Monday, October 13, 2008

Too Much Time on my Hands

There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do everything I want to do these days. I feel overwhelmed at times since there are so many more options than we had just a decade or two ago - internet, cable TV, video games, etc. So I’ve come up with a few ways to save time on the ho hum tasks in order to have more time for fun:

1. Don’t wash your car! It’s just going to get dirty again anyway. Plus the rain can wash it for you. So when I’m working and it starts raining outside I can say I’m multi tasking. This is especially true if you have a beat up old truck held together by duct tape anyway. No matter how much you wash it its still going to be a beat up old truck!

2. Don’t balance your checkbook. Most banks will let you check transactions online. A quick glance once a week should be enough to tell if anyone has messed with your money. A $20 purchase at the bike shop is probably mine but the Gucci store purchase for $350 is probably not.

3. Don’t make the bed. It’s just going to get messed up again. And if you like naps as much as I do that means a few makings of the bed each day. Plus unless you work in the world’s oldest profession or live in an efficiency apartment, not many people are going to see the messy bed anyway.

4. Don’t keep up with fashion. They change fashion every year to make you buy stuff even though you have stuff that is still perfectly good. I’m not in high school so I really don’t care what others think of my fashion sense. Plus I’d rather buy things that fit my figure and make it look its best rather than things that are supposedly “in”. Ask any guy what shoes are in fashion this year. If he knows he is gay and wouldn’t want you anyway. Most straight guys don’t care about fashion and just want to see you without your clothes anyway.

5. Minimize what you buy. More purchases means more stuff to take care of. If you don’t buy it in the first place you wont need to maintain it. Check out for more information on the time and environmental costs of all our purchases.

These are just some examples of how I save time on the mundane to have more time for what’s important to me. I challenge you to try some or find some of your own short cuts. Life is short so be happy even if your sock drawer isn’t totally organized!

Cat “Efficiency is my middle name” Cathy

Never Say "Goodbye"

I never got to say goodbye to an old friend of mine. She was hit on her motorcycle and was in a coma. I visited her at the hospital but didn’t say goodbye on purpose. I said “I’ll see you soon when you are fully recovered” since I thought she might come out of the coma and I wanted to be supportive. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to happen and life support was ended and she passed away last week. It really makes you think about your own mortality and what’s important in life. We hadn’t spoken much in the past few years but I still had many fond memories of the times we shared together. In the end I think connections with others is the most important thing in life. I hope when its my turn to go, I will have many friends that will have fond memories of me and feel that I affected their life in a positive way. It would seem from all the visitors at the hospital that my friend did indeed accomplish this in her 30 short years in this world.

She was an organ donor so several other people will be able to have better lives because of her. What a nice final gift to give to the world. I’ve never really thought much about being an organ donor until now. It’s hard to think about an untimely end but if it did occur what use would I have for the organs….none. And thinking someone who has been sick may get a second chance sounds wonderful. I always feel good when I do something nice for someone else and donating organs could be my last good deed.

We held a big celebration of life for her yesterday. It was nice to take some time to reminisce about the good times we shared together with her other friends. I have so many memories of us going on vacations, doing bike hashes and going out dancing. If I had to pick one memory to share it would be when we went on a very difficult run hash together in Oregon. One woman whose husband was making the run trail asked “are those two little girls going to be ok”. She didn’t know how strong this petite woman was and not only were we ok we actually finished in the front ahead of all the boys!

Another fond memory I have is one of the compliments she gave me. She told me once that she was always impressed at how friendly I was and how easy it was for me to approach people and make new friends. Sincere compliments like that really mean a lot. I try to admire the good qualities in others and point them out. It makes me feel good and the person I’m complimenting too. I do have to say that no matter how many new friends I make, I will never forget this one!

She will be missed but I hope as her boyfriend said “we all now have an angel watching over us now”.

