Friday, May 23, 2008

On Vacation

My first day of vacation and my first day between jobs! And I was insanely busy all day, running last-minute errands, preparing road food, packing and staging things we’re taking, and cleaning the house so we don’t look like total slobs to our friend who will be feeding the cat while we’re away.

Tid will be boarding with her vet while we’re gone. I know it’s going to be very confusing to her and I feel bad because she’s almost 100% again. I think it will be for the best though, and they do like her over there. Tidbit is a very sweet and friendly girl. Pixel will miss her, especially since he’ll be stuck here all alone, but he’ll enjoy watching birds out the windows and taking long naps, or whatever it is he does all day.

I hope to be able to blog from the road. We want to do more camping this year, so that would cut into my blogging time. During my absence, I’ll be posting my adventures to my Vacation Blog. Updates will be nightly when I’m at a place where I can log on. And since our first stop is San Angelo, where we’ll be staying at a hotel, the first vacation blog post will be Saturday night!

Have a great two weeks, friends. Thanks for all the support during our Tidbit Trials, and I look forward to catching up with everyone upon my return.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

University Ducks


Tidbit is slowly coming around. She still doesn’t come to my bedroom door in the morning if I’m too slow with her breakfast, but she eats on her own and tonight she settled beside my chair in loaf position—something she hasn’t done since becoming ill.

I’ve found a way to get her antibiotics in her. They’re supposed to be administered orally via syringe and I found that if I rub the tip of the syringe with the inside of a raisin, I can get the antibiotic into her before she realizes I’ve tricked her.

We’ve decided to board her at the vet while we’re on vacation. I hate to do that to the poor girl, but she’s still on twice-daily meds and I have more confidence that the vet techs can administer them than a petsitter. Also, the vet is cheaper and if she relapses, she’ll get the care she needs right away. She won’t be too happy about the arrangement, but no other solutions make much sense.

Earlier this week I saw a duck and ten itty-bitty striped ducklings paddling around the university’s big fountains (the jets were turned off for cleaning). I took pictures and I’ll try to post them tomorrow.

Finally, today (Thursday) is my last work day in my current department. They’re going to have a party for me, which I don’t really want but since they’re using one of my favorite caterers I’m not complaining. There’s a lot that I’m going to miss, but if I have even ten percent less stress in my new job, it will have been so worth it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tidbit Update

Thanks again to all who have stopped by to wish my bunny well!

I brought her home today and she was certainly much more alert than before. She had to "tour" her room and check that everything was in its proper place, and then she settled in for a little alone-time, which is typical behavior when she returns home from a vet visit.

Since coming home she has yet to use her litter box, which has me concerned, although they said at the vet she was generating a lot of "output," so perhaps there just isn't much in there right now.

She's still off her feed. Normally she would spend most of the evening with her face buried in her hay, but instead she only nibbles the occasional little bit and does her best eating when Dan is on the floor with her, feeding her strand by strand. She did drink a lot of water, though, which is encouraging. And although she grunted and ran away from me when I tried to give her the mineral oil, I was able to dip her favorite greens in it and fed it to her that way.

Salad dressing and hand-feeding. Someone thinks she's royalty!

We'll be monitoring the situation closely. We were hoping to leave town on Friday but if she's not aggressively eating on her own, we'll just have to find other things to do with our vacation. We're willing to vacation locally if we must.

As Tid's health improves, she'll be hopping by to visit all the kind humans, felines, bunnies, and other folks who have wished her well. But for tonight, no computer for Princess. Next thing you know, she'll expect us to peel her a grape!

At Home

Whew! What an ordeal! I'm home and resting now and my biped will be back later with the details. Thanks for all your love and support!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Round-Up

Since we still hope to go out of town at the end of the coming week, today was a Big Shopping and Baking Day.

I started my morning by doing a little writing while sipping Sumatran coffee. I suspect I’ll be going down to the wire on my draft, but I do think I can make my target of finishing before Thursday.

