December 24, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Mouton Cadet Bordeaux, 2005

This will be a short post due to the holidays. So Merry Happy ChrismaHanaKwanzaKah!

My sister-in-law and I drank this with homemade pizza. My brother had a beer. I pick up this red wine blend at a local Austin liquor store for $10.00. It was good.

There are lots of reviews on the web if you want more detail...heh.

I will say that according to the label, this red wine is a blend of Merlot (65%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Cabernet Franc (15%). All of the grapes are in fact grown in the Bordeaux region of France. It was tasty with very little alcohol burn on the finish and a nice earthy nose (scent for you novices...heh).

My sister-in-law deemed it very good since after half a bottle it put her in the mood... Yeah, where did I pack my ear plugs?

ENJOY!

December 21, 2008

Saturday and Sunday Surf - Driving the ACTUAL Highway(s)

So Friday we sort of got released early, on our own honor, from work. I ran errands and then went home to get ready for my LONG drive to Austin for the holidays. Lucky dog Tucker spent the day at the Doggie Day Spa. And this time it WAS a day spa. He started out with a half day of Doggie Day Camp where he impressed the Doggie Day Spa workers with his improving social skills. Apparently he's getting over his fear of large dogs. Then he ended the day in the Grooming Salon, being pampered (although I did hear they provide anal gland cleansing as needed...ewww...I'm kinda glad there's someone else willing to do this...heh).

Anyway, I finished my laundry and was trying to geared up to vacuum and pack when I hit the proverbial WALL. I was WAY too tired to drive south Friday night, as originally planned, to stay over at a friend's house in Pueblo, CO. I barely had enough energy to pick up Tucker from the Doggie Day Spa
and drive home. I did manage to write several Christmas cards (though probably not all the ones I should have) and watch a couple of shows I had backlogged on my DVR while doing so. Then I went to bed, only to wake up at 4am. WHYYY!?! I did snooze on and off until 5:30am. Prompted by the alarm, I got up, did the packing and vacuuming as well as the usual morning routine (walk Tucker, make breakfast, watch Tucker NOT eat...cajole Tucker...give up and packed the food too).

At 7:30am, I drove across the street to the Diamond Shamrock for coffee and then hit the road for Texas. I stopped briefly in Pueblo to meet my friend at his office (since I haven't seen his office yet and can get a business tax write off for the mileage...I also coach him on retirement plans...heh). Tucker finally ate his breakfast while we were waiting in front of the office. THEN we really started driving. It was all good until we actually got into the state of Texas. WARNING: It is NOT safe to drive even a few miles over the posted speed limits in the state of Texas while in a car with out of state license plates. TRUST me on this. Between my brother and I, we have collected 3 tickets for 11 miles over the speed limit. Not 12, not 13, just 11. If you drive over the speed limit, but definitely under 10 miles over, you will STILL be pulled over and issued a warning. I refer to this as "Driving while living out of state." This will result in, not only a delay, but blood pressure and adrenaline spikes, followed by shaking...go figure. Yep, I got a warning. Thank you cruise control!

I did keep track of flashing lights. Including myself, I witness 5 pull overs. Two were trucks with Texas plates (there are A LOT of trucks in Texas...BIG trucks...and SUVs!) and they do tend to drive really fast. Even when I was only slightly speeding, I got passed a few times and later when I had my cruise control set for the actual speed limit, I was passed left and right...well mostly to the left...heh. The other two vehicles and mine were from the state of Colorado. I'm revising my earlier ticket name to "Driving in Texas while living in Colorado." It's completely bogus that so many Texas vehicles were given a pass for speeding as long as they're under 10 miles over the posted limit, but if you live out of state you get pulled over. I have a friend whose husband is a Texas sheriff. She told me to ask for a radar print out and to also ask the officer when was the last time the radar was calibrated. I don't know if that would work, but since I didn't actually get a ticket, I didn't want to antagonize the highway patrol guy by asking. I did hedge my bets by letting the officer know that I am in fact a Texan by birth...he did happen to ask if I was visiting family after he asked where I was heading which led to my subtly mentioning my home state status...heh. After 16 hours on the road (1 more hour than usual due to doggie exercise and potty stops) we arrived in Austin at 12:30am (for those of you counting, there is a time change from Denver to Austin). And then I was too wired to sleep well...sigh.

Okay, that's my story of driving actual highways, instead of the information highway, and I'm sticking to it! Tucker slept most of the way, which was a good thing, and now after a day of playing with my nephews and meeting my sister-in-law's friends, he's all Tuckered out...heee. Hopefully, we'll both sleep well tonight. Just in case I don't make it back online Happy (fill in the blank) to all!

December 13, 2008

Sunday Surf - Look What I Got in My E-mail!!!

Since I had this supposedly all day training class that ended up lasting about 6 and a half hours instead of 9, (with a 1 hour break for lunch), I left Tucker at his BFF's house for an overnighter last night when I finished studying for the class with my old office mate. My old office mate and his wife have custody of Tucker's BFF (Rufus) since their daughter is in college. Apparently, the old office mate's wife decided to let them run themselves ragged in the backyard, after which she bathed them both and dressed them up. Although I know she loves it, she's actually a saint for doing this! Anyway, I thought I share a picture of the results:

















That's Tucker on the left and Rufus on the right. Which is actually appropriate since I'm a lefty liberal and Rufus' folks are right wingnuts...just kidding...sorta...heh.

Update: I was informed this evening that Rufus is, in fact, NOT the daughter's dog but the old office mate's wife's dog.

December 12, 2008

Friday's Fling - Going up...or maybe down... in Flames (and other random thoughts)

So today was mostly a sucky day. Maybe it's just been a sucky month or four. I really dislike having a boss. But really, I hate that I was hired under less than favorable circumstances and have been rather off kilter and working from a defensive position ever since. I'm definitely NOT in the zone at my JOB. This has resulted in poor communication at times and general paranoia. Though, I've been assured that it's not all paranoia...like that makes it better...sigh.

On the other hand, for my finance business, I had to read 108 pages on Long Term Care insurance over the past week and then take a test on the subject today. Unfortunately, all I had time for was skimming briefly over the information. Good news, since I have at least 10 years experience, I knew most of the answers anyway. Whew! Of course, tomorrow I get to take a follow up class for 8 hours. Gee, I better make a lot of coffee for this.

Now I'm just relaxing and surfing the net. Over at East Jesus I found another one of those cool quizzes we all love. Funny enough, I actually got another rather accurate assessment. It also kinda suggests that I need to go back to finance (and in particular my current company based on what we do...heh). Here's what it said:

I took the 43 Things Personality Quiz and found out I'm an
Extroverted Money Managing Builder


Thanks to Trop and one of her pals! And by the way, to get to the quiz visit Trop at East Jesus.


December 10, 2008

Wednesday's Whine - I Forgot to Call in Gay.

So, I got word Tuesday evening that we of the "alternative lifestyle" were to call in GAY on Wednesday in support of the ongoing protest regarding California's Prop 8 as well as being second class citizens in general. Due to the time sensitive nature of my work (I work with kids who have learning and emotional disabilities) I had some work due on Thursday that I could have possibly finished on Tuesday or on Thursday morning if I had more warning. Sigh. And Wednesdays at work are THE longest days for me. I generally leave the condo at 6:30am and don't get back until 5pm. So in my work induced haze, I forgot to NOT spend money except at gay owned or gay supportive businesses. I'm a bad gay. I hope Pet Smart is gay supportive. Tucker needed dog food and boots. Course in my haze, I forgot to buy the boots (dog food comparisons took about 15 minutes). I'll do better. Really, I will...

December 8, 2008

Make My Monday - Answer to the Bible Thumpers Regarding Gay Marriage Rights

I could call this Monday Surf, but it doesn't really roll off the tongue that nicely. Anyway I found a Newsweek article online that's also in the December 15th issue. I was going to post it here in it's entirety, because I wondered how long the link will be live. Alas, I could not figure out how to cut and paste the text without all the extra formatting code that was messing up the blog publishing program... You can cut and paste to your own document program to send out as an attachment to your favorite church going right winger...heh.

December 6, 2008

Saturday Surf - What Color IS Your Rainbow?

