The Westering Hills

Call me morbid, call me pale. . .

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Baby otters and fawns and stuff!

Please check out Sea Shepherdess's blog for a good/sad otter update and pix of a very cute fawn!

Friday, April 28, 2006

A quiet week

Sorry for the lack of posts but after Monday's self-created drama, there hasn't been much going on at Casa de Westering Hills. The weather has been gorgeous--blue sky, sunny, 70 degrees--every day and I've been enjoying our back deck once more in the afternoons with a book and a bowl of popcorn. I've been trying to rouse myself from inertia with regards to house chores but haven't found the interest.

Thus, I am glad to be getting away from the house for a day or so by going on the annual Yakima Valley Winery tour with my friend Gregg's dad et al! We leave this afternoon and return t'mrow evening. With the exception of a few years that I could not join, I've been doing this trip since 1996 and always look forward to it. The Yakima Valley is south and east of Seattle, just over the Cascade Mountain range. The valley is the same latitude/longitude/whatever as the wine-growing regions in France (at least, this is what I recall but am too lazy to fact-check for you) so excellent wine is produced there. For this one weekend in spring, the string of 30 wineries are open to the public and you are able to taste the wines, then buy them. We always start at one end and work our way to the other, skipping the wineries we don't like. It's the only time of the year that it feels "okay" to drink wine before noon--hell, before 10am! This year, it's Gregg's dad, Gregg, Gregg's girlfriend, and a few others I've never met. Sadly, Barrett can't make it as his band is playing a show t'mrow evening. That's the only bummer.

The other exciting (to me, at least) thing that I am looking forward to when I return is my volunteering at the Seattle branch of the National Archives! I feel like a complete dullard for not realizing until two days ago that the National Archives had a branch here in Seattle. After all these years of dreaming about working at NARA, I could've been volunteering (and possibly employed, who knows!) in my own backyard! As Chris Farley would say, "Stupid, stupid, stupid!" I've contacted the volunteer coordinator and will be stopping in on Monday, if not today. She said they are very eager for volunteers. Masters degree specializing in research and archiving, here I come!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm over it!

Okay, so it took one day of me being really upset, and then one day of being depressed about finances and feeling low in the self-worth department, and then today, I'm fine! It was just a job interview, there will hopefully be other ones in the future, more hopefully with the U. W. In retrospect, here are some good and bad aspects of that day:

BAD

- I've never not gotten a job I've interviewed for so that was a blow to my ego, which is hilarious because that just means I've been incredibly lucky all these years.

- The hiring manager told me that the person they did hire had "broader skills for the position" than I. That puzzled me at first--broader skills to answer the phone, type info in a database, set up classrooms, order textbooks, etc.? I could do that job so easily, it almost hurts. In pondering that further, I think (and readers, correct me if you think I'm wrong here) that was a very polite way of telling me that she thinks I am overqualified for the position and is afraid I might get bored with it. Some of their questions to me in the interviews were going down that path. So crap, it's just what I feared--I stayed in my last job too long and have effectively hemmed myself into a job type I want nothing to do with, yet I can't go "lower" because I'm "too qualified." What the hell am I supposed to do? I've already dumbed down my resume as much as I can. . .

- I was very disappointed in not getting this job because not only were they very nice people that I wanted to work with but (forgive the horrible sentence structure here) one of the main reasons I (and many others, I know) want to work for the U. W. is the free tuition per quarter benefit that goes with it. By working there, I could essentially get my Masters for almost free. If I don't, it will cost me roughly $30K. This benefit is so important to me that when I heard I wasn't hired, I felt like my future Masters degree flew out of my grasp.

GOOD

- The hiring manager did tell me that she and the staff really really liked me and that it was a close call. All standard things to tell the loser, I suppose.

- But then she went on to say that if another position opened up in that department, she would hire me on the spot. AND THEN, she said that she thinks I would make a great U. W. employee and was going to call around to other managers she knows to see if they had any openings to recommend me for! This is not a standard thing to say to the loser; why would she say those things if she didn't mean it? I believe her and I thanked her profusely for that, letting her know that if she did that for me, I would really appreciate it because I would love to work for the U. W., blah blah blah (hopefully I wasn't too ingratiating, I barely remember what I said because I was trying not to cry).

