Sunday, August 31, 2008
Fostering is great because we get to know the birds outside of the "shelter" environment. So we have more information to give adopters. Of course there is always the risk that you will want to keep the bird. My mother actually said that she wants to keep Manu. But we know that is at least half because she is afraid of what I might bring to the house next.
So if this works out, I will have done my duty by an awesome bird.
After I drop off Manu, I am going to pick up my nephew, Alex. His parents are going to a party that is certain to run late, so we are going to try a sleep over. Everyone is skeptical about it, but I figure that if he gets all upset at bedtime, I'll just take him home. Kid should still try stuff, I think.
I'd better get moving, though.
Chop it Up, on Tower Road, it a Wrap and Salad place. They have a menu of specialty wraps and salads as well as a "custom hand craft" menu for high maintenance picky eaters like me.
The store itself is nothing to look at - flooring like a warehouse, and the tables are rather uninviting. There were only three of us in there at 11:30 on a Saturday. But I imagine that if it gets really crowded in the lunch crowd you won't be able to hear yourself think.
You pick a lettuce: spinach, iceberg, romaine or (for a 50 cent upcharge) the "spring mix". Then you pick a wrap flavor and four menu items to put inside it. The portions are huge - I took half of mine home.
Here is where they get you:
A standard wrap starts at $5.75. Every single type of meat has an upcharge, starting with tofu at $1.50 and up to $3.25 for steak. Six of the eight available cheeses have an upcharge, as do various other options like mushrooms and avocado.
I ordered a wrap on the golden wheat tortilla with turkey (an extra $1.75), romaine, cheddar, cucumber and avocado (an extra $.50) with the house secret ranch. It was fine. Required a fork to eat the filling before I could pick up the actual wrap. On the first bite, I was pleased that the "secret ranch" had a kick to it. Then I realized that the kick was just black pepper and there was way too much of it. But it was decent.
They win points for having Diet Dr Pepper at the soda fountain. They lose those point for charging $1.75 for cups smaller than those in my kitchen.
I will try this place again in the fall, when soup is a better idea. I'm thinking that for carry out, splitting a wrap and getting some soup for dinner sounds pretty good. But this is not where I want to go to have a quiet lunch and read my book.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
A. This stuff never happens in Glenview
B. It was a victim that we knew
C. The police were convinced that she knew her killer. Which means that we knew her killer.
I remember the talk around town at the time. She had her housekey out in her hand. The dog didn't bark. No one heard Tricia scream. And I remember that one of the rumored suspects was a kid that lived on my street.
Glenview was totally unprepared to investigate such a case, and it went unsolved. My friend Rich, who is the director of the bird rescue where I volunteer, is also a police officer and part of a suburban taskforce that was formed to investigate these crimes. It is my understanding that Tricia's case was a catalyst to the creation of this task force and I can tell you that decade later, when next a woman was murdered in Glenview, there was an arrest in about five minutes. That was a domestic abuse case.
Anyway. It seems there has been a break in Tricia's case. The Chicago Tribune reports that Michael Gargiulo, formerly of Glenview and now living in California, was arrested in an unrelated attempted murder. He is now being tied to a 2001 murder in California, a 2005 murder, and to Tricia.
I was on the phone with my brother when I read this, and we both grabbed our yearbooks. I graduated GBS in 1992, Tricia graduated in 1993, Gargiulo graduated in 1994 and my brother graduated in 1996.
I didn't know this guy, but he played football as a sophmore. He would have been a teammate of several people we knew. And he would have been all of seventeen at the time of the murder.
I don't know if this guy killed Tricia. I don't know if I want him to be the one, so that we can close the case. Or if I just don't want to know that a kid in our town could do such a thing. But somewhere out there is someone that got 15 years of a life that Tricia didn't get and I had forgotten until today how angry that makes me.
You can read the new developments here and here.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The first time I went to the suburban chain, Heavenly Massage, it was with their $99 Day at the Spa advertisement. Facial, massage and pedicure. My verdict was that it was perfectly functional, but I felt very shuffled around and it was not the place for the "relaxing spa" experience (they don't put you in a big fluffy robe with a tall glass of ice water, and the reception area shares space with the waiting area and the manicure room. Loud.) . Particularly awkward, I remember, was that the three ladies that took care of me were all of the eastern European - little patience for modesty - types.