I was over visiting The Gentleman (and The Lady) and reading responses to their blog posts when I discovered a new blog. First thing I see is a FUN Rainbow quiz. Ya know I love them quizzes. Here's my result (though for some reason you can't see the actual rainbowy picture). What's yours?

Your Rainbow

Your rainbow is strongly shaded indigo and violet.


What is says about you: You are a proud person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. Friends count on you for being honest and insightful. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

December 5, 2008

Friday's Fling - Christmas Present Idea

For those of you who have a lesbian in your family and are looking for gift ideas, I thought I'd provide the occasional random idea for you. Think of this as my community service plan...heh.



















Click on the image above to go to the website for more information. Then check back here for other ideas over the next couple of weeks. Feel free to share some of you own random ideas! Okay, I'm fishing for ideas here...heh.

December 3, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Insatiable White Wine, no year noted

Here's the white wine I promised. This Californian blend is nice and crisp and good with leftover turkey as well as chicken burritos. The blend includes Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio. It can be had for just under $10.00, although I got it for about $8.00. As with most of the white wines I've reviewed, it's fairly easy on the palate and slightly sweet.

Here are some tasting notes that were pretty much what I found:

"Light-to-medium bodied, with with floral, citrusy accents on the nose, ripe citrys, peach and pear flavors on the plate, with a fruity yet crisp finish. This wine is easy to drink and lends itself to light appetizers before dinner, pairing well with a wide range of dishes."

Enjoy!

November 28, 2008

Friday's Fling - Roasting Turkey

So I went for Thanksgiving dinner to Tucker's BFF's house. That of course, meant I was without leftovers, although they offered to send me home with some. Anyway, I decided to check out the grocery stores for turkey sales and got an 11.5 lb. bird for $12.00. It took 3 hours to cook according to the package, though I tend to think it would have been better after only 2.5 hours...not that it was bad...or even dry. It was just a tad not juicy enough. Anyway, I had half a baked potato and half an acorn squash with crazins and brown sugar. Oh, and I had a glass of that Fox Brook Chardonnay with it. Afterwards it was left over pumpkin pie with tons of whipped cream. Yum! Hope ya'll had a good Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Woop Woop Cabernet, 2007

First off, this LABEL is NOT the label on the 2007 version of Woop Woop Cabernet. The picture is the same, however and it's kinda cool. Not to mention the name of the wine, which apparently means "out there" as in "it's way out in Woop Woop" (kinda like saying it's in Timbuktu) is also fun. And the bottle comes with a reusable stopper instead of a cork or a screw top cap. I totally LOVE the reusableness of the stopper, so I'm saving it for the next bottel of red wine that I open.

Second, I know you all were probably hoping for a white wine suggestion to go with your Thanksgiving dinner, but I frankly I opened this one to go with my Sunday steak dinner, so you get what you get. I do have a white wine review coming soon, but in the meantime, this is the one I already reviewed that I'm taking to dinner tomorrow.

Third, this Cabernet did get a score in the high 80's by at least one of the major wine rating magazines (of course, I can't remember which one...heh). High 80's means the wine is both very good and a good value. You know I love a good wine at a good price and I picked this one up with several others at Applejack Wine & Spirits a few weeks ago for around $9.00.

Woop Woop Cabernet is very tasty I must say. It's got kind of a dark cherry and grape mix of a scent. It actually reminded me more of a dry Shiraz than a typical Cabernet. Of course, since this wine is from South Eastern Australia (home of the best Shiraz), we might expect that. In addition to the the cherry notes of this wine, it has a kind of peppery spicyness to it and almost a dark chocolate finish with not much of an alcohol burn. This wine is dark purple reddish in color and pretty bold. It definitely went well with steak as well as pizza. It's very drinkable and makes a nice table wine if you want to go up a step from a blend. And frankly, with a name like Woop Woop, you gotta plan on having fun food. The guys that make it, apparently like BBQ.

Enjoy!

November 22, 2008

Rivalry Week - Say That Five Times Fast!

I do in fact watch sports. And today I spent the morning and part of the afternoon watching my Buckeyes kick some Wolverine tail! Yes, I am a graduate of THE Ohio State University. I wear the scarlet and gray colors of my alma mater proudly. I even recruit my friends to be fans. I have one of my best friends meet me at our local watering hole/sports bar for all the major OSU football games and dang it, now she's a fan! She even said to me that maybe she'll take an online course or two from OSU, just so she can be a real Buckeye...heh. I think she should take enough courses to finish her bachelor's degree. ANYWAY, I'm just waiting for Michigan STATE to beat Penn State, so Ohio State can take the Big 10 Championship and go to the Rose Bowl. Should that not work out however, I'll still be watching some good OSU football in January, 2009. Just sayin'...

UPDATE: Penn State is kicking the other Michigan team's tail, so the Rose Bowl is not likely for Ohio State. Tune back in for Bowl Bids and the final outcomes of the BCS...

November 16, 2008

Sunday Surf - What Veggie Are You?

I was over at www.the-n.com catching up on South Of Nowhere videos. No not the shows, just the extras. Anyway, they have cute quizzes and I thought this would appeal to some of my more adult readers...heh. Here's what veggie I am:



Feel free to share which veggie you are...or not...hee...

November 15, 2008

Rally Against H8 - Denver

I dropped off Tucker at the groomer's and headed to downtown Denver for the Big Rally against H8. When I got there...a bit late since I had to drive around and around to find a parking spot. $.85 (all my change) later I had 51 minutes to participate. The rally started at 11:30, but by the time I walked from the parking meter to the Denver City and County Court house, it was noon. This is the sea of humanity:




















An as you can see, we are ALL Americans. And as such, we should ALL have the same rights. Even if it's against our better judgment to get married, if we do, then we should at least have the rights and responsibilities ALL married folk have here in America.




















I was obviously a beautiful day in Denver to have a rally! Our future's so bright, we all gotta wear shades...or at least shade the camera!




















It was good to see so many people coming together to protest such a horrible precedent such as this where a proposition put to the people is one that TAKES AWAY rights. No matter what your personal stand on marriage between any two people might be, taking AWAY rights of a minority group by the majority group is a bad bad bad thing. And it's definitely not what we, the majority of Americans, can support.





















I'm not sure who the woman speaking is, but she was running the rally. Or at least she was keeping it moving along....speaker...singing...another speaker...some more singing...




















There were a lot of signs. One had a WHOLE paragraph explaining the two parts of marriage:
1. The civil marriage which is the legal rights portion, conferred by the law of the land.
2. The religious marriage which is the one sanctioned by the church of your choice.





















America is a country founded on a few principles, one of which is the separation of church and state. As such, the CIVIL right of CIVIL marriage should be available to any two human beings regardless of gender (although I do believe that children probably ought not get married...of course that opens another can of worms). If the word "marriage" needs to be stricken from the law and replaced with "union", I'm fine with that. As long as the rights and responsibilities of what was formerly called "marriage" now applies to "union" and as long as those rights and responsibilities are extended to all citizens. Not that I have any current plans to get civilly unioned. Applications are being accepted however...

November 12, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Falesco Vitiano, 2006

So, the other day I was at my OTHER favorite wine place, Applejack Wine and Spirits, (while I was on my way home from the mountains) and I bought FIVE bottles of highly rated wine for about $41.00! Anyway, one of my choices was a nice mellow red wine from ITALY. Yep, after SEVERAL requests from the Gentleman that I review an Italian wine, here it is! Falesco Vitiano, 2006 is a red blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Sangiovese.

This wine is a deep red color. It had berry notes in both the scent and taste. My first glass seem to slide down like water due to little or no alcohol taste on the finish. The winemaker notes on the back of the bottle said this wine is "Rick in black fruits and mint. It is mouthfilling with cassis, vanilla oak and a well balanced and ripe finish." Hmmm, well, the mint might have been what made it seem like water in the refreshing sense. Of course, the water thing might have been the Merlot portion of the blend (I generally find Merlots to be somewhat watery).

As I mentioned earlier, I bought five highly rated wines. The Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator each gave this wine 88 points (high 80's and 90's are very good wines). Since I bought this on sale for $7.00, that means this was a great value for the buck. Here's what Wine Spectator had to say about Vitiano, 2006:

This Italian red shows lots of blackberry and licorice, with raspberry notes. Full-bodied, with round tannins and a fruity finish.