- I then proceeded to drink a few yummy vodka drinks out in the hot sun on the back porch for the rest of the day, talked to my mommy ("Mommy, the mean people didn't hire me, wahhh!"), and then talked to a very old friend that I haven't said boo to since about 1986. So the day certainly wasn't a total wash! And Barrett came home later that evening and that is always a very good thing.

Finis.

On a more personal note, I would like to tell Sher at What Did You Eat? that I'm sooo glad she is out of the hospital and doing well. Also, I made her Salmon with Chiles dish and we declared it "a keeper!" So delish!

Monday, April 24, 2006

I didn't get the job.

So after I found out, I had my cry and my anger and my hurt and my feeling utterly worthless moments, and then decided that I could blog about it in an objective way. But it turns out that I am still feeling angry and hurt and utterly worthless an hour later, so I'll have to be objective about it tonight or t'mrow.

Friday, April 21, 2006

WCB #46

Whenever we bring a box into the house, it is immediately taken over by Colin, whereupon it becomes that day's Best. Toy. Ever. And playing with other toys within it is the Most. Fun. Ever!


Oh, that darn tail! I'll get it yet!


See Kiri rip it up over at Clare's House o' TP!

Time to concentrate on food instead of anxiety

Nope, haven't heard yet. I will be calling her on Monday morning if I don't hear anything by the end of today, just to check on status and let her know I am very interested. I'm not going to sweat it anymore as it is clearly out of my control for now.

I am instead going to get back to the cooking! Here are some healthy recipes that I'm going to make this weekend/coming week:

Salmon with Chiles and Basil

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Creamy Wild Rice Soup
Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms
Spring Onion, Sweet Pea, & Asparagus Risotto
Various salads, sort of a mix and match

I've fallen a bit off of the the strict Weight Watchers wagon and need to climb back on. I only have 5-8 lbs to go! This weekend with Barrett (I'm giving up calling him by his initials) gone is a good opportunity for me to do this. It really can be a bit harder to diet with someone else in the house and by that, I mean I'm eating all of Barrett's tortilla chips, dammit!! So it's nobody's fault but my own.

Off to the lake. Bye!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Big Nothing

Not a peep, not a word, not a call. Someone told me that since the U. of Washington is a gov't operation, they are notoriously slow with processes. So I will wait with kittycat zen patience.

BW leaves very early t'mrow morning for four days, heading off to Providence, RI, as his band is playing at the Terrastock Festival. They are also playing a show in New York City t'mrow evening and he will be seeing our dear friend Howard while there. Here is a photo of me and Howard taken back in, uh, 2002, I think, when I visited him in NYC:
I've always liked this photo because it's so washed out as to render us both just a pair of eyes and lips. There was some reason why we deliberately took our photo in front of this painting at the Pig n Whistle Irish pub and now I can't remember why. Howard, do you?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nothing, I heard nothing today.

Sigh.

*sips glass of white wine, wonders what tomorrow will bring*

"Why haven't you called Shannon yet?!! She's driving me crazy!!"

Another plug for the critters

I know, I've already linked to my sister's blog once before but she's updated it WITH BABY OTTER PHOTOS. Need I say more? Go gaze at the cuteness!

Monday, April 17, 2006

I could wear jeans to work, JEANS!

My "meet the staff" interview went well! Besides the program manager, there were five others, a mix of ages and all women but one. They were all very nice and told me about their individual positions in the program. I noticed that two of them were wearing jeans. Jeans, in the middle of the week, not just a Casual Friday! Man, to be able to wear pretty much whatever I want at a job would be great. . . but I digress. More importantly, the fact that they were wearing jeans just lent credence to what I'd gleaned from the first interview, that this is a open, casual office. I could dig that, after the slow, soul-crushing that was my last job. They all seemed impressed that I'd been at my last employer for 9 years. They asked me questions, I asked them some questions, there was a lot of laughing, and by the end of the 45 minutes, I really felt that I was "in." The hiring manager told me that there was one other strong candidate and would let me know "very soon" her decision.

I feel so sure of my impending hiring that I will be quite crushed if I am not offered this job. You all have been forewarned!

