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Four-day weekend. Woo-hoo!

Heartland said that it's okay for me to drop the Intro to Computers class. And I've dropped it. I'm really stoked. Everyone to whom I've talked at Heartland has been very nice. If I was cynical, I could chalk it up to keeping their student retention numbers up :)

It's actually nice out: 66 degrees F. Inside the library, though, with all the computers and warm bodies and such, it's been beastly. I was packing books in boxes and had to stop because I was dripping sweat. I really, really hope that they fix the A/C next week.

Despite the heat, students have been inhaling coffee. It's almost creepy how fast it's going.

We met with a rep for a vendor for a long time. Despite saying that he was not a sales rep, he did a good job on selling us on exploring some new options for purchasing books.

Outside of work, the more that I read about Santa Fe, the more that it sounds perfect for me. (Well, except for the lack of a beach, but there are lakes in the area.) Lots of music, opera, museums, poetry readings, meditation groups, etc. Etc. I also looked into Los Alamos, but it's pricey. Erik and I stopped there during one of our cross-country trips because his dad had worked there. I didn't expect it to be so beautiful. Somehow, that seems ironic.

I enrolled in the Android programming class. On Coursera, not the one that they have at Heartland.

Hey, I can sleep in tomorrow! And buy food tomorrow. I'm getting tired of turkey burgers, but I know that I'm lucky to have them.
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I didn't get up early to call Heartland. My devious mind included my phone alarm in my dream. I was throwing out some electronic cards "because they kept making noise". I think that tomorrow I need to set the alarm that Zara hates (a mechanical alarm with bells). It usually works.

Today was hot. Did I mention that the air conditioning at work was struck by lightning and isn't working? It was a long, hot, beastly day. The front desk worker wore shorts, which was smart of him. I was dressed formally in a blazer, short-sleeved shirt, and pants. I was sweltering. I got a lot of stuff done today though, which made me feel good. I like being productive.

I've done a little more research about Santa Fe. It has some condos that are within the realm of reason price-wise, although a lot of Californians are retiring there, which will no doubt run the prices up. And it's very pretty. When I was a kid, I saw a picture or something of the area and became enamored of it. Erik and I spent part of a day there, and I liked it. It's worth spending some time there. Expedia had a package with a week's stay, including airfare, for as low as $700. I want to make the trip happen next year. I also requested books from the library about the area, and they're starting to come in. I want to do some reading about it during this long weekend.

I can't believe that tomorrow, it will have been 20 years since Princess Diana died. I remember that day well, and it just seems like a few years ago.

Mom Report

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:42 pm
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She's packed and ready to go (to Europe) on Monday. She's a little worried becasues her friend is the type of person who schedules every minute of the trip, and she's more laid-back. She also is navigating while he drives. She's wondering if they'll still be speaking by the end of the trip.

She wants to do the Dublin-London trip with me that we've talked about before, but "not next year". I'll keep that in mind.


Jul. 2nd, 2017 03:17 pm
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Well, I was going to go to Moraine State Recreation Area today, but I got a late start. I overslept; apparently I set my alarm for 11 PM rather than AM. (It also explains why I overslept my nap the other day.) I was getting myself together to go, but decided that it was just too late, and I also wanted to eat lunch.

So I'm going to go to the gardens at the Ewing Cultural Center in Bloomington. It's a little silly because I need to go to Bloomington tomorrow to get Harlee's food, but I'll be in the area anyway.

I also need to make macaroni and cheese when I get home. And Lincoln's fireworks are tonight. Getting home earlier would be a good thing.

Mom Report

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:41 pm
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The MRI showed that Mom's sciatic nerve is inflamed. They're going to give her a shot of steroids. I hope that it helps. However, she's been managing to do lots of gardening and enjoying her garden.

I'm having a case of the blahs. I think that I'm going to feed the girls, get ready for bed, and read for a while. It would be better if I get to bed early and get up earlier tomorrow because on Sunday, I'll need to get up before dawn to catch the 7 AM train. I can't believe that I agreed to do that, but I plan on sleeping the way up to Chicago.