I have to say I didn't notice the fruity finish, but the round tannins means that the wine was very smooth. Some additional winemaker notes:

"This is a blockbuster young red wine with explosive, luscious aromas. Vitiano Rosso is deep ruby red in color, and offers a wide range of fruit and spice aromas, including black cherry jam, licorice and tobacco leaf. This versatile wine pairs well with a wide array of food, including meat, pasta and pizza. "


I had it with a meatball sub sandwich, something I can't remember on Monday evening and with Taco Bell spicy Combo burrito's tonight. I think it would be good with any food that you want to emphasize and not overwhelm. Enjoy!

November 10, 2008

Make My Monday - Tucker and I Survive Our First Days Apart

I spent Thursday through Saturday at the Beaver Creek Resort (no joke...really). Okay, it was mostly work, but I did get some brief moments to play. I ate some expensive resort food...high priced pizza by the slice on Thursday night. Friday evening brought a little charity casino night...I lost $35.00 playing mostly Texas Hold 'Em and a confusing game called Craps...yeah, I crapped out. I sat in one of 5 different hot tubs Saturday morning...more seminars and then I drove back down the mountain. I was exhausted and I think I had a touch of altitude sickness. Sunday I had a massage and kind of vegged out all day.

Meanwhile, Tucker spent three whole days in doggie bliss with his BFF, Rufus (a very tolerant Bichon Frise whose owners voted for McCain...but I forgive them). I'm telling you, Tucker was either depressed Sunday or complete worn out, because all he did was sleep. I hope he was just worn out. But to be sure, he's got a play date for tomorrow... More doggie WWF. Poor Rufus, Tucker gets ahold of his curly ear and just hangs on for the ride. Oh yeah, and Rufus has a HUGE backyard. Back and forth for hours...I'm sure Tucker was just worn out...really.

Anyway, we've survived the time apart and now we're back to routine again...very busy and boring...

October 30, 2008

Thought for Thursday - Apparently I'm Pure Nerd...LostInColor Made Me Find Out

See what Lost In Color! made me do:

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Pure Nerd


For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

October 29, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Tin Roof Cellars Rose Wine, 2006

In honor of Indian Summer I thought I'd try another Rose. Yeah, I know it's pinkish. But like the last Rose, this is no White Zinfandel. Nor is it a sticky sweet wine cooler tasting Strawberry Ripple style beverage.

This Californian wine is another that's made from the same grapes as full bodied reds. In fact these are the grapes: Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay & Petite Sirah. Yes, they snuck in a white wine grape and no, the Zinfandel grape is not the white one. For those of you who don't know, Zinfandel grapes are red, unless they're the White Zinfandel which are of course...WHITEish...or at least not RED.

I found this rose to be mellow and definitely not sticky sweet. If you've tried some of my other recommendations, then you know what Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah and Petite Sirah taste like. This definitely has those flavors, just not quite as deep and bold. Also, the Chardonnay (the white one) definitely takes the edge off the other grapes by lending a buttery feel to the wine, especially as it comes up to room temperature. Being a low priced wine (just under $10.00) it does have some noticeable alcohol, but less so when cold.

This is what Tin Roof Cellars said about their wine:

“With its beautiful deep rose color and luscious fruit flavors, our 2006 Rosé is a delightful example of the many pleasures rosé has to offer. Dry in style, but with a succulent, berry jam-like fruitiness, it’s balanced and made eminently refreshing by a crisp, mouthwatering finish that invites a second sip. Enjoy this crowd-pleasing quaffer chilled, either on its own or with a wide range of foods, including fish, chicken, ham and pork, grilled and barbecued fare, and spicy Asian, Hispanic and Caribbean cuisines.”

Just by chance, I enjoyed Tin Roof's Rose with a blackened grilled steak and a romaine salad with a red wine vinegrette. I have to say that it was a nice counter point to the spices. Enjoy!

October 22, 2008

Wednesday's Whine - Not Many Comments on My Wine Posts

I had several people I chat with say they'd love to read my comments about wine on my blog. So I started review wine here. Just as a reminder (and for new readers), my wine choices follow the criteria that they need to be UNDER $10.00 and be recommended. Recommendations can come from any decent source like: my favorite wine guys at 3S Liquors; have wine magazine ratings in the upper 80's or higher; or one of my friends buys it for me...heh. Anyway, if you're enjoying my wine posts, please let me know. Two comments (especially when one is me responding to another comment) doesn't give me much hope that I have an audience. Yeah, I'm aware that I have some stealth readers...but still... Also, feel free to use the comments area to suggest a wine you'd like to see reviewed. I might even bend the rules and review ones over $10.00 if it's recommended by a reader...and I'm not gonna go broke buying it...heh.

October 20, 2008

Make My Monday - Puppy Survives Losing His Marbles

Tucker had an appointment with Dr. Tucker the vet. Yep, time to lose the little puppy making items that some call balls. Tucker is only 8 lbs., so balls might be a tad exaggerated. I think marbles might be a better metaphor. Just sayin'. I also had him chipped...in case he gets away...slippery little guy.

PS. Tucker and I support 8against8 who are raising $8000 for the No on Prop. 8 in California over 8 days. Go donate a buck or two or 8 (or more) to the cause if you can. Or at least pass on the info. Tucker wants a second mommy...of course that would require a girlfriend first. But you know how it is with 5 month olds...so idealistic...heh.

October 15, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Fox Brook Merlot, 2006

I'm on my second bottle of this Merlot. Nope, not for the night...heh. What, a second bottle of the same Merlot!?! Yep, I found that this $4.00 Merlot has a bit more body than the usual ones out there for under $10.00 and more importantly, it really tastes good! It has some nice fruit flavors on the front of the palate (that's what you taste initially) and not too much alcohol on the finish. Once again, finding a picture of the label proved illusive. Oh well, just drink more of this one and look at the picture of the Fox Brook Chardonnay label from last week...heh. Here's what Fox Brook put on the back of their label:

"Our Merlot is balanced by concentrated berry flavors with hints of vanilla and oak. This wine makes a wonderful accompaniment to grilled vegetables, roasted lamb and Camembert cheese."

I don't think I'd drink $4.00 wine with roasted lamb, but it did go nicely with pork ribs last night and an Arby's roast beef sandwich today. Enjoy!

October 8, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Fox Brook Chardonnay, 2006

Well summer is over and fall is definitely in the air. We here in Colorado had our first frost the other night. I still have my window open at night though. It's definitely turning into red wine season, but here I am drinking another white wine in service to my loyal readers...heh. Anyway, back when I bought the Fox Brook Sauvignon Cabernet, Joe the wine guy at 3S Liquors suggested that I try the Chardonnay. He knows I prefer crisp white wines and Chardonnays tend to be more on the buttery stick to your tongue kind of wine. But Joe being Joe and knowing what I like was enough to convince me to buy this wine. Of course it was only $4.00, so that might have been a factor.

I decided to uncork this wine last night as a counter point to the last of some milder green chili I made over the weekend. Yes it was buttery, but not so sticky on the tongue. It was sweeter than I generally like, but not cloying. So far so good. It definitely cut the heat of the green chili. I had it again tonight with a blackened steak sliced over a bed of romaine with a chipotle vinegrette. It was yummy...both the salad and the wine. I hate it when I like a white wine. But then at $4.00 I can afford it!

Here's what the back of the bottle said:
"Abundant with fruit and citrus flavors that carry through to a toasty buttery finish with a hint of oak." I'd say that's a pretty accurate description. Enjoy!

October 7, 2008

Make My Monday - Postponed to Tuesday's Time Waster Slot Due To Continued Exhaustion

Tucker got all gussied up for graduation on Sunday. Isn't he looking handsome! Yeah...he's cute...and dang it, he knows it. So anyway, he had to sit, lay down, stay, wait, come from a wait, and "leave it" (which is exactly what it sounds like). He's a bit iffy on the leave it usually, but apparently he wasn't in the mood for the treat I used for the leave it item...heh. He's picky, just like me.

So here he is in his little graduation cap. He has a diploma too, but it didn't fit in the picture. Okay, I couldn't hold it and Tucker AND the cap...heh.