I'm off to my "second interview"

Wish me luck, internet peoples! I'll tell all when I return this evening.

Yep, it's a different template!

I got tired of the old one so I switched. This one is similar in color but feels cleaner to me, for some reason. I did lose all of my links but that's it. When I was little, I used to change the furniture around in my bedroom all the time because I would get sick of it looking the same, always searching for the perfect set-up. I suppose this is the blogging equivalent of that!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

WCB #45

We're having a garage sale today at the Westering Hills Estate. Gettin' rid of some old stuff, some stuff we don't use anymore, and one item in particular that we really think will fetch a handsome price. If interested, do what the sticker says and make an offer!

See other cats for sale, or at least for rent, at Clare's!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Further proof that I am a Big Dork.

We're having a garage sale t'mrow and this afternoon, I went out to the garage to get all of the non-sale items scooched to the back so nobody would mistake our precious gardening equipment as "for sale." As I was stacking boxes and whatnot on top of each other, I noticed that there was a shelf high above my head that was relatively empty. Perfect for stacking stuff! I grabbed an empty box and, on tippytoe, shoved it above my head. It got up there but was leaning against the fluorescent light fixture. My practical Capricorn self could not stand for that--it must not be leaning against the light fixture! So I grabbed one of my old crutches to poke it into place.

I'm not sure what happened next, it all happened so quickly. As I poked, the crutch knocked against the light fixture. One of the fluorescent bulbs fell out of the fixture, cracking and dropping glass on me, and in a panic, I leaped out of the way as the long bulb came shattering to the floor. Somewhere in there, the crutch hit my face and I gave myself a fat, bloody lip. All of this took place in about 3 seconds, mind you.

Big. Fat. Dork. This could only happen to me. As my dad would say, "Way to go, Calhoun!"

Hopin' to help the critters!

Here's what I hope to do once again this year at Wolf Hollow with Heather some Saturday morning:

Feed baby crows. . .

and help give multiple baby harbor seals their daily baths (much hard work paid off by much cuteness)!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

News!

As some of you have guessed via emailing me, this is about a new job! I had an interview last Friday morning for a job at the University of Washington (won't go into details yet to hang onto the last vestiges of superstition/jinxing) (it's just an admin assistant-type job, by the way) and the hiring manager called me on Monday to say that she was calling my references. She just called me and asked me to come into the office next Monday so "the staff could meet me." I take that as a good sign!

As you may know from reading my blog or just knowing me, I quit my job of many many years last November. I quit without another job lined up, too. AND I have a mortgage! Scary, eh? Well, it wasn't. It was exhilarating and the right thing for me to do in terms of my mental health. I had, however, been actively applying for jobs since last January (that's 2005, kids). Can you believe that this job interview I just had at the U. W. was the FIRST ONE in the 15 months I've actively been seeking new employment? Now that's frightening to me. I was on the verge of job-seeking despair, truth be told, and was getting ready to join a temp agency for some temp work when this department called me in for this interview. I am, in short, mighty relieved. I am also quite ready to go back to work after a 6 month "sabbatical." Keep your fingers crossed for me!

No news yet.

So nothing much to report from the Shannon household. I'm hoping to hear something today or t'mrow. To keep my mind off of it, I am going to the gym today, and then I'm going to make Orangette's Endive, Feta, Radish, and Cilantro salad and a potato-leek soup. Then, I will be pricing stuff for our garage sale on Saturday.

Since this post is so tedious, I will leave you with a photo I found online:

Monday, April 10, 2006

iPod/mp3 player as Magic 8-Ball meme!

Okay, it's not really a meme but I'm turning it into one. I saw this on Catheroomination's blog and it looked like fun--and face it, easy--so I wanna do it too! I tag anyone reading this who has an iPod type device!

Directions: Shuffle all the songs in your iPod (or in my case, mp3 player), then use the resulting songs to answer the following questions, in the order in which they appeared.

How does the world see you?

Come On! Feel the Illinoise! - Sufjan Stevens [okaaaaay. . .]

Will I have a happy life?
William, It Was Really Nothing - The Smiths [hmmm. . .]

What do my friends really think of me?
Weekends in Jail - The Intelligence [ha! if only I were that interesting!]