Added: Forgot to mention that Mom wants to go to Cahokia Mounds. Don't know why the site's Web site is down though.
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I have a vague memory of liking Pere Marquette State Park as a kid. (We took trips all over Illinois when I was a kid.) So I looked it up last night. Beautiful, so beautiful, with lots of hiking trails. It's especially beautiful in the Autumn. So taking a trip there in Autumn is now at the top of my list. I'd love to stay in the Lodge, but it appears to be booked up way in advance. Plus, it's probably very pricey. (They don't post their prices, which I don't like. If you have to ask....) However, I found an Airbnb about 15 minutes away that's $22 a night. Can't beat that. (There is a nicer place that's a little farther away with a river view for $89 a night.) We have Fall Break in October, which should be good leaf-viewing time, so when I get paid, I want to book the Airbnb for Fall Break. The only thing is that I want to have decent hiking boots for that trip because the trails are steep, and there are poisonous snakes in the area.

In another area (Ottawa, IL), I found a place with a class in glass-blowing. Doesn't that sound cool? I'm going to ask my mom if she's interested in trying it.

Illinois has some interesting areas!

I've feeling kind of burnt-out, slightly depressed, tired, and headachy. I think that I'll hole up with some photography books that I checked out of the library (I want to work on photo composition because that doesn't require a DSLR) and a snuggly cat. After I meditate and exercise.
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I had problems sleeping last night. I kept on waking up once an hour. Don't know why. As a consequence, I've been tired today, so I bought an extra bottle of soda, although I don't really want to spend lots of money on soda. But it did the trick.

I'm getting really tired of the project that we're working on at work, although we're making good progress. My part of the project involves scanning barcodes on a cart full of books, checking the call number of the book and fixing it if it needs fixing, and printing out the labels. Sometimes the labels don't print well, so I need to reprint the labels for those items. BORING. But it'll be good when we're done.

My plans for the long 4th of July weekend are shaping up. I think that I'll stay home on Saturday, the 1st, and sleep in and work on cleaning and organizing.

I learned about an exhibit about route 66 in Towanda (including Burma Shave signs! Yes, I remember them!), slightly NW of Bloomington. I also found out that there are gardens, including a Japanese garden, at a cultural center in Bloomington. And the gardens are free. So that's Sunday.

Monday, July 3rd, I'd like to go to Moraine View State Park, which has a couple of short hiking trails and a lake with a beach for swimming. My question is what would I do with my camera when I swim? I'm afraid that it will fry if I leave it in the car. (I have a small waterproof belt for keys and such.) Any ideas? I probably won't swim for very long.

Tuesday, July 4th, I want to go to Peoria. I want to eat lunch at Jonah's Seafood House. (I want to eat lunch there rather than dinner because it's kind of pricey, but oh, does it sound good.) Then I want to check out the botanical garden, and possibly the nature preserve. Then I'd like to see the fireworks show on the river if I can still get tickets. (I'm sure that there are places where you can see most of the fireworks for free, but I don't know the area.) That will leave a gap of time that I won't know what to do with, but I could bring a book and hole up in a coffeehouse for a few hours.

Anyway, I think that I should have a good time even though I can't go to Rockford or Galena. And except for the day in Peoria, what I'm doing is free!

Mom Report

Jun. 17th, 2017 10:18 pm
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Mom went to the doctor to see why her hip has been hurting. They took an x-ray, and everything looked okay. Then they took an MRI, but the results aren't back yet. Her numbers are good, but she's been really, really tired. She thinks that she hasn't been eating enough.

Mom would like to go to Galena, so maybe we'll plan a trip together sometime. It probably would be a good place to go because there would be a lot of places for mom to rest if she needs it. Maybe over spring break next year? Or fall break this year?

I don't like anything that's in the house, so I'm going to run to the store to pick up a few things. And I'm running low on CAT FOOD! Oh, no!

No Go

Jun. 16th, 2017 12:16 am
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I'm not going to be able to take the trip over the 4th of July long weekend. Apparently we're going to get paid on July 3rd, instead of the 30th, like I thought. The reason is that the 1st is falling on a weekend, and it's the beginning of the fiscal year, so they can't pay us early. Bummer.

But! I decided to see if Peoria (about a half-hour from here, not counting travel time in Peoria) had a botanical garden, and indeed, it does. They have guided tours on Sundays for $2. I definitely want to go over the 4th of July weekend.

Peoria also has a "nature preserve" with trails.

There also is a state park in Eastern Illinois (about 1.5 hours from here) that I'd like to check out. The same area has a lake with trails.

There also are a couple of spots in the area with lakes where you can swim. I think that I can keep myself amused and destress.