Tucker is pretty good at following commands...most of the time. Unless he knows he's doing something he shouldn't be doing, then he runs. Friday he got out of the bathroom by squeezing under the baby gate. Once he had a taste of freedom, he didn't let the baby gate being lowered an inch keep him penned in. Oh no...he CHEWED through it on Saturday. But we lesbian types have duct tape, so I fix it and sprayed the whole thing with that bitter stuff that's supposed to keep him from chewing on the wrong things. But he was determined, so today he chewed through the other side and greeted me at the door again. Of course, in the process of putting stuff down and rounding him up, I managed to leave my keys on the counter when I took him out for a walk. GREAT!!!

Fortunately I left my bedroom window open and all I needed was a friend with a big ladder. Well after a couple hours of waiting a round, my old office partner showed up and helped me break into my condo (he has this cool collapsing ladder). We had the neighbors worried until they saw it was me. Then they laughed. Thanks Tucker! We'll be signing up for more classes in December.

October 3, 2008

Thought for Thursday - Delayed Due to Exhaustion

I know you all were wondering what happened to me. No thoughts for Thursday, how could this be? Well, I was tired. Too tired to listen to inane and nails on chalkboard sounding squeaks from Palin. Too tired to keep my eyes open for the stuff I have recorded on my DVR. Too tired to remember how Ugly Betty ended after the big debate finally finished. Almost too tired to take Tucker out for his last potty break of the evening...however, puppy whining in the middle of the night is not something I wanted to hear. I almost went to bed in my jeans, but decided that discomfort would wake me up eventually...and too early. So here we are on Friday...TGIF would be the thing to say, but alas, I have a full weekend of business related stuff. Oh well. Early to bed tonight I guess.

This delayed Thought for Thursday was brought to you by: The NEW JOB. Thank you for your attention.

October 1, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Pinot Evil - Pinot Noir Vin de Pays de L'ile de Beaute

For the record, there is no vintage year noted on the label of this Pinot Noir. I bought it a long while back...or maybe it was a gift. In any case, it was under $10 or it was free (online I saw it in the $6.00 range)! Clearly the best thing about this wine is the label:
I had this wine on a picnic up on my land. I was going to post a picture I took while up there of the leaves changing, but the sun was in just the right spot to wash out the picture making everything look very light green instead of having the contrast of the dark greens of the pines and the yellows of the bushes and aspens. Now I hear it's going to snow up there this weekend. Sorry to all of you that were hoping for some new pictures...sigh.

I digress. Anyway, my picnic guest and I found this Pinot a bit on the gritty side when first opened. It reminded me of those bottles of Chianti that have a basket around the bottle. After a second picnic glass, it seemed a tad less gritty, but that's probably because I was distracted by my company. This wine was definitely thinner than a typical Pinot Noir. It had more alcohol on the finish, which might have been why it seemed gritty at first, and was quite astringent. The nose (how it smelled) was light, but kind of like some choke cherry jelly I once had (choke cherries are very tart). The flavor was okay, but nothing really stood out. Nevertheless, it wasn't undrinkable and the label was good for conversation. The backside of the label has a lovely story about the monkeys, but then they also say it has a velvet finish. I don't think so. They suggest having with duck. I suggest, if you buy it, have it like I did...on a picnic with fruit, cheese, crackers and summer sausage.

Enjoy...maybe...heh.

September 30, 2008

Thought for Thursday - Taking Tucker to Tinkle

I think Tucker has learned that if he sits by the door, not only will I hop up off the couch to take him out to tinkle, but I might just hop off the couch everytime he desires to go out, even if he doesn't actually need to relieve himself. Smart little doggie...grrr. He did this three times in an hour. That kind of gave it away. Dang doggie just wanted me to let him out to sniff around, find other doggie doo doo to roll in or eat. GROSS! I'm not falling for the doggie by the door trick again. He gets out every few hours unless he's sick...that's it, I'm drawing the line! Unless he gets even and poops on the carpet. Then I might have to rethink that...

By the way, Tucker graduates next Sunday from puppy class. He has to demonstrate that he can do the following commands: Sit; Lay Down (which he can FINALLY do); Stay; Wait and then Come when called; Leave It (he's not so good at this, since the other doggies' poops are just so enticing) and Drop it (which oddly enough he usually does...unless it's poop of course). GAWD, doggies are just so disgusting sometimes...cute but gross.

September 29, 2008

Make My Monday - I Survived a Trip to the Hotbed of Bigotry

And I lived to tell about it! Those of you outside the state of Colorado might not immediately know where I went. I'll clue you in on that...Colorado Springs. Yep, that conservative attracting bastion of the religious right and fan club of the McCain-Palin campaign. I had some work to do there for the children. Thankfully, I was PAID to be there. And now I'm back in the safety of my own home, far away from the bigots. Don't get me wrong though, there are some nice people in Colorado Springs. And the city has an AWESOME view:
Sigh...at least it's a pretty place to visit. I just wouldn't want to live there. The main reason is the Focus on the Family campus and the people that work there. I believe that everyone has a right to have crazy thinking. I don't believe they have the right to thrust it upon others. I also object to the fact that for many years their campus was lit up like a roman candle after 11pm. Not sure if they finally figured out to turn out the lights and join the rest of the state in attempting to conserve energy, but I hope they've seen the light at least in that area...heh.

September 25, 2008

Thought for Thursday - Another Presidential Poll

Of course this is a fun interactive poll from Qdoba. Which I'm sure won't be available after the November elections. I'm a fan of their BIG Burrito's even if they're bad for the wasteline. To be fair and unbiased, I also like Chipotle's, however they don't have an interactive poll to share. They do offer several NATURAL meats for their entrees though, so they win on that score. Anyway, ignore the blatant marketing on Qdoba's part and have fun in the mean time. Let me know if you think it has any scientific value...hehehe. My favorite part is that the Chips and Salsa people in Colorado slightly favor McCain over Obama. Funny that people who like the least substantial menu item at Qdoba also favor the least substantial candidate...

September 24, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10 Rose Wine, 2007

Okay all you WHINERS out there...heh...I've relented somewhat and bought some PINK wine. No, it's not a White Zinfandel or one of those icky sweet ones though. My wine guy, Joe, at 3S Liquors knows what I like in general, so when I asked him for a suggestion, he recommended Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10 Rose Wine, 2007 from Washington state. It costs about $8.00.

I found it to be fruity but not so sweet that it's cloying. In fact, it's a bit tart too. I tastes best about 10 minutes out of the fridge, but still cold. I have to say it's still pretty tasty after an hour. I've had it with beef and chicken fajitas and leftovers...heh. Not bad. I think it would be excellent with pork and especially ham. Salt is a nice counter point to some sweeter wines.

This is what Columbia Crest said about their wine:

Tasting Notes
“Aromas of light red fruits, including fresh cherries, strawberries and a hint of watermelon open this Rosé. On the palate, lively acidity accentuates the bright flavors of berries and cherries and lead into a crisp and refreshing finish.” -Ray Einberger, Winemaker

Enjoy!

Update: By the way, lest you all think I've gone all foofy chick on you, the main grape in this Rose is a Washington state Syrah which gives this "pink" wine a much darker color. Think of it as HOT pink!



September 23, 2008

Tuesday's Time Waster - Making Report Templates

Well, today I spent about 4 hours making a template for evaluation data, so I could just put numbers in and then copy and paste it as needed. After all the time put in to this, someone actually suggested that we weren't supposed to arrange data in nicely lined up columns for ease of understanding (last part of that statement is mine). You can see why I love JOBs. Speaking of JOBs, I finally got a salary offer and it was actually a bit more than I expected. All the time spent last week on finding my inservice certificates worked out well! Now I just need to find my Social Security card...it's somewhere around here...I think.

September 22, 2008

Make My Monday - The Market Was Actually Up Last Week...

by 3 tenths of a percent. Or so I've been told. The recommended mindset is to not let short term volatility in the market mess up your long term plan. That works pretty much if you're doing a few things consistently.

1. Diversify - Make sure you have a truly asset allocated portfolio.
2. Dollar Cost Average - Make sure you put a regular amount of money into your asset allocated retirement plan every month...especially if your employer is matching it!
3. Discipline - Stick to your plan through thick and thin as it will pay off in the long run. This is particularly true if you've got 10 or more years until you'll be drawing on your retirement plan.