Do people secretly lust after me?
You've Lost Me There - Cardinal

How can I make myself happy?
Cynical Days - XTC [yep, pretty much]

What should I do with my life?
Failure - Kings of Convenience [oh, great]

Will I ever have children?
Peep-Hole - Guided By Voices [sounds kinky!]

What is some good advice for me?
Mohawk - Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker [HA! I have been irritated with my hair lately. . .]

How will I be remembered?
Gouge Away - Pixies

What is my signature dancing song?
Felicity - The Wedding Present [I adore this song so perfect!]

What do I think my current theme song is?
Lament - Blake Babies [yeesh]

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
No Motion - Dif Juz

What song will play at my funeral?
Petty (Thief) Lout - The Fall [hee!]

What type of women men do you like?
West Coast Love Affair - Unrest

What is my day going to be like?
Another Bridge - Everything But the Girl [this could be very appropriate, considering the potentially exciting news I will reveal later this week!]

Not exactly Cuteoverload.com material

Am I the only one out there who didn't know about the existence of these Continental Giant Rabbits? There's something terribly wrong when the fluffy-wuffy bunny's head is bigger than your own.

The Schnozz is back!

She has recovered from her vacation at the lovely Sea-Tac Airport, uh, I mean Seattle and has posted all about it!

Note: I realize that her photos are meant to reflect her and her time in Seattle, but I do feel the need to point out that one of those photos of me (specifically the first one in front of my house) is one that I would've deleted off of my own camera in a heartbeat, due to the fact that my hair looks pretty bad and the crows-feet around the eyes, my god, the crows-feet! Me and natural light = not so hot. Me and candlelight = smokin'. From now on, all photos of myself will be taken in candlelight or Photoshopped into sepia tone. I so decree.

However, I do look pretty great as a comic character! The Great Schnozz-Off comic extravaganza has delighted me to no end. She's a genius, folks, I'm tellin' ya! I'm betting for a small fee or more pretty shoes, she will turn your life into a comic adventure as well; no harm in asking, right?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Weekend Sea Lion Blogging!

I just have to give the mad props to my sister, Heather, for her new blog, Sea Shepherdess. If you want to read about the weekly happenings at San Juan Island's Wolf Hollow wild animal rehab center, as well as see photo of the wild animals they are rehabbing, this is the blog to check out! I assume she will also be talking about the work she does at her job with the Sea Shepherd, too, which is also cool.

And by me calling attention to her blog, it will force her to blog more often--bwa ha ha! I am so clever, I kill me.

Friday, April 07, 2006

WC-BB #44

You read that correctly: WC-BB! This is a very special post here at Westering Hills; not only is it Weekend Cat but also Weekend Blogger Blogging, where feline and blogger collide! Dear readers, I present Colin and the infamous Schnozz!
Here you have proof that it is possible for a cat to look both bemused and resigned at the same time. Too hilarious.

See other photos just as beautifully posed at Clare's!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

There is a thing as too much pizza.

I know some of you may disagree but I finally reached that point last night. I like pizza, don't get me wrong, but for me, pizza is a once-in-a-blue-moon food. I don't usually crave it and don't eat it more than once every few months. But this past week, it's been all about the pizza! I suspect it may be diet backlash. In any case, between all the pizza and all the houseguests (and hence, all the eating out), I haven't really been cooking food at home--except for this delightful recipe that I found while flipping through a Cooking Light magazine at the gym. BW and I both pronounced this a keeper. Here it is, I paraphrase quite a bit as I'd hastily scribbled it on the back of scrap paper:

Linguini with Basil-Pea Cream Sauce

1/2 cup chopped leek

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

20 oz. frozen peas

1 cup fresh chopped basil, packed

1 tbsp olive oil

16 oz. mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

12 oz. linguini

Salt, pepper to taste

Fresh basil for garnish


- Saute leek in butter for 3 minutes until soft. Get the linguini started; cook until done, drain, and set aside in the meantime.


- Stir in 3/4 cup of the broth and all of the peas. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes.


- Remove about 1 cup or so of the pea/leek mixture and set aside. Add to the remaining pea mixture the rest of the broth, the 1 cup of basil leaves, and the olive oil. Blend in blender or use immersion blender. Add the pea mixture you set aside back in for texture.


