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Voting [Oct. 24th, 2014|06:53 pm]
Ah, trying to vote.

EASY

Well, some things are easy for me this year. Here are those things in order from easiest to least easy.

City Council - District 10

Gregario Casar heard that some construction workers weren't getting paid. The construction workers were afraid to speak up because many of them were illegal immigrants. Casar did something to make sure those people got their pay. Whatever you think of illegal immigrants, surely hotels should not be able to get free labor out of people by breaking their contracts like bullies. Anyone who fights against theft and corruption is my man. His other viewpoints mostly sound good to me too.

Governor

Wendy Davis became known all over the country for taking a stand (literally) on something that's actually important. Her overall stands on some things are a bit fluffly, and I'm annoyed that she lets Republicans take ownership of things like "family values."

But Greg Abbott is scarier than Rick Perry. The latter, at least, could occasionally be reasonable or rational. So the choice is easy.

Lieutenant Governor

I remember figuring out a long time ago that Van dePutte sounded good and Patrick sounded crazy/scary, though I no longer remember the particulars. Patrick sounds sane but misguided on the LWV document, but I think he actually was friends with an undocumented worker he'd hired but then went turncoat on all undocumented workers, as if he didn't realize they were made out of people anymore.

Proposition 1 (city)

This is the proposition to build another light rail route. I love light rail. However, just like the last one, this one doesn't actually go anywhere good. And unlike the last one, it's not because it follows already-built railroad lines; they'd have to build new lines. Those who favor this route say that it's for places that will be growing in the future, places with potential. To me that sounds like something developers want. I think you should build things that are needed right now. I think there is no explanation for the route proposed here but corruption. This route is actually more accessible to me than the more obvious route through the center of town, but I don't care. I'm voting against.

Proposition 1 (state)

This requires half the money from gas and oil taxes that go into the rainy day fund to not just sit there but to actually be spent on transportation projects.

This sounds good to me. Also my old favorite Representative (no longer in my district) endorses it.

Senator

I have received many responses from my current Senator on the ballot (Cornyn) and every single one without exception has pissed me off. He likes to thank me very much for my opinion. He values the time I have taken to send him a response. He believes the exact opposite of what I have requested. He usually gives reasons that are based on bad data or otherwise make no sense, though occasionally he gives reasons that are just based on different priorities. And then he promises to take my opinions into consideration when he makes his decisions. When you lie in my face like that over and over and then also disagree with me on every single issue, it's easy to vote against you. But who do I vote for?

Alameel sounds basically okay, though stereotypically Democratic. Paddock sounds very hateful toward immigrants and mother earth, but I do like that she opposes spying on US citizens and is concerned about the suicide rate for veterans and active military. Sanchez did not submit a response to the League of Women Voters. I guess I'll vote for Alameel.

MEDIUM HARD

Other things are harder to decide.

Railroad Commissioner

(For those outside Texas, this is more important than it sounds.)

The League of Women Voters puts out some good information, but normally I don't care about the issues they ask about. But hey, they have an issue I care about for Railroad Commissioner: fracking. Sadly, I hate every one of their answers.

Steve Brown says "I would also support establishing a baseline of environmental factors through geological surveys and water tests to determine how drilling might impact an area." Um no, we don't need studies. I remember from one of Carl's classes in the 1980's that deep-well injection of hazardous wastes were found to cause earthquakes. Back then, that meant that you couldn't do it. Apparently the natural gas lobby is bigger than the hazardous waste removal lobby. But we don't need studies; scientists already know fracking sucks.

Mark Miller says "The Commission has rules to satisfy many purposes, e.g., prevention of waste, protection of mineral rights, water resources, and public safety. Fracking, per se, requires few additional rules. However, the fracking boom requires consideration of rules related to such things as waste water injection, discharge
of natural gas, and protection of surface owner rights." This doesn't sound like much. On the other hand, when a Libertarian says we need rules, that's pretty serious, so this guy might be my candidate.

Martina Salinas says "The commission also needs to be more vigilant in that only safe and reputable energy companies are allowed to operate in Texas." Only safe and reputable energy companies? There's no such thing. So no energy companies should be allowed to operate in Texas? Yeah, right.