Cat “I’ll Miss You My Friend” Cathy

Hookers and Hikers, Buttes and Bikers

I know you must be wondering what the strange title means. Well it’s an intro to my latest vacation of course. My boyfriend and I went on a 7-day epic journey covering 4 states and too many miles to count….even for an engineer.

It all started in Las Vegas, which is where the hooker comes in. I knew it was legal there but I was surprised at how much advertisement there was for it. We past a guy in an orange shirt that said “Direct to your Door in 30 minutes”. I decided it would be fun to take a picture with him since legally picking up a hook seemed so extreme due to my naïve upbringing. Well I didn’t realize that I was wearing an orange shirt too and so the picture looks like I am one of his “employees”. I better not let my mom see that picture! We decided our $40 would be better spent on an all you can eat buffet so we went to the Bellagio hotel for their world famous buffet. It was the best buffet I have ever had in both quantity and quality! We stayed for TWO hours. Six plates and eight desserts later we finally waddled out. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? Can someone please inform my hips of this! At the time I decided we were “training” for day two of the journey, which involved a hike down Grand Canyon so the carbs were necessary to prep. It sounded good at the time.

On day two we journeyed to the Grand Canyon and started our hike down. We didn’t prep except for eating bunches in Vegas and we didn’t know if what we were doing was commonplace or not. Being from Florida where the elevation is zero is sure seemed extreme. At least gravity was on our side but it still took 4 ½ hours to get down. Some of that was due to needing a picture every 10 feet. It was beautiful and we wanted to document it all. The best part was we didn’t finish the hike until after dark. The last two miles were in complete darkness with just a little flashlight to help us not fall off the trail and into the Colorado River. It worked and we made it to the ranch for the best dinner ever….or maybe I was just very hungry. After dinner I went to the girls camp to sleep with a bunch of women I didn’t know. I was a little nervous about this but my boyfriend informed me he did it all the time and it was easy. He didn’t earn any girlfriend points with that little comment. But I met the girls in the morning and they were awesome and we became instant friends.

Unfortunately what goes down must come up and on day three we journeyed up the canyon. As the signs all stated getting to the bottom was optional but getting up was mandatory so we were on our own. We were laughing in the morning how we made it through the heat and decent and the dark and the only thing missing was torrential rain. It was a joke at the time since it was totally sunny but by lunchtime it started to downpour. We just kept on hiking since there really wasn’t much else to do and as it turned out it probably helped us since it would have been too hot without the rain. We ran into one of those odd people we meet on every trip. You know the ones who like to act like they know it all and like to share their opinion even if you obviously aren’t interested. When we mentioned we were from Florida he said “well congratulations, most of MY people from Florida can’t make it” in a very derogatory tone. So I decided to mess with his head and said “really. This was easy. We have this ride at Disney World….except its air-conditioned”. That seemed to put him in his place or at least confuse him enough so we could get away. It really wasn’t too bad of a journey. We just went slow and steady and a mere 8 ½ hours later we were up! We had some soreness and blisters but we didn’t fall in the canyon so that makes it a total success in my mind.

The Buttes come into play on Day 4 when we went to monument valley Utah. There are huge rock formations called buttes and mesas just jutting out of the ground. It was spectacular to view. I found a rock that had the best echo I’ve ever heard. I could almost recite the preamble to the US Constitution and hear it all repeated back to me. We took some pictures, did some yoga poses and had a small snack while we soaked it all in. I only wish I could have done a full yoga class in that location.

Day 5 brings us to the biker part of my title since we mountain biked down a mountain at a ski/snowboard resort. I’ve done mountain biking before but usually you have to spend a lot of time biking up just to enjoy a quick downhill. Most bikers like to say “you have to earn it” when talking about the downhill but I figure if I pay for the lift ticket then “I earned it”! We used the ski lift to go up the mountain which felt odd without a board on my feet and then the bikes were hooked to the back of the next chairs. So we spent all day chair lifting up and biking down. All the fun without all the work and I am totally ok with that!