Remember that most companies are gonna be here after the market
volatility has stabalized. In the meantime, it's a good time to invest for long term goals, but not so much for short term. It's a good Monday for the long term. Too bad my new job benefits don't start until next month...heh.

September 17, 2008

Thought for Thursday - Just ANOTHER Example of Appalling Public Policy Approved by Elected Officials

If you're even contemplating voting for McCain and the woman who's name must not be said, then read this disturbing blog post from Feminist Finance.

Wednesday's Wine - Jacob's Creek Shiraz, 2006

I know you all have been just waiting and waiting for another wine review (and hoping that I don't WHINE about something). So here's the latest:
Jacob's Creek Shiraz, 2006 from South Eastern Australia. Very nice at $8.00 from 3S Liquors. However, it was not a typical Shiraz. The first taste I noticed was oak. Second, I noticed that it was a bold red and much closer to a Cabernet than I've come to expect from Shiraz (this one was earthy, where most have big ripe fruit flavors). It did have more berry notes than Cabernet, but then I also noticed kind of a black pepper taste on the finish.

Here's what Jacob Creek said about their wine:

"Colour:
Full depth crimson with purple hues

Bouquet:
Ripe cherry and dark berry with dried herb and spice.

Palate:
Ripe blackberry and plum with attractive mid-palate fruit sweetness. Medium bodied, with soft velvety tannins and subtle toasty oak."

Yeah, what I said, except that I noticed some pepper too. Maybe that's what they meant about "dried herb and spice." And maybe I smelled it...hmmm. Well, alrighty then. They suggested that this Shiraz goes well with beef, chicken and lamb. I had it with a steak (off the gas grill out on my balcony) one night, burrito's smothered with extremely hot pork green chili (and I do mean extremely hot...as in spicy hot) and I had it another night, but I can not remember what I had for dinner...sigh. What!?! I've been working a lot (that's probably a whine, huh?). Well anyway, I thought it was pretty good for the price and I would definitely buy it again. Enjoy!

September 16, 2008

Tuesday's Time Waster - Looking for Inservice Certifications

I found out that inservice transcripts are really just continuing education certificates. So I spent a couple hours this morning searching for all my different certificates that I've accumulated in the past 15 years. Unfortunately, my car was broken into a couple of years ago and a bag with a bunch of my newer certificates was stolen along with some valuable (only to a psychologist) test kits (I wonder if the robbers tried to figure out their own IQ's...heh). I did manage to throw some definitely useless papers in the recycle pile while I was at it!

I also found out from the HR gal that if I take one more graduate school credit and can round up about 240 hours worth of certificates I can have my salary bumped up almost $2,000 a year. I called the state licensing office to see if I could get copies of the certificates I submitted with both of my license renewal paperwork packets and for $15.00 I can have them tomorrow if I come to pick them up. Meanwhile, I'll keep going through files. Maybe digging through boxes of old psychology files and notebooks isn't quite the time waster after all!

September 15, 2008

Make My Monday - JOB Status Update

The school district HR department FINALLY contacted me to request graduate school transcripts! Now I have to call them to find out whether my "Issued to Student" transcripts are official enough (they had a rather vague description of what is NOT official) and also to find out what an Inservice Transcript is, because I've attended many inservices and received plenty of Certificates of Completion, but I have yet to ever see an Inservice Transcript. I suspect, I'll be stopping at my old grad school to request an "Official" transcript of my degree, but we shall see!

September 10, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Fox Brook Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005

Okay...right off the bat I should warn you that this was a really cheap wine. Like $4.00 cheap at 3-S Liquors. So if you're a wine snob, you can stop reading now. I say this, because I couldn't find anything on the internet about this California wine other than a few places where I could buy it and for how much (mostly around $6.00 to $7.00), not even an image. So I know this post will now show up in the google searches.

Anyway, it was really actually pretty dang good. I found it to be a bit thinner in consistency than a typical Cabernet...more like a Merlot. As a result, it wasn't quite as bold. If you prefer a Merlot or one of the pink wines, but want to check out a Cabernet for comparison, this wine would be a good start. Just understand, most Cabernets have more to them than this one does. Nevertheless, Fox Brook's Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 has good flavor and not a lot of noticeable alcohol (which I've mentioned before is often the case with the very low priced wines). It had a bit of a light cherry taste on the front and a smooth finish. For the price I would definitely buy it again. I had it with red chili one night and with salmon taco's another. I think it would go well with nacho's or pizza at a football party too! Anyway, if you can find it cheap in your neighborhood (meaning under $8.00), I would try it out. Enjoy!

September 9, 2008

Tuesday's Time Waster - Astraware Casino

About 10 days ago I was messing around with a little program on my Treo 700 (it's one of those Palm based Smart Phones). The little program is a semi-free application that let's me check the weather, the stock market, sport scores and entertainment news. It lets me do other things too, but I don't use the other functions. There's also a section of functions for purchase. One area is for downloading games. They gave me a free one...they're so devious. Anyway, I figured it wouldn't fit on my Treo anyway, since it has way too much stuff crammed on it. But it DID!!!

And this is what I got:

Okay that's a crappy screen shot. So you can just go visit Astraware and check out all the lovely time wasting games for yourself. You can find Astraware Casino on this page.

I have now successfully blown through hours of time and almost $1200 in virtual money. Very handy to play during boring meetings too! Let me know if you have a handheld PDA loaded with games and which ones you like the best.

September 8, 2008

Make My Monday - New TV Season & Bronco's Football

I have too many shows scheduled for my DVR. I'm gonna run out of room and have to delete some of my good lesbo movies. The first to go will be the ones I recorded off LOGO...too many commercials and all the good bits cut or blurred...heh. Of course I always delete the show episodes after I watch them. But with potentially two shows recording at the same time, the drive is filling up fast.

It's also MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL with the Bronco's versus the hated Raiders. I'm a wee bit into the Bronco's. That's all.

Oh, by the way, Tucker is feeling better and back to being frisky after spending the weekend feeling a bit under the weather. And the job is getting busier now...just figured you all would wanna know.

September 4, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday - Working and playing dog owner...is this what my life has become!?!

Well I got up this morning and did it all over again...well not quite. Wednesdays are killer days since I have to leave for the office at O'Dark Thirty. Hence no time for wine or whining. So today was much better, the sun was actually up when I took Tucker for our morning constitutional. I remember when I slept in until 7am or so every morning...sigh. Today I stayed in the north end of town to do evaluations. But tomorrow it's back to dropping off Tucker at the Doggie Day Spa...I mean Daycare...and racing across town in rush hour traffic to get to the office for meetings.

Fortunately, my first meeting is scheduled for 10am...so I can actually be leisurely about it. Whenever the salary position starts, the 8 hour work days start. Of course when you factor in the drive time it's closer to 10 hours if I'm down on the south end of town where the office is. On the other hand, with all the locations we serve, I'm not expected to actually go to the office everyday...whew! I probably would have inquired about part time just avoid that drive on a daily basis.

In doggie news, Tucker had his next round of shots. I thought they were his last round, but apparently not. His last set is in three weeks and in about 45 days, he'll be losing his doggie malehoodness. I'm sure that will be so much fun. I scheduled that for a Monday so I could put him in the Doggie Day Spa...I mean Daycare for convalescing during the week. Of course that won't work so well on Wednesday. Maybe I'll call in sick. Do they give doggie sick days?

Well, my life was rather mundane before, but with occasional sparks. Now it's downright boring. I work and I take care of a puppy...and I blog occasionally. What's up with my life...sheesh, I'm feeling old.

September 2, 2008

Tuesday's Time Waster - JOBs

So I had my interview today. And, as I suspected, my group interview was in fact viewed as mediocre. I don't present well in group interviews. "Hotseatitis", I think. My family moved some 14 times when I was a kid. I had to get pretty good at making friends, which I did on a one to one basis, but I was not so hot as the new kid in class. We also moved all over the country, so I didn't really sync up with conversational pacing (the psych speak for poor verbal social skills due to different speeds of communicating which vary from region to region in the US - think NYC versus "the south"), although I did very well with this in Omaha. Probably because the neighbor boy liked me and was very popular. It didn't hurt that we only had two classrooms of 5th graders.

