Monday, November 27, 2006

One Puppy's Thanksgiving

Last Monday, I stayed up past midnight creating a slideshow to accompany my final presentation for class the next day. As I finally started to get ready for bed, I noticed that one of the cats was spending a lot of time in the living room window, staring and chirping at something outside. As it was a cold night, I just figured that a possum or raccoon was taking refuge against the side of the house--or that the mice living in my heating ducts were having a party.

At about three in the morning, I was awakened from homework-induced slumber by a bloodcurdling series of grunts and squeals outside the window of my basement apartment. After going outside several times and seeing nothing, I finally just stood by the door and talked coaxingly to my air-conditioning unit. Sure enough, after a minute or two a tiny, scabby, beady-eyed white head nudged round the corner of the unit. He was so dirty and emaciated that for one awful moment I didn't even realize he was a dog.

I pulled him into the bathroom, warmed some milk, spooned out some cat food, and plunked him on my lap to warm him up.

Here is what he looked like when I brought him in:

He was too weak to stand up straight, but in too much pain to lie down. After he had some water and whatever food I could find, he settled for half-draping himself across my lap. Every time I got up, he tried to wobble after me.

In the morning I took him to the vet's, where he was diagnosed with malnutrition, dematectic ("Red") mange and coccidia, an internal parasite. He stayed for three days to be cleaned inside and out.

I also checked the spot where I'd found him (much less scary in the daylight!) to see if there were any other puppies. Instead, I found a nylon dog crate in the street, the inside covered with many days' worth of sick-puppy-filth. This puppy wasn't born to a stray mother, nor did he wander away from his litter and get lost. Someone deliberately dumped him.

Sometimes I hate people.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Go Team!

So with the help of my peers and some good advice from Nonprofit Dave, I solved the sticky work issue by sending Boss a discreetly-worded email and participating in a mostly civil and mature meeting.

Thank you, Getting to Yes. Separate the people from the problem! Don't negotiate on positions! Testify, bruthas and sistas!

Monday, November 13, 2006

A little structure in a mad world

In an effort to cope with work frustrations, I have been reading some essays from James V. Schall's Idylls and Rambles and listening to Bach's B Minor Mass. I turn to Bach's music in the hope that his unwavering musical compass will serve as a moral one for me. Its precise, mathematical beauty untangles a mind snarled in its own anger.

Here's a question for the ages: if there's something you're supposed to do for your job that's not bad, but that makes you uncomfortable and may cause unpleasant repercussions, do you do it? Do you "take action against a sea of troubles" by telling your supervisor you think it's inappropriate? What if you already have a history as a "troublemaker"--in a Socratic gadfly kind of way?

There's something that I am required to do as part of my job. I don't think it should be done--at least not the way it is currently structured--and I don't think it's right to demand that someone in my position do it. I could tell my boss. He might react one of several ways: (1) by empathizing with my point of view; (2) by telling me to shut up and cooperate quietly for once; or (3) by changing the requirement and then passive-aggressively blaming me for rocking the boat and making life even more difficult for him.

Hence the Bach.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Adventures of a Novice Wrench Wench, Part 1

Success! I have successfully overhauled the rear wheel shifting system on my bike. This is the most complicated repair I've done yet.

Saturday night (3 hours):
  1. Removed rear derailleur from bike and cleaned thoroughly with denture brushes, Simple Green and WD-40.
  2. Scrubbed chain link by link with toothbrush and dish soap.
  3. Wiped grease off face, scoured fingers with toothbrush, and dashed out of house to serve as marketing ambassador for The Brothers Karamazov.
Tuesday night (2.5 hours):
  1. Bought cable cutters, cable and housing.
  2. Removed old cable. (rusty derailleur cable = fun new cat toy!)
  3. Took GripShift apart. Dropped spring assembly; spent 1 hour trying to figure out how to return spring to "spring cavity." Replaced accidentally-wiped-off GripShift lube with Vaseline.
  4. Ran cable through arbitrary lengths of housing; attached derailleur cable; adjusted; prayed.
  5. Hopped into car to hear election news from Stewart and Colbert.
Wednesday morning:
SUCCESS!! Quick & dreamy shifting!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I guess this is how I get a profile photo?

If you're the praying kind...

please say a prayer or send some positive wishes for Lauren and David. Lauren is a PAM classmate of mine; her fiance David leaves for boot camp today. I love and respect them and the relationship they have, and I wish them all possible courage and strength while they are apart.


Just looking to see how this compares to my other blog.