These were just a few of the many highlights from our epic journey to the West. I love vacations since they are a time of adventure and a time of living in the moment and they create lifelong memories. I hope you enjoyed my vacation as much as I did and that you get a chance to travel soon and make many wonderful memories to last a lifetime!

Cat “It’s a dry heat” Cathy

Is Fay There?

So I called up my parents and asked “is Fay there”. My dad thought I had dialed the wrong number until I explained it’s my little way of checking on them and making sure they were ok with Tropical Storm Fay approaching. The media must have been bored since they made a really big deal out of this tropical storm. Any given summer afternoon in Central Florida can produce as much rain and wind as the menacing TS Fay. But I did what a good prepared Floridian should do and I “hunkered down” for the storm. My boyfriend and I grilled out and watched movies. It was a nice chill evening and I didn’t feel like I was missing out since it was too rainy to do much else. Toward the end of the night when I got antsy I went out in the storm and did my best weather woman impersonation. You know how they stand out in the storm and show how windy and rainy it is for all to see. Well that is what I did and it was fun. It would have been even more fun if people were actually watching me from their hunkered down locations. I think I picked the wrong career!

The night did bring back fond memories of the hurricanes of 2004 when Central Florida was hit by 3 hurricanes in a matter of a few short months. The worst one was Charlie, which made driving a car like navigating a maze since almost all streets were blocked by downed trees. Even in that hurricane I was able to drive to a Publix in a new neighborhood that didn’t have any trees and had underground power lines. It was like nothing had happened there and I was living in a totally devastated war zone just one mile away.

I hope everyone was safe and had a good TS day even if we didn’t get the day off from work. Feel free to share your hurricane and tropical storm stories!

Cat “All this wind is messing up my hair” Cathy

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now

I recently decided to end my lease at my upscale downtown high-rise apartment. Ok, so it’s really just a dumpy little efficiency but I’ve lived here for 3 ½ years now and I consider it home. I thought this place was the coolest when I first moved in. It was my first time living on my own. I know that’s probably odd since I was 37 years old at the time but it was exciting and my big adventure. So now my apartment is a total mess while I decide what I absolutely can’t do without and what I would rather give away than have to carry down 3 flights of stairs and possibly up some stairs to wherever I move. It’s funny that I'm usually very clean but I really don't care that my apartment is a total mess right now since I look at it as a transition phase and I know it’s only temporary. When I was deciding if I should stay or go there was no clear winner. It wasn't like I found a beautiful place for half the price. That Sheryl Crow song just came to mind and I decided “a change would do me good”. The sad part is I don’t even know where I’m going yet and its only 3 weeks away! And instead of packing and looking I decided it was more important to blog tonight.

I know I will miss a lot of things about this place like the “take it table” downstairs. If you have something you don’t want anymore you can just leave it on the table for someone else. I’ve gotten some really cool stuff from it. Plus there was that time my friends walked me home after a night of drinking and my girl friend jumped on the table and her boyfriend “took” her. Don’t worry it was only “G” rated but it was funny and one of many good memories. Then there was the “happy birthday” time where we just decided to sing happy birthday to everyone who came downstairs. Somehow that made everyone smile. I also have to mention the time several friends came over to party. I think that was a record for the amount of people that could fit in the apartment and boy do we have some fun pictures from that night!

I’m sure some things will be better at a new place like hopefully I won’t have to put up with kids partying on my fire escape at 3 am on a school night but I'm sure there will be some things worse in the new place. The lesson I've learned lately is that everything seems to be tradeoffs. Some things get better and others stay the same or get worse. It's all shades of grey. So mostly I just decided to take a chance and not get too set in a rut. As long as I am renting I want to move every year just so I can try different things and see what I like. So I will be throwing out as much junk as I can and living like a minimalist so I can easily pick up and move again. This is not exactly where I thought I would be at 40 years old but it’s not all bad. I'm not worrying, I'm just taking it one day at a time. I have to go now so I can get packing and plan my big moving out party!!!!