Ryan Sitton says "All of the commission’s rules should be based on sound science and data and properly balance the safety and health of communities with our need to responsibly produce as much energy as possible." Science. And knowing that Americans want their power. Yes. But then he says, "Fracking is a proven, reliable and safe drilling technique that has allowed for tremendous growth in energy production." No, it is a profitable drilling technique that has made loads more natural gas available. Especially if they don't have to pay for any of the damage they do. But it is not safe at all. I hate this guy.

So, okay, I'm voting Libertarian here.

Austin Community College issues

These are
1 - growth bond (increase Highland, add one in Leander, and acquire land in SE austin for a "workforce" campus, whatever that is).

2 - maintenance bond (mostly for Rio Grande) and some other growth (Hays public saftey, Round Rock health force, Elgin sustainable ag and vet tech)

3 - raise the tax cap from 9 cents to 12 (over the next five years) to cover maintenance and "stabilize" tuition. Also finances a Nursing RN to BS program.

Figuring out how I want to vote on these issues requires me to figure out how I feel about three things: what should the ratio of student:taxpayer cost be for community colleges, do I like what these proposals are meant to do, and do I value and trust my particular community college? One could argue that it also matters whether I would personally benefit from any of these proposals.

I love colleges. Even community colleges. Love! But should these things be paid for by the students or by taxpayers? Does having cheaper classes help tax payers by improving the knowledge of some of her residents? At least it's not free--the people who benefit most do have to pay for part of that benefit, and they have a monetary incentive to not blow off the classes they're taking.

Now, what do I actually think about these proposals?

The first one about growth is probably just the sort of thing that makes sense to fund with bonds rather than regular income such as taxes and tuition. Also, I have a bias because it includes expanding the campus that is walking distance from my house. (Slobber, slobber.)

ACC has a nice page on these. They say "The college has since completed all planned bond projects [from the 2003 bond election] on time and under budget. In fact, strategic fiscal planning allowed the college to do more than promised." If that's true, I am impressed and inclined to entrust them with more money.

The second one about maintenance should be funded by regular funds such as tuition and property taxes. On the other hand, I get really sick about people not funding maintenance, so I kind of want to vote for this anyway.

Also, my friends in the School of Nursing at UT have told me that there is a huge demand for nurses (I also know this from my mom, who is a nurse) and that they can train only a certain number of nurses because there is only so much room in the local hospitals for them to practice. Still, if ACC can figure out a way to grant additional nursing degrees, that sounds kind of good.

The third one about raising the cap reminds me of how standard tip percentages have risen over the years. I am opposed to that. Yes, there is inflation. Therefore, things cost more at restaurants. And tips of a constant percentage will increase at the same pace.

So I'm inclined not to raise the cap on the percentage because property values increase and because the number of properties increase as the population grows. But ACC says that compared to other cities in Texas, our taxes are much lower than average and our tuition is much higher. So moving towards more taxes rather than more tuition is not going overboard compared to other cities. But the League of Women Voters says that attendance at ACC has fallen 8% since 2011, so why do they need more money?

I guess currently I'm inclined to vote yes-yes-no.

Representative - District 25

Betz has given the League of Women Voters no response. Montoya sounds surprisingly okay. My current Representative Williams has no response.

Attorney General

The Chronicle endorsements generally can't be trusted because they tend to recommend funding all bonds and voting straight Democratic. However, it's worth paying attention when they go against those trends.

I didn't see that happening for any races I can vote in. But I did read something that might make Robin want to vote for something other than the Libertarian candidate:

"After years of politicized prosecutions under AG Abbott, it's a relief to endorse an experienced lawyer who has pledged to end Abbott's commitment to secret government. There is no public benefit in sealing records of explosive chemicals or state subsidies to private businesses, and Houston will turn a bright spotlight on state operations once more." Sounds good to me; I'll be voting for Sam Houston. In spite of his name.

HARD

Ugh. Tired. Do not want to read any more about this stuff.

but I did think to google endorsements. I don't see any groups I identify with. However, I did see the Tea Party. So tempting to vote against everyone they endorse. They also have some people they recommend but don't endorse--I won't hold recommendation by the Tea Party against anyone.

Dang, I only see endorsements for two races for which I can vote:
Lt. Governor: Dan Patrick
Attorney General: Ken Paxton
And I'd already decided against those guys, so, oh well.