My cats, however, are not amused and are stressy. Zara scratched me this morning. I was trying to put my phone on its charging cord, and apparently I was too close to Zara's head. To be fair, she warned me, but I wanted to put my phone away and then jump in the shower because I was running late for work. She broke the skin on my arm, but it didn't bleed, so I need to keep an eye on the scratches. I might have some peroxide to put on it in my linen closet.

Harlee wanted me to come in and pet her when I was home for dinner. I told her that I needed to go back to work, but that I was going to be home tomorrow. She replied, "MMMMMMEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOWWW" and shook her paw at me. I have no doubt that I was being told. (I told my mom that I thought that Harlee was getting more and more crotchety in her old age. My mom said, "Harlee, I know exactly how you feel. :))

Mimi is annoyed that I'm busy typing when she is HUNGRY! (Their dishes are soaking in the sink.)

I have a lot to do this weekend, so I need to make a list. I want to take a walk in the nature preserve across the road from me though. And go to the gym and work on strengthening my bad knees.
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I feel a little bad in saying that it was a pretty good day, given what happened in London and Virginia, but it was pretty good. It stormed on and off, but I enjoyed the storms because we haven't had one for a while. And the farmers need the rain.

I had a lot to get done at work today, and I did get a lot done. One of the things that I needed to do was take a picture of myself to post online with a PDF of my poster presentation. So I brought my "good" camera (it's not a DSLR, but it has a lot more features than your average point-and-shoot camera) to work along with a "selfie stick". Many of the results were hilarious. Maybe I'll post one or two of them later. I did wind up with a couple of pictures that I could live with, and I'll upload one to the conference Web site tonight, although I might try to take a few more pictures tomorrow.

I also experimented with recording a voiceover because the conference folks suggest posting a short one as well. Given the amount of info that we're posting on the site, though, why bother coming to the presentation?

The printer hasn't finished printing the poster, though, but there still is some time. (The presentation is a week from this coming Sunday, in Chicago.)

I ran errands over dinner, and picked up Zara's and my meds. Better living through chemistry :)

Oh, my dad thinks that creating an Illinois Road Trips blog and a book is a great idea. He said, "And if the book sells, you can branch out to other nearby states!" Whoa, Dad. Writing a good guidebook to Illinois is going to be a lot of work. But it's nice to see how enthusiastic he is about it though.
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I've been looking for a good guidebook to Illinois, and I've not been finding much. There are a bunch about Chicago, but not the rest of the state. Maybe that means that I should write one :) I'm semi-serious about that. Working title: The Other Illinois: Get Out of Chicago and See the Rest of the State! It could be fodder for a lot of road trips. And maybe an article or two. I need a decent DSLR though. (It's always something.)

A Road Trip Illinois blog would be a good idea too. It would get me out of the house and exploring. It sounds like fun!

I found a state park about 2.5 hours away from here that I really want to hike. It's kind of hilly (it's in Eastern Illinois), but that might build my leg muscles up.

I solved the problem with my boss about my working days while she's gone. I'm going to take the Monday after my Sunday conference presentation off, and work the rest of the week, including Friday. Including the Sunday, that would be a full week. And then I'm going to work Wednesday - Friday the following week.

There is a horrific fire in a tall apartment building in London. Most of the building seems to be ablaze. Those poor people trapped inside....I hope that firefighters contain the blaze soon.

What a Day

Jun. 13th, 2017 12:01 am
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Oy, what a day. I got into a mild argument with my boss. She's taking two weeks off near the end of June and into July. I asked her if I should contact one of the part timers to cover lunch for the front desk worker on the Fridays that she would be out because I don't work on Fridays. She was annoyed that I wouldn't work on the Fridays. I mentioned that I would be at the big library conference the Sunday before the week that she's leaving, so I couldn't take Sunday off and work Monday-Friday. She asked why she isn't leaving earlier then because she thought that I would be back on Tuesday, but then she said, "Whatever". She's going to ask her boss what she can do. Apparently we don't have the money for the part-timer to cover the lunches.

My crashing headache is back.

Then the head of the search committee sent us the resumes that we've gotten for the Library Director position. Only three resumes. At least two out of the three were qualified. The third would be great if we were hiring a full-time archivist, but he doesn't have instruction experience.

I was pondering whether to skip going out of town, and get regular massages instead, but I found a hotel that's walking distance from downtown Galena and found myself making a reservation. I can cancel through the end of the month though. But I think that my subconscious knows that I need some time away. I really need to de-stress somehow.

