed away in a hallway closet.

It took several days of begging before my grandmother would go upstairs to try to find the darn thing – we only ended up using it a couple of times a year.

I thought of this today as I slipped a couple of pieces of potato bread from the freezer to the toaster as an evening snack. We use the toaster often, and we always keep it on the counter.

“How convenient,” I thought to myself after the bread popped up a couple of minutes later. Then I remembered what it used to be like (with my grandma's old toaster we had to keep checking on the bread and manually pull it up when it was ready).

I wonder how other people look at the world, people who grew up with toasters and Nintendo and VCRs. Or the kids today, who all have computers in their homes and their own cell phone before they turn 12.

They don’t have to be responsible – someone can always track them down. They don’t have to learn new things or be creative – someone else will do it for them if they just wait long enough.

Perhaps I’m being overly cynical – and I’m starting to feel like an old lady here talking about “the good old days” – but so many teens today have no idea and can’t even imagine what life was like with less technology. What will become of these children? Do we even dare to imagine?

REPOST: Remembering Ground Zero

I'm posting a link to a previous entry titled "Remembering Ground Zero" in honor of the 8th anniversary of 9/11/01 today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wait - America isn't the greatest country?

I came across this column today by a friend of mine from Massachusetts who is currently teaching English in Malaysia. It touches on how Americans are taught from an early age that their country is the best in the world, the "land of opportunity," and that some Americans may need a reality check in that regard.

Obama's speech to students

President Barack Obama on Tuesday spoke to school-age children across the nation. His speech was about encouraging kids to work hard and to stay in school.

But for some reason, it all turned political - not the speech, just the reactions to it. Parents were in an uproar over the president trying to instill Communist propaganda, and some school districts chose not to show the speech at all. Others made the speech available afterward, or came up with alternative activities for the children whose parents wouldn't let them see it.

Perhaps it hasn't been understood in the rest of the world, but America is being very tough on its new president. Of course, Obama entered office at a very tough time - thousands of soldiers shipped off to various countries, the U.S. dollar is worth less than it ever has and people are losing their homes and jobs on a daily basis. The mood is negative, pessimistic. The hope the new president instilled during his election campaign seems to have fizzled out amongst the people.

Of course, Republicans have always been loud-mouths. Perhaps they are just bored. They constantly complain that Obama hasn't produced any miracles yet - some even call for his removal from office, and he hasn't even served for a year!

To me, the best part about Obama is that even though he is a Democrat, he is willing to see things from all angles. During a graduation speech in May or June, he brought up the topic of abortion. This was at a Catholic school, and some were very scared of what he would say. His thought? People can be for it or against it, but there are ways we can all come together to help make sure nobody has to make that decision in the first place. Nobody really WANTS to have an abortion, so let's get to the bottom of the problem instead of arguing over the Band-Aid solution.

It amazes me that parents could be so stupid that they actually keep their kids out of school because they think the president may brainwash them with his words. The good news, though, is that at least their kids may actually listen. That's at least something.

But I hate to think of the brainwashing that goes on in those children's homes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tennis today

Albie and I headed out to the tennis courts today. It was the first time I've played in probably two years, and the very first time Albie and I played each other.

We didn't end up playing a real game - just hit the ball back and forth (and into the net). Lots of running... It is finally starting to get cooler outside again so we can enjoy some activities. Plus, I've been dying to play since before the surgery when Albie got our Wii game and we played video game tennis all the time.

Of course, the surgery slowed me down for a few months, but now I feel I'm pretty much back to normal.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Little boy turns 21

When I first came to the United States, the boy I was about to babysit was a few days shy of his 10th birthday. Today, he turned 21.

I can't take too much credit for his success in life since I was only his live-in nanny for two years, but I'm very proud to say that he's now a grown man with an interest in accounting and politics. He is the vice president of the student government at his pretty prestigious university, and he has a job working at a school in Harlem to learn how to manage a nonprofit organization.

He has his own apartment, and his girlfriend since four years goes to college in Massachusetts.

When I spoke to him on the phone today, we were both on our way to important meetings and disussed the benefits of driving a stick-shift vs. cruising around in an automatic car because you have more control. Like an adult, he politely asked me about work and about life.

We parted to attend to more important things in life, and I took a few moments to just reflect over this amazing boy who seems to have grown up so fast.

At this moment, I feel just like any proud parent would. Except that I'm not. But kind of, in a way.

The ability to multi-task

Why is it that women are better than men at multi-tasking? It it because they have to get so many more things done in a day?

Men always seem so focused on getting one task done, and often doing it very well. Of course, they think they can multi-task as you try to have a conversation and they want to watch the end of a baseball game. "I'm listening," they say with both eyes still glued to the television. But they really don't hear a word you say.

No, men are definitely worse at doing multiple things at the same time.

I was thinking about this tonight as I prepared dinner for tomorrow, made some tea and (two different) snacks for me and Albie and loaded the dishwasher - all in less than half an hour.

You just have to start with what takes the longest, like putting the pasta on the stove, and then If you are in the kitchen anyway, you might as well finish all those other things, right?

Perhaps this is also why, when women do something, men don't seem to think it is a big deal. It's just stuff that happen automatically to them.

Of course, if you clean the fridge and make dinner and produce fresh cookies and boil the eggs for breakfast while also cleaning the stove, it can't be that hard, right? Until they try to do it. Then it becomes the biggest and most difficult project in the world.