Cat "Moving on Up" Cathy

Celebrating 20 Years of Head Banging Music

The other day I was driving to work jamming to Judas Priest's love song "Ram it Down" when I had a flashback to 20 years earlier. It was 1988 and I was sitting in my truck in a parking lot at work. There was a fire alarm so a friend and I sat in my truck and jammed the same Judas Priest tunes. Here I was 20 years later still driving a little truck (not the same one but I have had this one for 15 years so it's close), still listening to the same music, still being silly and singing along to all the words…I should know all the words by now after all its been 20 years!

I was thinking of how little has changed. I think I look about the same except the big hair is gone and I still dress very casual and sporty but now my jeans sit a little lower so as to show off my thong and not the granny panties I used to wear. It is simply amazing how fast time goes by. I feel fortunate to have kept some of my youthful traits along my journey in life especially with the many life challenges I have faced along the way. I do think my silliness and ability to laugh at life have kept me young and I am proud of that.

Then I thought a little harder and I realized how much had changed since 1988 just in a technology way. I had a navigation system in my truck, I was listening to my music on an MP3 player and not a cassette tape, I had a cell phone and let's not forget the minor things called computers and internet that may have affected our lives oh so slightly. It's amazing we were able to get by without all these gadgets but I do think they make life more interesting and easier.

Anyway, there is no real point to the blog. I just wanted to share my flashback story and luckily it was not related to drugs since that would be the 70's not the 80's. Take some time to reflect on your past and where you are now. Would young you be proud of who you turned out to be? Or do you look at young you and say "wow was I naïve and what the heck was I thinking wearing leg warmers in Florida".

Cat "Class of 86" Cathy

Gay Head, Gay Head!!

Now that I have your attention I have to let you know that Gay Head is a just a town on Martha’s Vineyard and was part of my latest travel destination and adventure. Fortunately there was no truth in advertising but we did have a good time snickering about it. We did see several Fairies… I mean Ferries but that’s not the same thing at all. Yes I know I’m 40 now and shouldn’t still act so silly but who says I have to grow up.

Speaking of no truth in advertising I didn’t see a single vineyard on Martha’s Vineyard. Maybe it’s a bad crop year or something. We did see a cornfield when we were cruising around in our bright blue convertible rental car. I would have thought the property there would be too expensive to grow corn but maybe this was special “vineyard corn” and sold for $10 an ear. Who knows?

Martha’s ice cream shop would have been a better name for the place since there was an ice cream shop on practically every corner. I felt bad for the poor overworked cows. We quickly got bored of the ice cream so we took our unsuspecting rental car on some major off road trails. These were jeep trails and not made for a sports car. It was fun for us but probably not so much for the car. No worries we returned it in one piece and still had some funny stories to tell and pictures to show.

Our vacation was mostly to Boston but somehow that just didn’t make as good of a title for this blog. We watched the fireworks down by the Charles River. It was a great show until the smoke blocked out most of the fireworks and we were just listening to the booms and looking at smoke. After the smoke show we had to cross over a 10 foot wide bridge to get out of the park with 599,998 of our closest friends. The best thing about the event was the drunken partying people afterwards. I ran into 3 women singing patriotic songs. I convinced them to sing Neil Diamond’s America with me much to the dismay of my boyfriend since I had been teasing him all day with that song. Out of nowhere I would sing a line or two or just shout “Today”. It’s amazing he puts up with me.

I also did some cone skating on the fourth. As if just plain old inline skating isn’t hard enough, this group weaves through cones placed just a few feet apart downhill on their skates. I call it rubber legs. If you’ve ever seen it you would know what I mean. I do ok but my legs just don’t seem to bend as well. While I was skating my boyfriend went for a walk. He returned with a pina colada in a coconut. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. This wouldn’t have surprised me on our recent trip to the Bahamas but somehow it just didn’t seem to fit in with Boston on the fourth…kinda like combining hot dogs and a fine wine. But we’ve determined that it is perhaps possible to get a drink in a coconut anywhere in the world and will be testing this theory at our future vacation destinations. Yellowstone coconut coladas here we come!