Anyway, the big big boss is from Ohio and appreciated that I went to The Ohio State University. She also explained that in this school district (and I think in most jobs these days) people focus on how well you interact on a personal basis and less on how well you interact on a professional basis. I do very well on a professional level. Not so much on a personal basis. She said she's pretty much the same. Of course, I don't think we're quite THAT much alike on a personal basis, because I have a reason I don't discuss personal stuff at work. Despite the law, people still discriminate basis on sexual orientation. So while I will chat in general about my family, I do not discuss my day to day life. Add that to my general awkwardness in the syncing up on a social level and you get...well...me.

Oh well, at least my work speaks for itself and I've now been put on through to being recommended for hire (in a salaried position). If only I could have skipped the group interview...just one example of why having a JOB kinda sucks, that and having to actually work 40 plus hours a week (hence the time wasting...heh). There are some redeeming aspects of some JOBs. For example, if you have a passion for what you do, if you can land a position that is semi-autonomous, and if there's a pay scale that actually has raises that are predictable (so you're not at the mercy of kissing someone's ass to get a raise). As always...tune in sometime soon for another JOB update...

September 1, 2008

Make My Monday - Happy Birthday/Labor Day

As some of you know by now, it was my birthday on Saturday. For the record, I'm still between 40 and 50 years old...heh. Tucker was my primary gift to myself, but I also went to that HRC concert on Tuesday with a date for my birthday. It's a good thing that I did this as Saturday evening was a partial bust of a night. I did take advantage of the empty pool and hot day to go swimming in the morning and I went up to my land with Tucker to sit and contemplate nature. Here's Tucker on my land:

...wondering why I'm interrupting him from all the new smells to take a picture. But hey, I tell him, it's a command performance...heh.

So today is Labor Day...does that mean I should labor on something? Actually, you can see, I updated the blog page a bit and reorganized some things. Hope you like it!

August 28, 2008

Thought for Thursday - My Formal Interview is Set

My JOB formal second interview is set for Tuesday with the BIG big boss at the main administrative offices south of the Denver metro area. This means I'll be doing alot of driving. Poor Tucker, he'll be in the doggie spa...I mean daycare. I need to schedule his next round of shots, so I think those will have to be next Thursday unless I can have an appointment first thing Tuesday morning. I'm calling tomorrow morning to find out. If they can and they will take him in the day boarding next door I may schedule him for then. Otherwise it may have to be Thursday or Friday or the following Monday.

Tucker will be 15 weeks this Sunday and the boarding places don't usually take dogs under 16 weeks unless they have an isolation area like the one I usually use. That's because most dogs aren't finished with all their shots until then. We'll have to see whether the vet's kennel will allow him to board a week early if he gets his shots that day.

As for the future, I'll probably be using day boarding a few times a week for the next few months until he's really good at bladder control. Like on Wednesdays when I have to be at a team meeting so early I can't take him to the spa...heh...because they're not open before 7am near me. In the meantime, I hope to continue to have the autonomy I've had in the past, even if I'm on a salary. Of course, I'll be clocking in a lot more time for my pay. I can do this for a school year...really I can!

August 27, 2008

Wednesday's Whine - Whew...I'm Tired!

You may have noticed that I didn't post a time waster on Tuesday. That's because I had NO time to waste on Tuesday. After racing to work 3 days in a row last week and then doing it again this week, I should be tired. I know Tucker is! However, in addition to all the driving and actually working more than a few hours a day, I attended a fun "political" event last night with a new friend and date, here in Denver that was hosted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and local GLBT organizations called Rock to Win (see pictures here). Here's the poster:

Margaret Cho (not listed on the poster) was a last minute addition to the line up at the Filmore Auditorium and handled some of the introductions as well as sharing some heartfelt commentary about HRC and the push for equality (particularly for gay marriage) by the GLBT community. Margaret totally included herself in these comments as being part of the GLBT community, if anyone has had any doubts about that. She also invited all of us out to California to get married as she's now a Deputy Marriage Commissioner (I think that's what she said her title is). Additionally, Babes Around Denver (BAD) had their very own DJ Trina J spinning tunes and MCing before, between and after sets and speeches.

Of the entertainers, Thelma Houston was up first and belted out a medley of R&B tunes along with a couple of her own songs. Then we got to watch on the BIG screen as Hillary Clinton made her awesome speech to the Democratic National Convention crowd. After that Rufus Wainwright came out to entertain us all with over 30 minutes of his musical talent. The guys in the crowd were quite excited to see him and of course the made it hard for us shorter ladies to see him, but I got a good angle on it all.
Between sets there were HRC videos on the big screen as well.

Following some comments from the head of HRC,
Joe Solmonese. Cyndi Lauper and her band came out to rock the house for over 45 minutes. I've never seen her in person, but she put on a great show and also implored us many times to get out the vote. She also had her son come out on stage for her last number (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun) to dance with the band. He did the typical tween ham stuff as he did some break dancing and was quite cute about it all.

Somewhere in the mix, before the final act, Joe Solmonese spoke again along with Colorado's own openly gay Congressional District 2 Democratic candidate Jarod Polis (I was a delegate for him) as well as the GLBT laison from the Obama campaign. This all led up to the tremendous 60 minute set from Melissa Etheridge. She totally brought the house up and down with a set list she described as "a little intense" since it was all of her more political and gay activist type songs. After the show I overheard one the guys telling another guy how awesome she was. Of course two of her songs are about gay men who have died (Mark Bingham on Flight 93 and Matthew Shepard from a beating). In both cases, when Melissa introduced the songs with her traditional commentary, she became quite emotional. In fact, at one point she stopped singing directly into her microphone. Though still singing, it was obvious she was choked up.

So, including dinner at Hamburger Mary's with my date and the HRC concert as well as driving to and fro, I was out for over 7 hours (and finally in bed after 1am only to be up again at 6am). Poor Tucker was stuck at home in the bathroom...I mean his bedroom...all evening watching Animal Planet. I'm so proud of him though, because he actually used the pee pad for it's intended use instead of shreading it to pieces! Good dog! I had a great time at the concert (and with my date too)!

August 25, 2008

Make My Monday - My JOB Status Could Change Soon

I know...it's been less than a week since the last post regarding my never ending JOB story (even though I promised it would be awhile). However, I have been told that my boss and my boss's boss decided to send my application through for a formal second interview with the big big boss. That means I'm closer to a full time position. I'd seriously be happy with the part time independent contract I have now, if I could predict how many hours a week I'd be working and if I knew that the teachers weren't thinking that I'm not doing my job (I tend to think that might have something to do with the delay in getting the interview with the big big boss). Anyway, that's my status for now. The interview probably won't happen for a couple weeks or so. Until then we'll return to our usual Make My Monday posts next week...heh.

August 21, 2008

Thought for Thursday - The Wine from Wednesday is NOT from California

Yep...I was so tired yesterday, that I misread the label. This new white wine I'm trying right now is from the state of Washington. So, there you have it, I'm actually trying a wine made in the U.S. that isn't from California. Anyway, this wine is Columbia Crest's Two Vines, Vineyard 10 White Wine, 2006. I found it tart and crisp initially with nice fruit flavors of grapes and pears. On the finish it was more buttery, especially as it warmed up. As I mentioned yesterday, this White Wine is a blend of grapes as you can see from what Columbia Crest says about their own wine:

A fruit-forward white wine made predominantly of Washington state Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Showcases floral aromas with apple, pear and melon flavors. Serve with: Chicken, Fish and Asian-Inspired Dishes.


Of course I had this wine with four Taco Bell tacos yesterday (urp). And this evening, I had it with my own version of a chicken fajita wrap with a side of seedless watermelon. Yummy. Enjoy!

August 20, 2008

Wednesday's Whine - Too Tired to Blog about Wine

I've been getting up at 5:30am to get ready for work, walk and feed Tucker, and then drop him off at the doggy spa...I mean daycare. So after racing across town for 3 days on this new schedule, I thought I deserved a nice glass of a new wine and then I had one with dinner. Then I went to pick up Tucker, walk and feed him and then race off to the monthly Homeowners Association meeting. And I'm too tired to look up all the cool info on the wine I had with dinner. So, I'll have it up tomorrow. For now, here are some hints:

Since schools are back in session and the weather here is cooling down, I thought I should extend summer a tad with a white wine.

