Thursday, December 18, 2014

And More Rain



The rain fell all day yesterday, and it's raining again this morning.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014




It's raining again this morning.

Here's another shot of the mountains at sundown.



Monday, December 15, 2014




I found that my little camera does not
do justice to the rich colors of Nature.

North to the Catalinas in Tucson near Sundown
December 13, 2014


Did You Know . . .?

If your parents referred to sex as "the birds and the bees," they were wrong. Nearly all male birds don't even have a penis, and after drone bees mate with the queen their penis explodes and they die.



On this day in 1936, writer George Orwell delivered the manuscript for his book The Road to Wigan Pier, which chronicles the difficult life of the unemployed in northern England.

George Orwell was the nom de plume for Eric Blair, who attended school in London and won a scholarship to the elite prep school Eton, where most students came from wealthy upper-class backgrounds, unlike Orwell. Rather than going to college like most of his classmates, Orwell joined the Indian Imperial Police and went to work in Burma in 1922.

Orwell, choosing to immerse himself in the experiences of the urban poor, went to Paris, where he worked menial jobs, and later spent time in England as a tramp. He wrote Down and Out in Paris and London in 1933, based on his observations of the poorer classes, and The Road to Wigan Pier in 1937. Meanwhile, he had published his first novel, Burmese Days in 1934. His barnyard fable, Animal Farm (1945), shows how the noble ideals of egalitarian economies can easy be distorted. The book brought him his first taste of critical and financial success. Orwell's last novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, brought him lasting fame with its grim vision of a future where all citizens are watched constantly and language is twisted to aid in oppression.

Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950.



gallant  [GAL-uhnt  gal-AHNT]
1. brave, spirited, noble-minded, or chivalrous:
2. exceptionally polite and attentive to women; courtly.
3. stately; grand: a gallant pageant.
4. showy, colorful, or stylish, as in dress; magnificent.
5. amorous; amatory.
6. a brave, noble-minded, or chivalrous man.
7. a man exceptionally attentive to women.
8. a stylish and dashing man.
9. a suitor or lover.
10. a paramour.



(born December 15, 1933)
Tim Conway is an American comedian and actor, who is best known for his role as the inept Ensign Charles Parker in the 1960s World War II-set situation comedy, McHale's Navy, for his sketch comedy as a co-star on the 1970s variety program, The Carol Burnett Show, for starring as the title character in the Dorf series of comedy films, and for cartoon voice work as the voice of Barnacle Boy from the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants.

(born December 15, 1963)
Helen Slater is an American actress. She appeared as the Kryptonian superheroine in TriStar's 1984 film Supergirl. In the following years, she starred in several successful comedy-drama films such as Ruthless People, The Secret of My Success, and City Slickers. She additionally found work as an actress in television, and stage projects, including three guest appearances on the series Smallville. She was a series regular for the two-season run on the ABC Family series The Lying Game.

(born December 15, 1949)
Don Johnson is an American actor, producer, director, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for his role as James "Sonny" Crockett in the 1980s television series Miami Vice, and as the lead role in the 1990s cop series Nash Bridges.

(born 15 December 1988)
Emily Head is an English actress, best known for playing Carli D'Amato in E4's sitcom, The Inbetweeners


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Guest Blogger 12/14/2014

Shorn For Love

Now I know how sheep feel, but more about that in a minute. First, a work update: I love my job! I love my team, I love the work, I love being there, and it's been way too long since I felt this way (about work, anyway).

I still don't know much about what I'm doing; every day is a massive learning engagement where I suck up everything I can around me, from Analysts trying to fix things to Processors going about their daily job. Terms are unfamiliar, programs are foreign, and everything is often confusing.

Take, for instance, reprocessing a packet. Sound pretty easy, doesn't it? Just re-send it out, right? Well, no. We only reprocess when there's been a change (otherwise it would be "send a duplicate" which is easy. . . I think). Before we can send the revised packet, we need to verify the change has been made.

So we run a sample packet for what it will "look" like, to see what it will, well, look like. While that's generating (because it's really slow), we go check our maintenance system (think: big database) to see what it says about it right now. You'll note that "right now" and "what it will look like" are two different things and often aren't supposed to match.

Then we check the maintenance system against the piece of paper we have that requests the reprocess (and tells us what the change is). We check this, check that, check that over there, check this thing, check that date, and then check this other thing. We write all these down because we'll need them all again when we view the sample. Now we change screens and check some other stuff, writing it  own, too.

OK, over to the renewal system, to check the sample, which may or may not be ready by now. When we can, we verify that what we've written down is showing accurately on the sample.

Whoops! Something isn't. Where we go to fix it depends on what it is. If it's this, ask Information Technology. If it's that, ask Group Data Entry. If it's this thing, we can fix it ourselves. And if it's that stuff from the other screen, we set the whole thing aside and wait. Why? Because sometimes these things magically fix themselves overnight. Truly.

Then tomorrow, we start over, because any of the data anywhere except on the printed paper could change. Ack. The scary thing is the people who do this (that I'm learning from) can pick up a reprocess request sheet and do the whole thing in under five minutes. Sometimes less than one minute, if the sample is generated quickly enough. Amazing!

When I learn the ins and outs of what they're looking at, I suppose I'll get it. Until then, I'm pretending to be a sponge and simply sucking in information. Even with the drawback of having access to four (yes, four!) email in boxes, I'm loving it.

I left the job I love a bit early today. I had an appointment with a woman named Melanie, who cut off my hair for me. Again, truly!

I've sent my long locks to Locks of Love, a not-for-profit organization that makes wigs for kids (and some adults) who have lost their hair for some medical reason. Visit them at Perhaps some child will enjoy that twelve inches of hair more than I did. I was forever catching it in things. Under my purse strap on my shoulder. In the shoulder seat belt in the car. In the headrest at the massage parlor (don't ask). Oh, and in a few other places I can't decently mention. Now it's short and bouncy and just above shoulder length.

Tomorrow morning I'll have to let my donation to the children warm my heart, because I'll no longer have hair to warm the back of my neck. Why did I do this in winter?

Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala


Saturday, December 13, 2014

In The Desert



Here I am again, out of the city of Tucson and out in the scrubland for the rest of this month... just Eva and I rambling around this huge house while the owners are off to Maine for Christmas.. off to the land of holiday snow.

The weather forecast for Tucson today is lots of rain released by the big storm in the Pacific. But aside from a few clouds, there is actually little indication of rain. Perhaps it will miss us.


Update -- 10 A.M. -- It just started to rain.


This Is Who I Am

Thursday, December 11, 2014




While watching a weather report, I heard mention of the closing of San Francisco's Embarcadero. I did not know what that was, so I looked it up and found, at Wikipedia, that:

The Embarcadero (Spanish: Wharf), is the eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, along San Francisco Bay, constructed atop an engineered seawall on reclaimed land. It derives its name from the Spanish verb embarcar, meaning "to embark"; embarcadero itself means "the place to embark". The Central Embarcadero Piers Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 2002.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014