If any of the above makes you think, "No, no! Don't be an idiot!" please let me know. If you have an opinion about any state-wide races I didn't mention or school boards, please let me know. In fact, make any comments you please.
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My Austin [Oct. 21st, 2014|08:17 pm]
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In a book I'm reading, one character says she doesn't really like Paris. Then the other character says to let him show her his Paris.

That got me thinking. If I were to show someone my Austin, what would I show?

Some of my favorite things don't really exist anymore, though they still color my view:
* Jester dorm second floor as it was in 1985-1986
* Bill and Dave parties
* ballroom dance classes taught by Richard Fowler

However, I can think of a few things I could still show people:

The UT Austin library

This is especially good for anything you want from before 1988 (back when it was the second biggest academic library). Basically it has 99% of everything (besides popular fiction and cookbooks). After that year, it has only 50% of everything. That's still a pretty nice place to go.

They also used to have all the best books in the Undergraduate Library, but they have since moved those books back to their respective parent libraries (such as the Biological Sciences Library). Still, great books are available.

UT Austin classes

You can audit classes for almost nothing, something like $25/course. I haven't done this lately, but I will again soon. They have so many amazing courses. If I'm wrong about a course being awesome, it's no big loss. And the great thing about auditing is that if a text is no good, instead of reading it anyway and remembering as much as I can for a test, I can just read a better book instead.

The Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center

I don't actually go there very often, but wildflowers and Tex-Mex were the two things I missed when I lived in Boston. And now I also love the Center's philosophy that if you plant native plants, then you have plants that actually like your soil and your weather, so they're easier to take care of. Plus the native birds, butterflies, etc., also like them.

Alamo Drafthouse Theatres

I'm not actually a fan of wait staff asking you questions during a movie, but I absolutely love that their pre-shows are silly, interesting things that are somehow related to the movie you're seeing. I also sometimes enjoy their notifications that talking is not allowed, and that "Texting totally counts as talking." Like the one where Ann Richards throws someone out on the sidewalk (using totally cheap special effects) for talking.

If only normal theatres were available with their loud, obnoxious, repetitious pre-show ads, I'd probably never go to movie theatres again. The sound is better at home, plus you can have subtitles and pause to use the restroom.

Interesting yards

There's a yard with at least a fifteen-foot tall Gumby in my neighborhood. Also a yard with the different parts edged in bowling balls. Near a friend's house there is a Loch Ness Monster. And many, many yards are loaded with wildflowers of many, many kinds.

Hiking Spots

I also don't go here much, but it's good to take people to Enchanted Rock. Big magma bubbles peaking through the surface of the soil. And plants growing out of rock. Amazing.

And Inks Lake State Park. It has a bright blue lake. And it will teach you to notice lichens. They come not only in army green and gray, but also in yellow green, burnt orange, and bright yellow. On pink granite. Occasionally you get to see a roadrunner.

And McKinney Falls, where there's some bare limestone that sort of feels like you're on a cratered moon. (With as much gravity as a planet.)

The Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail is nice and long and pretty scenic. There's also a trail near my house at the old airport.

Tex-Mex

I've always liked crispy tacos, burritos, and enchilada plates. ("Plate" means "with beans and rice.") Now I also like breakfast tacos, especially migas breakfast tacos. And tortilla chips, with or without queso.

There are other good restaurants of all kinds as well. I love the fried rice at Tan My's, for example. And soup and salad at La Madeleine. And we have many good barbecue places, Indian food places, soul/comfort food places, etc.

Good grocery stores

My favorite grocery store was my first grocery store, in Waltham, Massachusetts. They had a huge selection. For example, I used to check graham crackers to see if they had lard. There were six or nine choices of plain graham crackers, two of which did not have lard. Most grocery stores have only one or two kinds, and they might both have lard.

But I sure like HEB as having a pretty good combination of selection, quality, and price. I could live with just that store if I had to, especially the new branch near me.

But I also like how super nice and competent everyone is at Wheatsville Coop, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's, plus they each have things I like that are available only there.

Non-summer weather

Sunny. Pretty. It stays dark too long in the winter, but not like in the north. No shoveling. Cars don't rust. It snows occasionally, just so we don't feel left out.

Costume parties

My friends often have costume parties. But they're not the only ones.