Another fun activity on our vacation adventure was the Historic Pub Crawl. It’s actually called the Freedom Trail and passes several historic sites but seems to pass a lot of bars along the way too so we made a few extra stops. Supposedly a lot of the decisions made by our founding fathers were made over a pint or two of ale. So I think from now on I will make all my decisions that way. Should I take this new promotion? Think I’ll get drunk and then decide. This could get interesting.

To top off my vacation I got picked for the ‘random’ search at the airport for both my departing flights. Apparently I am a major threat to national security…good to know. The search on the departing flight from Orlando wasn’t bad. It was faster than the normal line and I got felt up by a cute girl – could’ve been worse. The way back was a different story. It took close to 30 minutes. They even checked my oh so suspicious skates for chemical residual. Other people getting the “special treatment” included a black girl in spandex pants (hard to hide anything in what she was wearing) and a very well dressed foreign looking man who said “I’m glad they are doing searches”. I was thinking “yeah I’m glad they are searching you too but I think the spandex girl and I are pretty safe bets”. I’m surprised they let the Girl Scouts go through without a strip search! No telling what was in their cookie boxes.

It was a fun trip. If it sounds at all like I’m complaining it’s just me trying to find humor and entertain you with some of the more colorful experiences. I think it would be fun to live in Boston since I like big cities and there was so much to see and do. But I think I would change my mind when the temperature dropped below 60 degrees. I’m a warm weather Florida girl after all.

Cat “Boston Haaabar” Cathy

The Black Sheep of Yoga

My latest sporting adventure is a little different from my usual extremes of mountain biking and kite boarding. I recently took up Hot Yoga, which involves bending your body into all kinds of unusual positions in a steaming hot 105-degree room. You may be wondering how this could possibly pass for fun but somehow in my mind it does. I guess I enjoy it since it’s new, challenging, and good for your health. In a 90-minute class I get strength training, aerobic exercise, stretching, balance, relaxation and sweating out gallons of toxins. I've really enjoyed seeing my flexibility and balance improve over the past few months. Plus I now have many vacation pictures with yoga poses in them, which makes the pictures more fun.

Unfortunately my silly personality doesn't quite fit with hot yoga. It's supposed to be a spiritual experience. Right. I think the "spiritual experience" is more a sign of heat stroke approaching. My boyfriend and I like to act silly and so are developing a “black sheep” reputation in the class. Just last class we got in trouble for playing footsie between postures. Some people get recognized for doing a good job but we only get noticed for misbehaving. Well I guess any recognition is better than none at all, right?

The instructors say the same thing every class. There is one balance move that I just can't seem to get and the instructor says every class "if you're losing your balance, you aren't kicking hard enough". So I'm thinking I'll show him just how hard I can kick when I see him in the parking lot after class. Or they don’t get the English quite right, like in “touch your knee to your exactly forehead”. Which is different from my regular forehead how? I do believe the postures are good for your health and internal organs but there is one position where they say "20 seconds in this posture is as good as 8 hours sleep". Yeah right. Get a clue exactly guy, it's probably as good as exactly 20 seconds of sleep. Did I mention that the instructor doesn't even do the moves with the class? He just stands up there and tells us what to do. Somehow that just doesn't seem fair but at least he suffers through the heat too.

The class always ends with the teacher saying "Namaste" and the students repeating it. I never knew quite what this meant, and I didn't want to be saying "I will give you my first born" so I never said it. My boyfriend looked it up and in short it means "I bow to you" and is just a respectful greeting. So why can’t they just do what the Jamaicans do and say "Respect Mon"? Anyway, my boyfriend then sent me an email saying "I bow to you – let's come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness". Hmmm I wonder what he exactly wants.

Anyway, it’s fun and I’m glad I tried something new – you just never know. And who cares if we “exactly” fit in?