Having said that, when I want a good deal on a massage that grinds my muscles into pudding, this is where I go. And since by Tuesday I knew I wasn't going to make it through this week, I took today off and called this morning for an appointment.
The Deep Tissue Massage is not what you do when you want to "relax". It is what you do when the muscles between your neck and shoulder blades actually hurt to touch. This is not for the la-di-da spa experience. In fact, it is sometimes actually painful. And afterward, your skin might even "feel the burn". Hot stone treatments are good for the kind of relaxing that could put you to sleep. Swedish massage is the thing in between. Good for the newbies.
Heavenly Massage always advertises one deal or another in the mail, so I never go without one. The current special was 50 minutes for $39.99 which is, I imagine, meant to compete with the new chain that is starting to pop up around town (Massage Envy, I think it is called. Haven't been there). I upgraded to an hour, so I paid 50 bucks, before the tip, for a $60 treatment. (Please note: while Heavenly Massage takes Visa and MC, they will not put gratuity on the cards. So take cash.)
Next Time: Edumacation on the Therapeutic Facial
I first met Henwen two weeks ago, when I worked in his room. I let him out to hang around the top of him cage. Tough to get him back in, though.
Today, Jose brought him upstairs to hang out in the kitchen. He wasn't interested in any treats, but he soaked up all of the attention. But even better was that when I left him alone to sweep the front room, he didn't make a fuss. Just looked around, checking things out.
We had a moment when I dumped the dust pan into the garbage. It has a long stick, like a broom that scared him into flying into the sink. He wasn't hurt, and he stepped right back up to go back to her perch. He was really a sweetheart.
Henwen is up for adoption and you can read more about him here.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The Chicago Tribune had an article about some British scientists talking about a good way to reduce one's carbon footprint:
Limiting family size is "the simplest and biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet for our grandchildren," the editorial's authors said.
Before reading the full article, I thought - Hello. Is this article really going to reach the target audience? But this statistic was interesting:
In a nation where Texas' 23 million people account for more greenhouse gas emissions than all 720 million Sub-Saharan Africans, even small rates of U.S. population growth may have a disproportionate impact on global warming, said the UN's Haug.
You can read the article here.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
At the end of my last class, I remember asking my mother what I did every weekend before I was in school. And a mere summer later I don't remember how I got all of the work done. And seriously, during football season?
The course is Project Management and the classroom is online. I think I'm ready.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
This is what the shelters say:
"You have no idea how traumatic abandonment is for animals," said Jim Borgelt, president of the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance, a coalition of 15 "no-kill" shelters. "Of course, we want animals to find homes, but we don't want to do it without any regard for the end result."
Alliance members adopt between 14,000 and 15,000 dogs and cats annually. Of those, 3 percent to 6 percent—or roughly 750—are returned.
And the other side:
Katie Popovich recently accompanied her boyfriend to a North Side animal shelter in search of a dog. When a beagle-border collie mix immediately nuzzled against them, they were smitten.
But the 22-year-olds received a considerably chillier response from the human behind the counter. "It seemed like we were instantly thrown into this category that we were just kids and not responsible," she said, adding that they are now talking with breeders.
The rescue where I volunteer, which is only for parrots, has a pretty serious screening process, and it does make people angry. I have heard, "They make you volunteer before they let you adopt." Parrots aren't easy, and if someone that once had a canary wants to adopt a macaw, we worry. The grain of truth to the accusation is that we will suggest spending time onsite with the birds so that our directors can see that the adoptors can handle the large birds.
This article does a good job of laying out the issue. But I don't think I have to tell you that it glosses over the horror stories with the mention of the "return" rate.
It mentions expense, but let me give you numbers: two years ago my dog had a thyroid tumor. It took $2,000 in tests to diagnose and $3,000 for the surgery and after care.
There is no excuse for being rude to people that want to adopt an animal. At the same time, if you can't manage some patience with the adoption process, do you really have the patience for a new pet?
You can read the full text of the article here.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
"After working at a public library in a small, rural Midwestern town (which I will refer to as Denialville, Michigan, throughout this book) for fifteen years, I have encountered strains and variations of crazy I didn't know existed in such significant portions of our population."