The Capitol 10K used to be full of people running in costume. I have run in costume myself before. I've been one of the Secret Service staff accompanying President Clinton. (I actually wore a black blazer, tie, and dark sunglasses, but also wore black shorts and sneakers.) I've been spring fairy (my friend and I wore bridesmaid-type dresses, flowers in our hair, and sneakers).

Ultimate frisbee pick-Up games

The great thing about ultimate frisbee is that you can play with people of multiple abilities on each team. You just have people guarding the people on the other team at a similar level, and so long as you have a rule that you always throw to whoever's open even if you're pretty sure they can't catch it (good motivation for perfecting your aim), then everyone gets to play. On co-ed teams, even.

Actually any games with Dave (and Bill) are good. For example there's also round-robin ping pong; people go out quickly, then you start a new game. And there's disc golf--whoever is furthest throws next--if you're bad, you get to throw more often!

I even became adequate at volleyball because of various groups around town.
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Defensive Driving: Road Rage Edition [Oct. 11th, 2014|08:45 pm]
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I guess all defensive driving instructors have their own strengths and missions. Today's most interesting material was on dealing with annoying things that happen while you're driving.

Catty-wampus parking

My instructor liked to tell stories. For example: Imagine you're in a very full parking lot. Finally you find a space. Sort of. One of the adjacent cars is parked crooked. You can still squeeze in by parking crooked yourself. You think about keying that guy's car. But you decide you're above that and don't do it.

Later, that guy leaves. A new person finds the space, but notes that you are parked crooked. They can just fit in, but they have to park crooked to do so. They think about keying your car. But then they decide they are above all that and don't do it.

This can go on all day long.

Lesson: You never know if that person who's parked crazy is the first person who parked like that.

Slow drivers

Sometimes someone's driving really amazingly slowly. As you pass, you look inside and see that it's some super old person.

But think about it. Do you really want all the nine-five-year-olds driving fast? Maybe not.

And sometimes after pretty traumatic accidents, the people in them are afraid to drive fast for a while.

Lesson: Just let people drive the speed they are comfortable at.

Teaching people a lesson

You may tell yourself that when you shoot someone the bird or otherwise communicate negatively with a driver that you are teaching them a lesson and making the roads safer for everyone.

But you can't teach people a lesson on the road. Face it, you're really doing that because it feels good. It's actually safer to just let it go.

When someone does cut you off, you might even think to yourself, "There you are. I was wondering where you were."

Shockingly bad behavior

Our expectations tend to be too high when we're driving. It will never be the case that everyone will use their blinkers, everyone will drive your idea of the ideal speed, no one will cut anyone off, etc.

Better to just accept that annoying things will happen. There's always another idiot. When you start feeling emotional, ask yourself why you're still shocked. It really should not be a big surprise.

Teaching yourself a lesson

If you feel a rush when you cut someone off, there might be something wrong with you.

If you get cut off on a regular basis, or someone flips you the bird on a regular basis, you might be doing something wrong, or at least something rude. "Once every six months is a healthy amount." Heh. If it's happening more often than that, it might be something about you.

Our instructor actually avoids doing some things that he personally does not feel are wrong just because it's been made clear to him that other people don't like it and it's better to get along on the road. For example, when getting on the freeway and traffic is slow, he likes to wait until the last possible second to merge. But people in the slow lane feel he is taking unfair advantage of them, so now he merges much sooner than that.
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New vent fan/Spanish family members [Sep. 28th, 2014|09:19 pm]
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My house was built in 1955. It has many of the awesome things from that time period. For example:
* big fenced-in yard for your dogs to play in
* driveway for your car (everybody has one these days!)
* fire-resistant asbestos shingles
* indoor plumbing
* automatic washing machine
* refrigerator
* natural gas oven and stove with huge fume hood
* open floor plan
* big windows in just about every room (small window in the bathroom)
* built-in closets (six of them!) plus a big pantry cabinet in the bathroom
* easy-care laminate counters in the kitchen
* easy-care vinyl flooring in the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom

Since it was built, various owners have helped bring it along into the future. Things I know about:
* central heat and air conditioning (thank you, thank you)
* concrete patio

When I got the house, I immediately had it weatherized and fixed up a few things. But this weekend, we brought it another step forward in time and installed a bathroom ventillating fan.

There's really not much else to say. It works. The bathroom doesn't steam up like crazy during showers anymore, even if we don't open the window.