Then I went out and ran a few errands, came home and started cooking:

  • cornbread with cheese and black pepper
  • pumpkin bread (2 loaves)
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • curry zucchini
  • curry chickpeas and potatoes (using remainder of pumpkin from the pumpkin bread)
  • fried rice
  • steamed rice (mix of brown and jasmine rice)
  • humza bread

For anyone curious, the humza bread was at one time touted as some sort of miracle diet food. I don’t believe in “miracle foods” and my weight is just fine, thank you. But any sort of food that travels well and packs a lot of hunger-reduction in a small package is good road trip food, especially for the long stretches of West Texas, where you can drive all day without finding anything better than a gas station convenience store selling hours-old fried chicken from under a heat lamp. So rather than take a chance of starving, I’m giving the humza bread a try. It’s quite tasty in its own right, so I may make this a regular thing.

I now have a refrigerator packed to the gills! Later this week I’ll be making some more cornbread and some carrot or zucchini bread. I also want to try my hand at spinach frittatas. I saw a recipe for some that are quite small and I think they would make good road trip food. One of the great things about hours and hours of driving in the western sun is that if you wrap a food item in foil and set it on the dashboard for a couple hours, it gets nice and hot. Try it yourself if you don’t believe me! You’ll never think of travel food the same way again.

So I’m envisioning stopping for picnics that consist of frittatas and grape tomatoes or curry chickpeas and zucchini. And in between stops, well, there’s that humza bread.

After I did all that cooking, there wasn't much time left in the afternoon and since this is my last week on the job, I did the performance appraisals on my staff instead of a bike workout. I'm running out of time to do all the projects that need doing and it doesn't help that I've got short-timer syndrome pretty bad. But not in regard to my staff. I'm trying to do everything I can for them before I go.

I’ll be getting an update on Tidbit tomorrow. For those who have asked, Tidbit is about five years old. She was a shelter rabbit, so I don’t know much about her history before I got her four years ago. She’s under the care of a vet who specializes in exotics. She has been checked for issues with her teeth and she’s had an x-ray. The diagnosis is hypomotility, likely due to hair ingestion (although we suspect her love of chewing on sheets is also a factor). She has been alert and responsive throughout her ordeal, so hopefully this is just a simple hairball situation and not symptomatic of some obscure and expensive rabbit disease.

Her situation as of last week was considered urgent but not immediately life-threatening, but going without an update all weekend is nerve-wracking. She went from doing binkies on the bed and begging for food to refusing all food within twenty-four hours, so my mind comes up with awful scenarios of what could be happening over the weekend! I hope they call with good news on Monday!

And finally, tonight we mourn the passing of one of our dear little blog-bunnies, Archi Ann. I will so miss “your” posts and visits, sweetie.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Zoo of Their Own

This morning I took my camera on my run. I need more pictures for the not-yet-released blog associated with my new novel in progress. What better way to get moody urban pics than by running through urban areas on an overcast morning?

When I was almost home, running up my street, I came upon something really cool-- a mini petting zoo in someone's front yard!

The zoo was for a children's birthday party and was provided by Marsha's Zoo. They provided animals, an awning for them, and they gave pony rides up and down the street to the children. The workers were very friendly and told me that their operation is a family business providing animals all over the city. I was ready to hire them to set up in my back yard, but instead, I contented myself with petting a friendly fawn.

In other news of the day, Dan and I had lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant and since it was raining when we were done and we hadn't brought umbrellas, I suggested we cut through the Pier One store to get a little time out of the rain. Dan said we should at least pretend like we're looking at merchandise, so I obliged.

And dammit, I bought.

Getting wet would've been cheaper.

I miss my Tid.

No News

No change with Tidbit. She went back to the vet this morning and although they said she was "active," she wasn't eating or drinking on her own, so they're keeping her through the weekend.

It's starting to scare me that this hasn't resolved itself yet. Tid has always been a good eater, almost never without a mouthful of timothy hay. It's hard to imagine what could've caused this, except that rabbits are rabbits and it happens.

Pixel misses his friend. He keeps wandering into her room and checking all the spots she should be. Funny boy, he's always too busy being a cool cat when Tid wants to snuggle and we're in the vicinity, but at times like this, his true colors show.

Thanks again to all who have posted their kind thoughts for Tidbit's recovery.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tidbit Update

Well, we were told she was eating hay and throwing fits about being cooped up, so I went to pick Tidbit up today. Upon arriving home, she went into a corner and has refused to eat, drink, or use her litterbox since.

