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'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 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 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."


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 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

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.