Cat "It's Hot in Here" Cathy

Supervising for Dummies

My boss decided I needed some opportunity for growth and she suggested that I get some supervisory experience. Since I’m on the technical side of things there was only one person that was suitable and he was already being supervised by another engineer. So now we split the supervising duties which gives me the demanding task of supervising half a person. I’m not sure if I want the top half or the bottom half. If I get the bottom half I won’t have to worry about him mouthing back at me but there are worse bodily functions he could use. Maybe we could split him into the left half and the right half. But that brings to mind the old joke about the guy who got hit by a train and cut in half….he’s ALL right now. I’m not totally new to the world of supervising. I was a team lead and supervised three and a half people in my last job. What is with all these half people?

I’m not sure supervising is for me. I like to act silly and it can be hard to command respect and admiration when everyone considers you the ‘office clown’. But like everything else in life, I just look at it as a new experience and a challenge that will help me grow as a person. I hope I will be a good supervisor and his left half will be very happy!

Cat “The Delegator” Cathy

Look! Up in the Sky - It’s a bird, It’s a plane…it’s a kite board!

I’ve always thought I was special and my mom has always confirmed this but I'm not sure I fall into the elite top 1%. I’m referring to my newly attempted hobby of kite boarding. My friend/trainer who excels at kite boarding describes it as “absolutely positively the wrong sport for 99% of the population”.

In case you don’t know about kite boarding or kite surfing it involves a big kite that uses the wind to propel you on a board through the water. You will probably see someone attempting this if you get to the beach on a slightly windy day anytime soon. Plus you can kite on land and ice so you may see the big colorful kites on non-beachy areas as well.

I’ve wanted to try this sport for years so I was happy when I finally met someone who could teach me. I usually don’t need lessons when I take up a new sport but this one seems more complicated than most. So far I’m falling into the 99% category since I’m a bit scared of all the power you can get from the wind and the weather never seems to be quite right when I finally make the hour long drive to the beach. But I haven’t given up yet. I have a dream…that one day I will be able to get up on a kite board for at least a few feet. I’ll keep you posted.

But even if I never get up on the board it’s still been a positive experience. I've had fun learning to fly the kite on the beach and getting dragged in the water, I've made some new friends and I've learned to pay more attention to wind speed and direction. I recommend trying a new sport or hobby to everyone as a good way to learn something new and keep life interesting and challenging. Perhaps just not kite boarding.

Cat “Not Flying High” Cathy

The Dirty Underworld of LUST

Today we are going to talk about LUST. LUST is dirty! LUST is bad! Now before you think I’m preaching to you, let me clarify what LUST is. It’s an acronym for Leaking Underground Storage Tanks and it’s what I do in my day job.

I’m amazed at all the ways my coworkers and I have managed to make the seemingly dull world of underground petroleum cleanup silly and fun. My favorite is the site names that I have. Most sites are just named after the gas station where the spill occurred but somehow, as the only female engineer, I managed to get all the sites that seem to have a phallic reference….Mr. Dong’s Diner, Big Man Restaurant, Long fellow Supplies, Rod’s Imports and BJ’s Emporium. Suddenly I hear Beavis and Butthead in the background laughing…"ha ha she said BJ’s"…no wait that’s just me. I’d describe our attempts at work humor more but as an outsider you probably wouldn’t be too impressed so suffice to say that it makes the job more fun and its good team building to laugh together.

I suppose if we can do this with the seemingly dull world of petroleum cleanup than you can do it with your job too. So start making the most of each day and laughing with your coworkers. No matter what you do I’m sure you can find humor in it somewhere!

Cat “I LUST My Job” Cathy

Born To Be Mild

Riding motorcycles is such a rush but I don’t ride too often since it’s just too dangerous. Perhaps I’m cautious since I’m still recovering from being hit in the head by a car on my bicycle last year. But for some reason all bets are off when I’m on vacation so I rented a Yamaha 175 in Jamaica and took my chances. A third world country with horrible health care, two lane bumpy roads with constant passing, riding on the left side of the road, limited motorcycle skills and probably half of all drivers high from the ganja….what could possibly go wrong??????