I think that I need to meditate and then lie in bed reading for a while. And, I hope, lose the headache.

I also need to figure out how to take a selfie on my camera with my "selfie stick" because the library conference wants a picture of each poster presenter, and all the pictures that I have on Facebook are too small.

I'm not usually a praying person, but give me strength to get through this summer.
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I really want to get out of town for a little while. I had originally wanted to go to Dayton, but that involves a six-hour drive one way. I don't know if I'll be able to take any more time off this summer with my boss leaving. So I'm looking for some place that isn't a far drive, and is reasonably cheap (which nixes Chicago). Hmm, I remember looking at some place a while ago near the Mississippi River. Now, if I could just remember the name of the place....A co-worker went there. I could ask her. Another possibility is staying near Starved Rock State Park, although the park gets crowded during the summer.

My boss's boss said that I should follow the original plan to take Tuesdays off in the fall for class, but to get my boss's okay in writing. Apparently we've got "a handful" of resumes for the Library Director position so far.
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Cooling off for a moment. In the middle of laundry and cleaning litter boxes, and dripping sweat.

My dad said that he loves the Great Smoky Mountains (which I confused with the Blue Ridge Mountains--they're a subset of the Blue Ridge Mountains). So I was poking around online to see what a trip there might be like. Found a hotel (actually, condo) I like and a hiking tour of waterfalls, but the place isn't really calling to me. Maybe I'd like it if I was there though. If I did go, I'd want to extend my trip and go to Asheville.


May. 29th, 2017 08:35 pm
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There's a campground in Southern Illinois that has a treehouse.

I would love to stay in a treehouse. It's booked solid during the summer, and weekends during the fall, up to November. I'm thinking, if I can pull it off, I'd like to take a "retreat" around my birthday in November and stay there. It's pricey, but it has a kitchen, and I could eat there. I'd bring some stuff to read and write, and also do some hiking. I hope that I'll be able to do so.

The kitties are still a little stressy, even Zara, who loves my mom. I assume that they'll calm down in a day or two.

I really wish that my nose would stop running. Yuck.


May. 24th, 2017 09:28 pm
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I got the bathroom cleaned, except for the floor because the towels that I use as rags to wipe up the floor are locked in my broken washer, probably molding, so I'll have to throw them out when I manage to get them out of there. I'll have to see if Goodwill has some towels that I can use as rags. I did some cleaning in Harlee's room. I also have finished a load of laundry, with another one in the dryer.

I'll need to get up early to clear off my bed (I have books and magazines piled on the side that I don't use), and change the sheets. My neighbors go to sleep early, so I need to move downstairs to clean.

I'm preheating the oven to make my pizza.

I really want to go to Ferne Clyffe State Park in Southern Illinois to hike. There's a very pretty swimming hole with a waterfall that I want to check out. (I'll embed the image in LJ, and come back here, and add the link because I don't like how Dreamwidth handles images.)

The drive is 3.5 hours, so I'd need to drive down in the afternoon, overnight, go hiking, overnight, and drive back up. I'd like to do it this summer though.

My headache has gone away, so that's good. I seem to have jacked up my bad knee though. I seem to do that whenever I travel.
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I kept my old Windows XP computer for travel. However, I tried using it in Chicago a couple of years ago, and it couldn't access the Web. So I took my 17-inch laptop to California with me last year, which led to me screwing up my knee. (That thing is HEAVY!) I tried the XP machine the other day, and still no Web access. A Web site or the browser (I don't remember which) suggested that there was a firewall problem. I checked, and no firewall was turned on. I poked around in the Internet connection settings, and lo and behold, the http and https and FTP services were turned off for wireless access. I turned them on, and presto! Web access! I'm posting from that machine.

I'm still running into the problem that some sites aren't supporting browsers that run on XP. Eventually I might upgrade this machine to Windows 7. I wonder if I can get it cheaply.

I tried my netbook too. It's working fine (and it is nice and light for travel, plus it's nice to use in bed), but it has an annoying ad virus. I'm going to try a good malware program and see if I can get it off, but I might need an expert to get rid of it.

I'm also following the news about Hurricane Matthew closely. It's giving me a weird case of déjà vu to Katrina. I hope that it won't be as catastrophic, but an awful lot of areas will be affected by it. I want to go to Charleston and Savannah with my mom too, but it won't happen anytime soon.