It's from California.

And, it's a tasty blend.

Check back tomorrow to find out what wine I had with my four Taco Bell tacos for a buck!

August 19, 2008

Tuesday's Time Waster - Sitting in Traffic

It takes me about 50 minutes to drive about 27 miles from the doggy spa...I mean daycare...to my "job" on the south end of the Denver metro area. And that's if the traffic is good (is that an oxymoron?). There are two of us that live on the north or northwest side of town. I'm pretty sure I drive the furthest. The good news is that several of the highest population learning centers that we service are in the north end of town. If my "job" actually hires me on a regular contract AND they hire a second psychologist, I'll get the north half and won't have to sit in traffic as often. I'm beginning to remember all the OTHER reasons I prefer to be an independent contractor. One good reason is being able to avoid commuting at the same time as everyone else. Yikes!

August 18, 2008

Make My Monday - Free Lunch & Puppy Biscuits

Had a day of "team building" today. But hey, lunch was provided! Tucker had another love filled day at the doggie spa...I mean daycare. I got off work about an hour earlier than expected, so I had some ALONE time! I went grocery shopping, I caught up on all my favorite blogs, and had dinner without having to guard my food! Then I went to get Tucker.

Tucker's a tad upset with me. His trainer and I introduced a gentle leader leash since he strains so hard against his regular collar and leash that he ends up starting to choke and cough. Tucker doesn't like the new leash at all. How do I know this? Well besides all his efforts to take it off, he peed twice on my carpet last evening and this evening he pooped on the carpet remnant by the sliding glass door to the balcony. Can you say, passive aggressive? On the other hand, he's actually catching on to how to walk on leash without tugging now. Tucker also learned to go down the stairs on his own yesterday and up the stairs today! We celebrated with his new puppy biscuits!

August 14, 2008

Thought for Thursday - Financial Hints

I've been working with clients in the financial business for almost 17 years now. And the BIGGEST key to financial freedom is: Do NOT spend money you don't have on things you do NOT need. That means if you can not pay cash for something, then you don't need it. Now I know you all with THINK that something you don't really need IS something you need, but it isn't.

So the second key to financial freedom is: Do NOT confuse wants with needs. Needs are food and shelter as well as those things that are directly responsible for getting food and shelter. Wants are everything else. Taking the bus or driving a low end car gets you to your job, which pays you money to buy food and shelter and therefore are part of needs. Buying a BMW is a WANT. If you have to finance a BMW then don't buy it. If you have to finance a low end car, then it's time to take the bus or carpool.

The third key to financial freedom is: Save 10% or more of your income every time you get paid. If you can not save because you're paying off credit cards, then get a second job...or a third. Suze Orman would agree. But if you don't like her...then just remember that Weyrd said so!

August 13, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Black Box Wines - Central Coast Shiraz

As promised today I'm reviewing a dreaded BOX wine. But first a disclaimer. Old school box wines are bad. They were bad when they first came on the market years ago and they're still not very good today. I wouldn't even bother trying them. You know the ones, even when the producer puts the wine in an actual bottle, it's bad. Just don't go there.

Now, that said, there are some good wines that are being put in boxes today because the packaging technology actually allows the wine to stay fresh, even after you "open" it. No need for special gas to spray in the bottle. No need to buy expensive re-corking kits. It's just a good way to package wine, especially your everyday table wines. My folks drank Ernest and Julio Gallo jug wines when I grew up as their everyday table wine. My mom bought a case every month: two Hearty Burgundy's, one Chablis and one Rose. And yes, they drank wine with dinner every evening. And no, they didn't get drunk (even though they also had a cocktail...it was the 60's & 70's mainly...don't y'all watch Mad Men or Swingtown!?!). It was usually one wine glass and maybe a spot more depending on the meal. My mom was a bit of gourmet cook (I say was because she claims that she doesn't like to cook anymore). So wine with dinner was a given. They also appreciated a good bottle of wine for special occasions and when dining out.

So here's the Black Box Shiraz. It's a good option for an everyday table wine, or to take on a camping trip of more than a couple nights (or with a big group). It holds the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine. Because the wine is in an airtight bag, you can "pour" a glass of wine without air ever touching the remaining wine. Black Box has several wines including this Shiraz. They're priced in the $20.00 to $25.00 range which is around $5.00 to $6.25 per "bottle".

The Shiraz is comparable to other under $10.00 wines, including the Rosemont Shiraz that I reviewed two weeks ago. It's slightly softer on the palate, but has good Shiraz flavor (mostly a nice low keyed berry taste). After several glasses, I've found this wine to be mellow, but full bodied, with little to no alcohol burn on the finish.

Here's what Black Box said about their wine:

Shiraz, or Syrah as it's often called in the U.S., is the classic red grape of France's northern Rhone Valley. Our 2006 Shiraz is from California's famed Central Coast wine growing region. We chose this region because it allows us to offer our customers the highest quality wine at the best possible value.

Shiraz is a wine known for its spicy, full bodied character. Our Shiraz "displays aromas of fresh blackberry, cherry and floral notes with hints of pepper and wood spice. A lush texture, with subtle tannins and notes of vanilla and toasted oak, lead to a soft and supple finish."

Enjoy!

August 12, 2008

Tuesday's Time Waster - Workshops & Contract Negotiations

I finally have a signed contract with the school district, but for now it's still an independent contract. The coordinator's boss definitely gives me the impression it's the coordinator's problem. I figure I'll be on this independent deal for a month to 45 days and then she'll figure out that A. No one is gonna apply and B. I know my shit. In the meantime, I attended a workshop on RTI (Response To Intervention) which is a data collection and analysis system to promote proactive early interventions for kids with academic, social-emotional or behavioral issues. I've had training on this several times, but every district has their own take and vocabulary. So I spent 4 hours getting up to speed on this. The big boss was thinking she wants to pay me less money per hour for this type of time, but now that she's pushing the coordinator to go ahead and hire me sooner than later, I think this idea will be dropped. I doubt I would have to attend these sessions in the future anyway, if they keep me on hourly, because it would be mostly a waste of my time and their resources. Even today could have been condenced into about 2 hours or so if they asked me...but of course they didn't...heh. So lucky for you all, I won't have much more to say on this topic for awhile!

August 11, 2008

Make My Monday - 1st Puppy Grooming Appointment

Mr. Tucker went to the vet this morning and the groomer's this afternoon. The vet decided he needed to have another course of antibiotics because he still has something. Yay. More pills for a longer time. Oh well. Other than sleeping more, he's still pretty much running around and trying to chew things!

The groomer improved things greatly! He got washed and his face, paws and butt trimmed! Here's a picture of his new look. Sorry it's a tad dark, it's been kind of overcast the past week or so and my Treo 700 (Smart phone that does too many things) does not have flash. I think his ears look funny with less hair...

August 7, 2008

Thought for Thursday - New Bosses

Well, I went back to the same job I had last year, but with the new bosses and still on an independent contract. And now I'm confused again about the "team" they're "forming". Last year we had 3 local part time psychologists who did assessments for both cognitive and social emotional areas as needed for students in special education, along with the occasional behavioral/treat assessments. Mostly we were reviewing previous assessments and updating files. I think combined we clocked in at maybe one full time position. I averaged about half time.

Now, they've hired a social worker who will do at least some of the social emotional evaluations. BUT, they've also hired a behavioral specialist. We're part of the "team" for a charter school that has multiple learning centers, but kids who have a lot of behavioral issues aren't appropriate for this program, therefore a behavioral specialist seems like a waste of resources. This specialist, combined with the social worker, also means there's no need to hire TWO psychologists like they are supposedly planning. Even though "our" coordinator is dragging her feet on officially hiring me because she wants to "match" the "two" psychologists they hire by "skill sets". I feel like, she's lukewarm about me and just doesn't want to make a commitment to hiring me unless she has no other option.