Well thankfully no serious injuries occurred and it was the best day of my vacation. I felt safer riding a motorcycle in Jamaica than I would in the US. There are lots of motorcycles in Jamaica so most cars know to look out for them and are respectful and courteous. Cars would wait to pass and give a nice beep to let you know they were passing and give you plenty of room. In a full day of riding motorcycles only two cars passed a little too close for comfort and one ironically enough was an ambulance. It was an exciting day that I will have great memories of for a long time to come. Assuming of course I don’t get any more head injuries! It was so much fun that I’m considering getting my motorcycle license. But we’ll see since I’m still a bit of a sissy.

Cat "zoom zoom" Cathy

Run Catastrophe Cathy Run

I was a big runner in high school. I did cross country, track and even ran throughout the summer just to get ready for the next season. Thankfully I outgrew this crazy period in my life and found some more fun sports to do. But just to remind myself how far I’ve come and how slow I’ve gotten, I tend to do a few 5K runs each year.

As part of this self inflicted torture I signed up for the Corporate 5K run yet again this year. It’s a fun event where I get to run through the ghetto with 10,000 of my closest friends. I would never feel safe running there alone or even with 100 of my closest friends but somehow it becomes ok when the number of runners out numbers the number of drug dealers by a factor of two.

I didn’t set a personal best this year but I had a decent time of 28:53 thanks to pacing with a friend of mine. The real fun was after the race since I got to play football in the citrus bowl, have cartwheel and piggy back races with my friend’s kids and do silly dancing moves for all to see. I guess the endorphins had kicked in at this point since I didn’t feel a thing when I was piggy backing my 180 pound friend! At least there is something good that comes out of running.

Cat “I do not choose to run” Cathy

Build A Better Mouse Trap And You Will Catch More Mice....Duh

Yesterday I spent the afternoon checking traps for mice and other small mammals. There were no small mammals to be found but the traps did catch a spider and a lizard and I had the added fun of pulling two ticks off of me. You may wonder what this has to do with my chosen career as a petroleum cleanup engineer. The answer is absolutely positively nothing. I just heard of this opportunity and thought it might be a fun experience and a good chance to learn something new.

Stepping outside the box of my normal daily grind is not a new thing for me. I’ve always volunteered for extra curricular activities at work including demonstrating a 1½ million dollar prototype hydrogen fuel cell car, being a science fair judge and doing a controlled burn. A controlled burn would be a dream job for a pyromaniac since it involves purposely setting a forest on fire. What do you suppose Smokey the Bear would say about this? “Only you can cause forest fires, only you”! It doesn’t sound very environmental but I learned of the many benefits it has while I was choking on the thick black smoke.

So the idea of doing something outside my normal career path is not unusual for me. I recommend this approach to everyone. Next time you have the opportunity to try something different give it a chance. You never know what you will learn, who you will meet and what fun you will have. After all variety is the spice of life! The worst thing that can happen is you remove a few ticks, have a funny story to tell your friends and a little bit more knowledge to carry with you on your journey through life.

Cat "eeks a mouse" Cathy

Casual Friday is now PJs Friday

My office allows me to work pretty much whatever hours and whatever days I want as long as I get 80 hours every two weeks. I’ve always just worked the standard five 8-hour days. I live close to work, I’m a social animal and my downtown apartment is just barely bigger than my office so the thought of working alone at home never really appealed to me. Until today that is.

For some reason I started looking at it differently this morning. I decided that not having the 15 minute commute and being able to work in my PJs or even nekkid if I liked was appealing. After all, my birthday suit is 40 now so I want to get as much use out of it as I can before it gets too raggedy! Plus my office is located in the ghetto and since I’m not shopping for crack, guns or a new boyfriend I don’t really like being there. I find all the sirens and drive bys to be a little distracting too.