It looks like she pulled a fast one at the vet's in order to get sprung. She's not fooling us, though. Unless she makes some progress with either input, output, or both, it's back to the vet for her in the morning.

With our vacation starting in just one week, we're starting to have to think about contingency plans. Once I start my new job, I can't take vacation for six months, and Dan won't have another opportunity until December. If this rabbit doesn't start eating, we are so screwed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On the Mend

Tidbit is still at the bunny hospital, but as of this afternoon she was doing much better and was even starting to cop an attitude about having to be in a cage. Go, Tid!

Her friend Pixel misses her and we catch him looking for her and meowing, but he's trying to be cool and not look too concerned.

We hope Tidbit will be sprung on Thursday, but we haven't been promised anything yet.

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes. It's great to see so much support for one little bunny!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In Hospital

The Tid is sick, but she is under the very excellent care of her pal, Dan Jordan, at Animal Avian Hospital of the Village and will likely make a full recovery.

The kind thoughts and good wishes of her friends in the blogsphere are appreciated.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Under the Weather?

The Tid is antisocial today. We leave a pet carrier in the room with the door off so she can go in and out and play in it without associating it with the V.E.T. She's spent all day in there, which is totally not like her.

She's also been ignoring her hay, but she used her litterbox and comes out for treats and greens, so maybe she's just spooked by something. I hope it's nothing more than that. Dan is going to try to take her to the vet in the morning if she's not more like herself.

Be well, Tidbit!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Art Cars and Other Cool Things

Part of today's run took me up Allen Parkway where I got to see the art cars lining up for the annual Art Car Parade. We have one of the best art car parades in the country, and people bring entries from all over.

I tried to find a permalink for the Houston Chronicle's coverage of the parade, but no luck. Anyone who goes to the Chronicle's website this weekend can pick up some of the photo galleries and videos. It's pretty amazing how elaborate some of the cars are.

I once had a "retired" car that I wanted to convert into an art car. I was going to make it into a giant rabbit. Seriously. But I lacked the time and resources for it, so I never got into that particular project.

One of the things I'm looking forward to in my new job is having a little more time for myself. From all appearances, I'll be working forty-hour weeks most of the time instead of fifty. And what's probably even more significant is that it won't be such a pressure cooker environment. Oh, sure, there will be crunch times like in any line of work, but the whole stupid year won't be a crunch time.

The head of my new department is very into her Myers-Briggs. She said when she interviewed me that she knew I was an introvert (we knew each other before she began recruiting me) and she's big on respecting the work styles of both introverts and extroverts. I so hope it's true! I've always tried to do that with my own staff because when a person has to spend half the work day fighting their own personality, it has a negative impact on attitude, work quality, and even personal life (which bleeds back into work performance).

Maybe soon I'll have evenings and weekends where I won't have to turn into a hermit just to keep from going crazy. There are a lot of things I'd like to do with my life that get put on hold when I need every free moment as down time so I can re-charge and be "on" again for everyone the next day. People, even when I love them, bleed me dry. Here's a good explanation of Extroversion vs Introversion, for anyone who is unclear on what the terms really mean, and not just the pop culture meaning.

Recent Baking
Friday: banana bread
Saturday: carrot-apple bread (2 loaves)

Recent Workouts
Monday: 35 minute elliptical
Tuesday: worked late - no workout
Wednesday: 40 minute spin
Thursday: worked late - no workout
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 20 mile run
Note: My job interviews and resignation really took a toll on my workday and ate into my workout time. I had thought to carve out a little workout time on Friday, but that got nixed by all the people calling and dropping by to congratulate me, further impacting my ability to actually work. If this sort of thing keeps up I'm going to have to stay home to get anything done!

Friday, May 09, 2008


I haven't even started my new job and already they've registered me for a conference.

It's been ten years since my last paid professional development and they're sending me to a two-day function in Galveston on my very first day on the job.

How cool is that?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Horizons

I quit my job today.

Two weeks where I am now, two weeks vacation, then return and start my new job.

I'm very sad about this. I feel like I'm letting a lot of people down. But I've made some other people very happy and I have reason to believe that in the end it will be good for everyone concerned. Even my old department will benefit because I'll be in a position to do a lot of things for them that university administration has always blocked.