- Saute the mushrooms and the garlic in butter or oil until soft. Stir into the pea mixture, add the cooked linguini.


- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garnish of fresh basil if you wish.

Notes: I used whole wheat penne instead of linguini; I think whole wheat pasta works well with the hearty pea sauce. I would also add more chopped basil to the pureed pea mixture, as it was overwhelmed by the peas (which is fine since the peas themselves are sublime, but then pointless in the first place, yes?) (maybe the basil adds texture to the peas somehow?).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

This was me a year ago.

Kinda sad, eh? I always thought that if I ever broke one of my lower extremities that I would be one of those amazingly capable people that just went on business as usual, I'm just on crutches, no big deal, la la la! Instead, my body betrayed me so much during this time that I couldn't even use a normal crutch for my left arm since I sprained my wrist using the normal crutch. Hence the Dork Crutch. (The keyword there is "dork," by the way, as in "I am a big.") And because of the Dork Crutch and the fact that my doctor kept me in a cast for FIVE WEEKS (which I felt was excessive; there was a woman at my work who had surgery on her broken ankle and she was only in a cast for three!), I just fell apart and lay on the couch every night, whinging about how much it sucked to be immobile, how much it sucked to be me, wah wah wah. I don't know how BW kept his eye-rolling hidden so well from me. I still owe him for those weeks of Whinefest.

This was my foot about an hour after the cast was taken off:

Gross, isn't it? I didn't expect to see that long bruise on the side of my foot at all but I thought that was kinda cool. Also, all that dark yellow skin on my heel and toes? Half an inch of dead skin, my friends. And of course, five weeks of hair growth on my leg, all squished down flat--mmmm, sexy! My new motto for the rest of my life is "Never break another bone again, dumbass!" 'Cuz when you're an adult and you break a bone, it doesn't get you out of PE class like it did when you were a teenager; it just makes you want to throw your Dork Crutch across the livingroom in a fit of frustration one evening, scaring the crap out of the cat. (I didn't do that, no sirree, not me!)

La Schnozz is still here, y'all.

She did not make it out of the clutches of Seattle. She has just awakened. We are hoping she can catch a flight today so keep your fingers crossed!

Sorry my posts have been short. It's just one of those "short post" phases I'm going through. More later, I promise! (I love how I'm under the impression that anyone actually cares. Heh.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Dream blog!



In case anyone is interested, I've created a dream blog. You can view it by going to my profile and clicking on it. I decided to try and keep a journal of my dreams, as they are prone to being very vivid and odd, even hallucinatory at times. Maybe everyone's dreams are like this, I don't know. It seems that most people I talk to don't remember their dreams--how sad for them! Then again, if they have nightmares, it may be for the best. Me? I don't have nightmares. I don't even have bad dreams. I consider myself lucky in this regard! Anyway, read it or don't. The dream blog is really just a blog for my funky subconcious and my subconcious doesn't care if it has an audience!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dan vs. The Butter Police

This short restaurant review by Dan Savage made me laugh, especially the last sentence. What on earth would possess a restaurant to make this type of asinine business decision?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

WCB #43

This is one of the many places that Colin likes to hide so he can jump out at us when we walk by. He enjoys the sneak attack (no claws, bless him!) so much, that we often make a game of it: "Doot doo doo, here I am, walking by the table, not a kitten in sight, doot doo doo," we'll sing-song aloud as we pass by the table, then WHAM! Kitten Sneak Attack, whereupon he runs away, wild-eyed and happy. Best Game Ever. Being a kitten must be loads of fun.

Colin turns 7 months old this week--they grow up so fast! Sniff!

See Kiri the wooly turtle and a host of others at Clare's!

The Almighty Schnozz came to Seattle. . .

. . . and I forgot to bring my damn camera! So y'all's just gonna have to meander on over to her place to hear the tales of noses, hoodies, and otters! (Noses, hoodies, and otters, oh my! Noses, hoodies, and otters, oh my!)

I'm sad she is gone. I miss having a fun female friend to pal around with and laugh about absolutely nothing with. Boy, that was ungrammatical. I should change that to "with which to" somewhere in there but I JUST DON'T FEEL LIKE IT. I'm going to the gym instead.