So now I’m really looking forward to one day a week in beautiful downtown Orlando. I can work faster on my new high speed home computer and I will have so many options for lunch including working out at the gym, running around the lake and going out to lunch with my many friends who work downtown. I think this will be a nice little change in my weekly schedule and I’m proud of myself for rethinking the idea and giving it a chance. So I guess the moral of this story is to keep your options open and try it before you knock it. Unfortunately due to scheduling issues I still have to wait a month to start PJs Friday but I’ll keep you posted.

Cat Cathy

The Big 4-0 Birthday Bash….One for the Record Books!

The Big 4-0 birthday bash has come and gone. A big thanks to all who attended and made this day special! Thanks to my boyfriend who has an awesome party pad and went all out with catering, fireworks and a huge sign in the front yard! Thanks to Jenn and Tracy who did an awesome job decorating! We had bubble makers, water balloons and other fun toys. It was perfect for me since I’m a kid at heart and I’m glad they realize that about me.

Even the record setting rain storms couldn’t dampen my spirit…no pun intended there. It was my birthday and I was going to have fun. I drank Tracy's special pina coladas. My gifts were totally appropriate for a tom girl or sporty spice - A trip to Jamaica, balloons, rock climbing shoes and food gift cards. Some of the highlights were the fireworks, midnight drunken jet skiing and standing in the rain by the Happy Birthday sign in the front yard at 2 am getting passing cars to beep! I’m not sure if they were beeping to congratulate me or to keep me out of the road but it was fun either way. So while I am growing older I am definitely not growing up and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Take a chance and be silly today. Life is a lot more fun that way!

Cat "Over the Hill" Cathy

Roses for your piano…Tulips for your organ

I set a new personal record yesterday. Seeing as I’m into sports you may think I ran my fastest 5K or got a better batting average but this is a different PR. Yesterday I received the most roses in one day. My boyfriend sent me 40 roses for my upcoming 40th birthday. “Ahhh how sweet”, “girlfriend you better marry him” and “looks like someone’s in love” were just some the many comments I heard from my coworkers yesterday for the overwhelmingly big arrangement taking up half my desktop.

The 40 roses blew away my previous record of 24 when I received a dozen roses each from two suitors on Valentine’s Day many years ago. Of course I wanted to thank my boyfriend in my normal manner….hot sex! Kidding…..well…. maybe not. Ooh la la! But since I was still at the office I just sent him an email in my normal silly fashion. We work for the same organization and I occasionally send him emails about problems at work. So I sent him one with the subject: Big Work Problem! Then I proceeded to say I can’t get any work done since my desk is covered in roses. First there is no room for my reports, second everyone who passes by has to say something, third there is this pleasantly distracting odor and finally all the women want my boyfriend now so I have to fight them off!

Today I’m still getting people stopping by to smell my roses and congratulating me. I’m not really sure congratulations are in order since all I did was have a birthday but it’s nice to socialize with everyone. Plus I guess it’s a bit of a surprise that I made it to the ripe old age of 40 with all my sports injuries including 2 concussions…one of which I have on video and the other which involved a $2,000 no expenses paid trip to the ER.

So romance is alive and well. I don’t think extravagant gifts like this are necessary to show you care for someone but they sure are nice! I hope you take the time to do something for that special person in your life. Muah.

Cat "Roses are Red" Cathy

April Fool

I love playing practical jokes so a day dedicated to that is perfect for me. Plus it’s only 4 days before my birthday so my whole life I’ve been told I was born 4 days late. This year my boyfriend emailed me that he had to go to Washington for a week and we were going to have to cancel my big 4-0 birthday bash. Well I knew right away that it was an attempt at an April Fools joke so I said “why don’t you just fly everyone up there or let us trash your house while you are gone. Oh, and by the way I’m pregnant”! (FYI - we’ve haven’t slept together yet). To which he replied “well, you do sleep soundly . . .”. Of course, I had to come back with “I could be mean and say I’m not surprised I didn’t feel anything”. It was a fun little exchange but I’m not sure who won this round. Let me know what you think. And take a chance and play the fool today!

Cat "It's a girl" Cathy