I'm now off for five days! I'm going to kick it off tomorrow by getting my straggly mop of hair trimmed. I might also take some books to the coffeeshop and read.
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Mom is really taken with Mimi. Mom thinks that Mimi is really pretty. Or should I say, Mom was really taken with Mimi until Zara came downstairs to see what was going on, and Mimi chased Zara away. Little snot.

We went to the Balloon Festival, but they didn't do the balloon launch because of the weather. However, they did inflate some of the balloons around dusk for a little while and we were able to watch them glow. Then it started raining lightly, and they brought down the balloons. Mom had never seen hot-air balloons up close though, so she thought that it was a great experience.

We talked for hours after we got home. She told me that she is planning to take a trip with a friend next year, so it would be a good year for me to take a cruise by myself. We're talking about a trip to Vermont some other time, so I need to learn more about Vermont.

I'm back

Jan. 5th, 2008 12:46 am
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While I was in Detroit, Mom and I watched the Harry Potter movies. (I hadn't seen the first three, and Mom hadn't seen the last two.) A while back, I took a silly "Who is your Harry Potter lover?" quiz and wound up with Snape. I went "Ew," and didn't post the results. However, Alan Rickman as Snape in the movies is another story. He has a very memorable voice and is charismatic. I told my mom that I was a fan, and we went in search of Alan Rickman movies. Mom already had Sense and Sensibility, which was good. She bought Snow Cake (a very interesting character study) and Love, Actually (a typical light romantic comedy, but pretty good). Maybe when I get my DVD player set up, I'll go in search of more Alan Rickman movies.

While we were in Evanston, we also saw Charlie Wilson's War, which was interesting and thought-provoking.

During the entire trip, I stayed organized and wound up being ready to leave early when we had to go someplace. I need to keep that up.

The flights back were uneventful, except for someone nearby who kept on farting the whole way from Chicago to San Jose. It was a looong flight. Someone must have said something to the flight attendant because she sprayed some air freshener near the end of the flight. The flight got in late (11:00 PM?). It took a long time to get my luggage. Two shuttle buses went past me before I found the right place to catch one. I had been running around in the rain, and when I caught the shuttle, someone commented that I didn't need to stand under a rain spout. When I got the car, I smacked the right back corner of the car into a barrier, and now the right side of the bumper is loose.

I went to a 24-hour restaurant (Denny's) to get something to eat and a 24-hour grocery store (Safeway) to get some essentials. By the time that I got home, it was 2:45 AM, and I decided to leave my luggage in the car until I got up today. I slept a lot. I'm still kind of tired.

Mom has come down with something, so I need to stay well-rested to try to fight it off. I also might keep taking Airborne.

The kitties are okay. It took them a while to realize that I was me and not the pet sitter. They've been cuddly and affectionate. I'm fascinated by how small and delicate they are in comparison to my mom's big dog.

I've been lucky because I haven't lost power from the storm.
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Now someone else is talking to me about a contract position. I figure the surest way to ensure that I get a job is to make plans for my mom to come out and visit -;) Along those lines, I've come up with a possible itinerary for the Wine Country trip. (Mom, let me know if you want to change anything. Nothing is written in stone at this point.)

First leg--San Jose to Napa

Try to leave by 10:00 AM (gasp!).

Take the 101-680-780-80 etc. route. As well as the route being direct, it also gives Mom a chance to see I-680, which I think challenges I-280 for the title of most beautiful freeway.

Arrive at COPIA, 500 1st street, Napa. Have a late lunch or early dinner at COPIA's cafe (unless something else looks more interesting).

Spend the rest of the afternoon in Napa.

Second leg--Napa to Santa Rosa

Leave for Santa Rosa in the evening.

Stay at the Motel 6 Santa Rosa South, 2760 Cleveland Ave.

Spend the day in Santa Rosa. See downtown, the Peanuts museum, maybe the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, and anything else that strikes our fancy.

Third leg--Santa Rosa to Fort Bragg

Leave for Fort Bragg in the evening.

Stay at the Super 8 Motel at N. Harbor & Main St.

Take the Skunk Train in the morning?

Visit the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Spend the afternoon there.

Fourth leg--Fort Bragg to San Jose

Head back to San Jose unless we decide to stay over in Fort Bragg. Might be a longish day. Take CA-20 to 101, 101 to the Golden Gate Bridge, 19th St. to 280, and I know the rest of the way.


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