I am fascinated and disgusted by this concept. On one hand, I want to click right over to BN and find it and on the other hand - I can't even take reality TV - this might be too much for me.
The irony of a library firing an employee for writing a book is not lost on me. But if this article is correct in that the patrons in questions are "easily identifiable in our small community", I would have fired her, too. And now she has all of the publicity that she needs to make a go of it as a novelist, so she isn't getting any sympathy from me.
You can read the full article here.
Friday, August 22, 2008
This was the view of the city walking back from the park. If I were really interested in practicing, I would have taken this one fifteen different ways. But alas, I used my diskspace on all of the giraffes.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I'm going to bring my little hand-me-down camera and see if I can find anything interesting to shoot. I very seriously doubt I have the eye or the patience for anything remotely interesting.
Here is a picture my mother took of the dog with her fancy new camera:
Saturday, August 16, 2008
It is all pink and flowers and things that say "hugs and kisses". I'm going to be sick.
I'm one of those people that only wears black. And if I weren't, I'm still kind of a tom boy. So I think I'm going on mission to save this child. I was at Carson's today and this is what I found:
That would be brown.
Those are flowers in the print, which makes it for girls. But it's brown. Who exactly thought that was cool? Calvin Klein. I don't know what to make of it. But it was this or the pink velvet Adidas dress. Sorry, Kid. You'll thank me later.
Friday, August 15, 2008
The first time I saw it happen, it was a faith-based book on maintaining (or reigniting) a healthy sex life throughout marriage. I think I listed it for $8.00, but it sold instantly. I had certainly never heard the title before.
Last night, I found a trade paperback that looked to me like your standard romance novel. Kind of a modern-western romance novel, set in Colorado. As I flipped it over to find the ISBN, I saw a warning about explicit sex. I looked at the cover again. How dirty could it be?
I opened the book to a random page. Oh. Very dirty. Very, very dirty. I almost set it aside for a “Do we even want to sell this in our little Library Fundraising Shop?” I looked it up as I thought it over – then listed it for $7.00. No one would know at first glance that this was a dirty, dirty book and anyway - listed books are shelved in a different place from the standard $1 or $2 titles that our local patrons purchase. I thought it would be ok.
Certainly was. That book sold before I got home last night. The moral of this story is news to no one:
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Molly 2 is a boy. And while Cockatoos are always a handful, males Cockatoos are just not for everyone. Foolish people buy them because they are the "cuddly birds". That's one way of putting it. High maintenance might be another. Demanding. Stubbourn.
Molly 2 is very focused on people and not at all interested in other birds. In fact, two of the "ladies" at the Refuge, PJ and Rosie, have tried to make friends. He runs away. They can be a bit pushy.
Molly 2 has a very high pitched scream and he can use it. But tonight, he sat quietly on the perch in the kitchen while I worked in the front room. He ate his walnut and waited for me to come over and pet him. My friend and fellow volunteer, Jose, couldn't believe it and I must say, it was a breakthrough. "Excitable" birds can be managed. But the really bad screamers are always losing their homes.
Molly 2 steps up very nicely and can speak a few words. He is available for adoption and you can read more about him here.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Something was wrong. Someone had been in here. And I couldn't put my finger on it - which isn't really odd because I don't notice anything in my house. You could rearrange my living room furniture and lay odds that I won't notice. Then I saw it:
I have been very cranky since the "digital TV" announcement because I have never had cable in my bedroom and my TV works perfectly well, thank you. Although sometime I should tell you about buying that TV and discovering that I had to go back to Best Buy to purchase an antenna because they no longer come standard.
DirectTV guy did not hook my stuff back up properly, so the TV is not connected to the stereo receiver and I can't watch my DVD player. My brother is coming this weekend to fix it because he didn't like the way I set it up last time. But so many channels. I was going to pick up that Solzhenitsyn book last night but then. On VH1:
Monday, August 11, 2008
Google was sending me around to buy the book, so I looked inside the text for the website. There was a Student CD Rom. With Video Clips, Study Out Lines and Web Links.