Conversely, "our" coordinator's boss seems to want to hire me and get things over with, but she also doesn't want to "undermine" the coordinator's position at this point. So, she's set up a temporary contract and hopes that this tactic with force the issue without direct intervention on her part. In the meantime, I benefit from slightly more pay than a regular salary and for now the hours are flexible. I figure with the contract cap I can work 3 days a week until the end of September unless the work load suddenly explodes. Then they either have to renew the independent contract or get over themselves and offer me a real salaried position. Of course, I might not want it by then, except I like the job itself...heh.

August 6, 2008

Wednesday's Whine - Driving Mr. Tucker

Well today was over 120 miles on the Subaru to visit 4 different clients...with poor Tucker in his crate in the back seat. Fortunately, he got to meet new people and get out to stretch his legs. Unfortunately, with a puppy I haven't had much wine in the past week. I will say I am trying a...wait for it...box wine. Yep...after a few more glasses of it, I'll have a review for you. Check back here next week!

August 5, 2008

Tuesday's Time Waster - Visiting Blogs

Although I have a really busy rest of the week, I took a few minutes out to catch up on blog reading. This invariably leads to comment reading. Which then leads to reading the commenters' own blogs. Today I discovered Yankeegirl's blog Taking Steps. And while reading back through her old posts I found a lovely new time waster fit for the psychologist that I am. Here are my results:

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (42%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (62%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by similarminds.com


Let me know how which brain you are.

August 4, 2008

Make My Monday - 1st Puppy Class

Sunday afternoon, I took Tucker to his first of 8 puppy classes. He did a terrific job with the two commands that we learned: "Watch me" and "Sit". We practiced a bit last evening and this morning. He still remembers them. Of course, he gets a treat for remembering. Eventually, we're suppose to ween off regular treats into just verbal praise and pats. We'll see how that goes. By the way, in class with us are a gal, her girlfriend and their kids (and their very smart dog). She came up to me afterwards and said, "Hi Weyrd, I'm H..., remember me?" I knew the gals were together, but it didn't occur to me that I knew either one of them. Turns out I did know H... as we used to socialize a bit at a nightclub in town about 20 years ago. Haven't seen her since. Now we'll probably catch up over the next 8 weeks of Sunday afternoon classes.

Tucker's potty training is going pretty well. Since Wednesday he's only had three small accidents. One was in the bathroom on the tile when Weyrd was taking too long getting ready to leave. The other two were near the door. Tucker tends to balk at doors and apparently if he has to wee...he promptly piddles right there on the carpet. He's none too thrilled with going out my front door or with going up and down my outside steps since you can see between the steps to the floor below us. However, Tucker will go IN my front door now. He will also go down most solid steps if they aren't too steep and up a few solid steps.

I've taken Tucker off leash part of the time inside now, as long as he recently pottied outside (Tucker still thinks the doggie litter box is a bed and the doggie litter is a toy...this is different stuff from cat litter, btw). He likes to race around the outer part of my living room and between the furniture as fast as he can. Sometimes with a toy in his mouth. Tucker will also throw a toy around or up in the air and then pounce on it. The other thing he likes to do is roll around on the floor growling and acting like a ferocious huge dog. I'll attempt to capture some video at some point. In the meantime, Tucker is also learning the cue of "Uhn uhn" which if given more than once or twice results in a removal of attention or a time out. Hopefully, he figure out that chewing on furniture stuff isn't so fun afterall... Now it's time to go check out Doggie Day Camp.

July 31, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday - This is Tucker and other news

Everyone has been asking to see a picture of Tucker and here he is! As you can see, he probably needs to go to the groomer's. I'm not sure he's ever been, so we might do that tomorrow or sometime next week. Right now we're working on potty training, sleeping through the night without whining and what he's allowed to chew.

Potty training is actually going very well. Sunday evening and Monday he had a few issues with peeing and pooping on the carpet or bathroom floor. Fortunately, Weyrd got some good suggestions and Tucker had no indoor incidents on Tuesday or Wednesday!

Tucker is also learning to sleep through the night without whining. Sunday night he whined all night and Weyrd got very little sleep. Having a new puppy and not sleeping much the first night, in combination with Weyrd's new multivitamins led to a few days of feeling queasy and wondering if a puppy was a good idea (this leads to loss of appetite and weight loss on Weyrd's part which isn't so bad). However, the multivitamins have been discontinued (yesterday) and Tucker hardly made a peep last night, so Weyrd is feeling much better about puppy ownership today.

By the way, things that work are using the dog crate (it's cozy and ultimately calming) and wearing an old t-shirt and then putting it in the crate with him. We're now working on leaving him in the crate for a few hours during the day to build up to 9 hours or so by day. I'll probably get a kennel at some point in the next week. A neighbor has two dogs that are a bit bigger than Tucker and they are very good with being in their kennels while she's at work. She says dogs sleep alot more than people think (until they own one) and with a kennel there's room to get up and move around and play with small toys. With a portable kennel, I can put him in the living room where he can look outside and also watch Animal Planet (another friend does that with her dogs).

Chewing is another issue. The vet's dog trainer said to keep him on his leash during times outside of the crate so I can control where he goes and what he does. Unfortunately he likes to chew the leash, so I may get a lightweight chain for that purpose. He's also more comfortable with me, so he thinks I might be a giant chew toy...um...No Tucker! Right now he has a nubby ball, a rope with two knots, a chicken liver flavored rubber bone and for the crate he has a buddy to lay on that has a tail for chewing. He also has two towels (one in the living room and one in the crate) and my old t-shirt. So that's the news about Tucker for now.

In other news, I finally got a reasonable explanation regarding the job situation. The gal in charge of the whole department is dealing with several new people and attempting to NOT tell them how to do their jobs. First she has a new HR director (and last year the district got a new Finance Officer) so they didn't know what to do regarding paying me hourly and had to meet and draw up proposals. Now all of this would be moot, if the gal she hired to be our department coordinator would just hire me on a regular salary contract. That's the gal who is working on "forming a team" and she feels uncomfortable pulling the trigger until she has a pool of applicants to match up together by areas of expertise. Unfortunately for her, no one is applying for the other position, so the gal I've been talking with said at some point she thinks they'll convert me from hourly to salary but she wants her new coordinator to come to that conclusion on her own (so as to empower her).

And actually as I have mentioned before, I prefer the hourly independent contractor pay (a 1099 contract), if the pay is the same as what I got last year. Because, the annual amount for full time is slightly more pay than I would get with the value of salary and benefits combined. The only issue with being on an hourly contract is that it's less certain long term and I'm not sure what they would do regarding raises if they kept me on a 1099. If they decide to keep me on a 1099 contract, I will set up an additional retirement plan for the self-employed to sock away more money than I can with just my Roth IRA. That's the news for now. When I have a signed contract of some sort, I'll provide an update!

July 30, 2008

Wednesday's Wine - Rosemont Shiraz, 2005 Diamond Label

So while I was in Texas, I visited with my mom and tried 3 different white wines (and a sparkling white wine that was served at a "Champagne" Brunch on the last day of my visit there). While at my brother's house, I picked up a bottle of Rosemont Shiraz, 2005 from Rosemont Estate's Diamond Label. In Texas, groceries stores have wine departments and the local H.E.B. (or Heeeeb as I call it) has quite a collection of low cost tasty wines. This one was on sale for $9.50. It took me 4 dinners to drink this wine (I was nephew sitting, ya know). So I had it with pizza, mac-n-cheese, burrito's, and turkey hamburgers.

Based in South Eastern Australia, I used to consider Rosemont the standard bearer for Shiraz. In fact, the first bottle I had a few years ago seemed awesome and I finally understood what the phrase "big fruit" meant. Several Shiraz's later and years later, this Shiraz was good, but not the experience I remembered. The bottle is different too, so it's possible that this Shiraz is not from the same vines as the first one. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. I found it smooth at first with a nice fruit flavor that was slightly berry like. On the finish there was a slight burn of alcohol. I found it to be bold, but without the "big fruit" sensation of berries popping in my mouth that I recalled from my first bottle of Rosemont Shiraz.

Here's what Rosemont Estates said about their Diamond Label Shiraz:

Richly textured with well defined, ripe blackberry fruit flavours, soft generous tannins on the mid-palate and a long rich finish. Try with lamb, pasta, antipasto, osso bucco.

Enjoy!