It's just hard to move on when you've been someplace for so long. I cried. My boss cried. She tried to counter-offer but I refused. Because in the end, it wasn't the money (although the internal equity was always a pisser), and it was certainly never about grade or title (I've never given a damn about such things). In the end, it was about what I needed for me, and after nearly twelve years moving up the ranks in the same university department, I was way overdue for a change.

So here's to new horizons, once I quit grieving over leaving my safe harbor.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Monday Bunday

Enjoy this "Classic Tidbit" pic! She really knows how to relax!


Do not make this extremely dangerous bread!

If you feel compelled to make it, don't use whole wheat flour, pecan meal, and organic butter. And for the love of God, don't eat it!

Eating this bread, especially warm from the oven, has been known to create strong urges to keep on eating, regardless of one’s actual state of hunger, to the exclusion of needful daily activities, such as exercise and housework.

This bread is a hazard to waistlines and balanced diets everywhere. If you must make some, it is strongly recommended that you give it away immediately!

In fact, just send it here.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I had a nice run this morning that included stopping by the vet’s office to get flea medicine for the pets. As I was leaving the vet’s office, some fast-moving dark clouds moved in. They were dramatic and scary-looking but I suspected they were moving too quickly to drop any rain and I was correct. They did cool the morning temps, though, and added a nice breeze to the stuffy air as I ran to my favorite cemetery. I needed a dose of perspective.

I’ve been aggressively courted by another department for a couple of months now and recently had an interview that went very well. I suspect I’ll have a firm offer this week and will have to make a decision. I love the department I’m currently with, I’ve worked hard to build my team and I feel like I’ve finally gotten things to a stage where I can start focusing on the want-to-dos instead of just the have-tos. I want to move to things to the next level in my current role and would rather not leave.

But I’m getting tired of the promises never fulfilled. I’m underpaid and under-graded for what I do. I have co-workers right in the same office who are not managers, have less responsibility, work fewer hours, and make within $1,000 of what I do. For nearly two years my boss has talked a good game about how she’s going to do right by me, while doing nothing. She can fix the problem with a signature on a piece of paper, but she’s always got an excuse. This saddens me because we go back a long way together and when she first came to our department, it was I who welcomed her and made myself her right-hand gal. I championed her causes for years and thought we were friends.

Yeah, I feel betrayed. Screwed. This other department could never tempt me away otherwise with what little they’ll be able to offer. What they are offering me instead is a very clear message that they want me and value me. Hell, they restructured the position just for me, after talking to me in informal interviews. They value me even if my current boss does not. So why am I so sad about all this?

So I needed perspective today and of course I got it. Cemeteries do that for me. They remind me that life is short and most of what we think are really big and important problems, aren’t. Not by a long shot. I need to be reminded of that sometimes. It’s so easy to get caught up in minutiae and lose sight of the fact that most of what we do just isn’t going to have that big an impact on where we end up. We need to follow our bliss in the here and now, not only for our own peace of mind but because we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do so and there are many who came before us and never had the chance to choose a wedding dress, much less between two jobs that will lead to the same retirement package in the end.

I’m making raisin bread tonight— I’m letting the dough rise overnight and I’ll finish it in the morning. I’ll post the results here tomorrow!

Recent Baking
1 loaf banana bread
2 loaves carrot-apple bread
2 loaves raisin bread (in progress)

Recent Workouts
Monday: 2 mile run, 10 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Tuesday: too damn tired
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Thursday: 45 minute spin, weights
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 20 mile run

Friday, May 02, 2008

Recipe Share

Take a slice of the spinach bread we made last week (you did make some, right?), spread pesto on it and sprinkle grated parmesan or romano. Toast in the toaster oven (or microwave for one minute if you're lazy). Top with a poached egg, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.

You're welcome.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

You Never Know...

So here I was sitting in my office feeling grumpy. I had a headache, I was short-staffed, over-tasked, and even the temp didn't show up. Grrr....

And then an ex-employee of mine walked in the door. I fought hard to keep her job for her while she struggled with personal issues and although she ultimately chose to move on, I always believed I had done the right thing.

She's much improved now and brought me flowers, little gifts and a card.

Totally not necessary, but damn-- here I was thinking my day sucked and I ended up with a very nice surprise.

You just never know.