This is how school is different, and I don't think that is just about online learning. The text book companies, as opposed to the school itself, are providing the multimedia tools. Now, I'm sure that the texts are chosen in part for the compatability with the program, but I would be very interested to hear about how classroom professor are using the technology. Do classroom teachers and students bother looking at the websites?
I took the summer off, and I will be starting the new semester while on the road. Again. But I'm looking forward to getting started. Better go pick up a new notebook.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
My friend and colleague, Rolland, was a 30 year veteran of my company before he retired. He had worked in both Public Relations and Special Programs, which is code for “on the road all the time”. He is also an enthusiastic leisure traveler. He has been to all 50 states and is the best resource for “all of the places worth seeing” that can be found in a human being. He is the reason I went to Hoover Dam.
Rolland is helping us out with a project, and was booking his airline tickets just as I had walked over to do the same. He noted that United was only flying regional jets to our destination, while American was flying the big guys. Our travel agent, Nancy, asked if he would prefer American. He said, “I’m no longer a premier member at United, so it doesn’t matter which airline I fly.”
I asked, “But aren’t you a million mile customer?”
He replied, “No. I only got to 800 thousand-something.”
The most frequent traveler that I know hasn’t made it to a million miles. I am never going to get there.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Among the websites I require to function is the fabulous LibraryThing. This tool allows me to catalog all of the books in my own library. I haven't begun to effectively use all of the functions, but look at that little widget to the right! Isn't it cute?
After setting up an account, members can search for books to add to their own catalogs. Or research books, looking for the reviews of other members before commiting the time to read it. There are communities and discussion groups. There are tools that show which other members have the same books that I have. I actually find more interesting that each of my books show how many other members have them. When last I looked, I had at least one book that no one else on the site has. And two or three that I share with only one other person.
LibraryThing allows me to see the catalogs of my friends. So I know what books not to buy them for their birthdays. In some cases, that is rather depressing. Like my friend Liza - who is a librarian. She and I share only 13 books in common and seven of those are Harry Potter.
This website is free of charge to join, but only up to a catalog of 200 books. Personally, I paid up the $25 to become a LifeTime member.
I understand that a similar site, called Good Reads, has become rather popular. But I am perfectly happy with my LibraryThing.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Panda bears are the Poster Children of the Endangered Species movement. It mostly bothers me because the fact that pandas are endangered is not, in my opinion, really the fault of Man. Pandas eat only one kind of food, bamboo. An incredibly inefficient diet, so they have to eat a ton of it. And they are just bad at reproducing.
I realize that they are much better at reproducing in their natural habitat, and their natural habitat is disappearing. But they do not seem to have any ability to adapt. So my theory is that if there is a modern species that nature had selected for extinction, it is the panda.
This article does not exactly mirror that theory, but it certainly has a common sentiment. Not that I had ever remotely considered the panda in any argument regarding intelligent design. It closes with:
Humanity's experience with pandas has shown us that saving the species is not going to be easy — or cheap. In fact, eminent conservationist Chris Packham has called panda conservation "possibly one of the grossest wastes of conservation money in the last half century.” He said he "would eat the last panda" if it meant he could transfer all the money thrown at pandas to other, "more sensible" species (like insects, rodents, and plants) or to entire habitats.
So why is the Panda bear the Poster Child for the movement? Let's say it all together:
Because they are cute!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Trying to cram a thousand years of history into one high school semester is totally ridiculous, but I had a great time and aced that sucker. I knocked out my poli-sci requirement in college with "Russia and the United States". Catherine the Great, by Henri Troyat, is on my list of Required Reading in the study of reigning queens. So it is to my humble shame that I did not discover Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn until One Book One Chicago picked A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch for the book club. I want to say it was 2006.
A short novel with really clean, uncomplicated language (which I guess one could claim is equally about the translation) that gave this pampered western suburbanite a feel for how the hell a man got through the day in Stalin's gulag. A day, an hour, a minute at a time.
Last summer, I picked up The Cancer Ward, which was a fictionalized account of the author's Cancer treatment while in exile - I think it was the late 1950s. It drew a picture so far from the world that I know - between Communism, the illnesses, the (to me) backwards hospital culture, and then the gender roles - and I was completely sucked into it. I have three more of his novels waiting for me on my shelf right now. (Not to mention two Tolstoys, two Dostoyevskys and Troyat's biography of Peter the Great.)
Solzhenitsyn died last week. He had gone back to Russia several years ago and was very critical of the West. But he seemed to firmly believe something that I have always suspected: that Russia sometimes likes to think of itself as a European nation, but it is really its own animal.
"Any ancient deeply rooted autonomous culture, especially if it is spread on a wide part of the earth's surface, constitutes an autonomous world, full of riddles and surprises to Western thinking," Solzhenitsyn said in the Harvard speech. "For one thousand years Russia has belonged to such a category."
I can't manage to keep up with the American literati, let alone those of foreign countries, but here's hoping that post-Communist Russia is growing worthy successors to this great voice.
We like bottled water. It comes in bottles. That we can throw in the car, or knock over at our desks and not make a mess. Right now I have one leaning over a pillow on my bed, where I can reach it. Can't do that with a glass.
We have been buying the 2 1/2 gallon refridgerator jugs and refilling bottles regularly. I reuse a bottle for a few days, then recycle.
The water in the last few jugs have tasted like plastic to me. Baking in the delivery trucks, perhaps? I don't know whether that is actually unhealthy, but it tastes terrible.
We had a water filter on our faucet once, but it never got the water cold enough and then it broke.
So I called Culligan. They have a "water club" where they rent you a cooler and the Culligan man brings you 5 gallon bottles once a month.
This seems really indulgent, I know. Particulary when the financial people all say not to add monthly expenses if you can avoid it. And I have been pretty good. When we picked up DVR, we cancelled all of our premium cable channels and ended up ahead. Then, feeling all frugal, we scaled way back on our telephone service. So this is a step in the opposite direction for me. But here is the math:
Those 2 1/2 gallon jugs cost $5.00 at my grocery store and we went through about one a week. So call it $20.00.
Culligan's 3 bottle service with a hot and cold water cooler is $25.95. So basically, for an extra $5.95 per month, someone brings the water to my house. Plus I get the room back in my refridgerator. Plus instant hot drinking water. And I know that Culligan is all reuse/recycling the bottles.
I am taking that deal.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
No. Amazon sells them for 11.00 new and as of this afternoon, ours was the only used copy available. Had to be listed.
The good news is that with so many reviewers, I feel less pressured to go through as many as humanly possible in an evening shift. Because this week, my back was still hurting and I just wanted to read. So I compromised and went through one box. I listed three books. Bought two for myself. Then settled down to read my own.
What luxury. Last semester, I had been in the habit of spending 90 minutes going through donations and 90 minutes doing my homework. By the time May came around, there were so many books to go through that I skipped studying for my final exam! I am confident that won't happen again.
We've had a pretty productive summer at the UBS, I think. And I hope we can keep it all up when the school year starts again!
Friday, August 1, 2008
"Sherman and Tingle have grown their show tremendously in the past year, resulting in a great response from our listeners to their highly entertaining content between the songs," Tisa LaSorte, director of brand and operations for Emmis Chicago stations WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM 97.9, said in a memo announcing the move.
"We believe their show can attract a higher level of listening for us in the mornings, and look forward to having them prove us right," LaSorte wrote. "This move is a strong step towards greater success for Q101.1, as we deliver on our promise to be 'Chicago's Alternative.'"
Sherman and Tingle. "Taps at the 10s and Trash at the 30s" Phony phone calls and saying rotten things about former flames on the air. Dear WKQX: I'm not sure the audience that finds this interesting is awake for the morning show.
I'm just going to have to put the iPod in the car.
Um. No. I don't think so. He knows as much as I do.
I reflected on the fact that earlier this year I couldn't give him his Father's Day Gift (a National Park Passport) because he had already left for Yellowstone. And before that he was in New Mexico. Or Alaska. Or Arizona or Las Vegas (which he finds very nice once one gets off The Strip).
I once had to pick him up from the airport because he was hurt while on vacation. He was building a house for Habitat for Humanity or something and needed a lift to the hospital. I imagine he is literally climbing a mountain right now, just as the florist arrived with the flowers he sent for my mother's birthday.
He does stuff. I want to be him when I grow up.