Spanish of the Day

In our next unit, we cover "the family." Which means we have to memorize a huge list of words for various family members. I do not like memorizing. So I tried to find a fun unit on families out there on the internet. I had no luck. So I just started looking up a bunch of the words to see if there were any interesting connections. I already knew this one from my friend and classmate, Paul, who is a police officer for his side job:

* esposo - husband
* esposa - wife, handcuffs

But here are a few more:

* sobrino - nephew
* sobrina - niece
* sobrar - to be leftover, spare, more than enough, superfluous

I don't know if sobrar is related to sobrino/a, but if it is, it's like nieces and nephews are extra children, in case you need someone to finish the rest of that birthday cake or huge watermelon.

* cuñado - brother-in-law
* cuñada - sister-in-law
* cuñadismo - nepotism, old-boy network

Robin and I actually are in the habit of explaining certain kinds of crazy goings-on in town as due to someone on City Council's brother-in-law.

* nuera - daughter-in-law
* yerno - son-in-law
* yernar - to make one a son-in-law by force

We just don't have a verb for that in English (that I know about). (We do have the phrase "shotgun wedding.")

They also have the words for "twin" in my book (gemelo, gemela; obviously related to gemini). That's nice. We still have to look up "triplet," etc. ourselves.

Here's another interesting one:
* suegro - father-in-law
* suegra - mother-in-law
* consuegra - mother-in-law of one's child

As if the mothers of both children are conspiring against them. (All for their own good, of course!)
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What's that picture? [Sep. 22nd, 2014|08:20 pm]
Fun with intergenerational confusion: I saw what looked like someone taking a picture of the building behind me. She was holding her smart phone in the air, aiming it over my head.

Wrong! She was taking a selfie with her friends beside and behind her!
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Steps to Learning Spanish [Sep. 21st, 2014|09:59 pm]
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I need three steps to learn Spanish.

1. Understand it - Read the book; go to class; ask questions; do the lessons; look up meanings of words, parts of words, parts of phrases; find additional explanations for grammar points. I am great at this.

2. Get it in my head - Make flashcards and go over them repeatedly. Just because I understand it doesn't mean I remember it. I can understand it perfectly, explain it perfectly, practice it, and still have it completely disappear out of my life. It's a gift. (Why no, I'm not good at trivia!)

Basically, if it's not on a flashcard, it's not in my head. But if it is on a flashcard, then even if it doesn't really make sense and I have to just memorize it, usually I can.

I have been keeping up with this step but it is not as fun as step 1.

3. Make it a part of me - No telling. Just because I can get it in my head doesn't mean it's going to stay in there. I tried my flashcards from chapter one today and it seems like for half of them I had forgotten the answer, I had forgotten part of the answer, or it took me way too long to remember the answer. This is stuff I knew perfectly two weeks ago.

After a while, reading and watching TV and movies in Spanish should help things stick, but right now I can't really do those things. Although Robin was watching a bunch of videos on how to make Spanish tortillas, most of them in Spanish, and I could actually understand several phrases here and there.

Meanwhile, I'll settle for practicing daily. And going over flashcards from old chapters weekly.
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Spanish Tutor [Sep. 20th, 2014|12:21 pm]
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I finally remembered to go to the community college and check out the tutoring yesterday. Robin came with. Many sources agree that tutoring is the best way to learn a language short of full immersion.

I didn't really know what to expect, although I've actually been a math tutor before (statistics). Generally what would happen in math is that the students would bring some homework they were having trouble with and I would re-teach them the parts they didn't understand and then they would try to finish the problems from where they had gone wrong. We don't exactly have problems to work out in Spanish class.

So I asked the tutor what generally happens. And she said you bring something you're having trouble with. So neither one of us was properly prepared.

So we started by asking her to explain "gustar," the weird backwards-seeming word. It doesn't actually mean "to like" but to "please" and so you actually have to say that dancing pleases you rather than that you like dancing. But it feels like you are saying "Me likey dancing." And "Me likeys cookies." Because the verb agrees with the thing(s) you like, not with you.

Then I realized I wanted her to ask us questions using the new verbs we're learning, so we did that for a while. And that's when I realized a few more phrases that are a lot quicker to say in Spanish than in English which is way fun. The most handy one for us is "¿Qué buscas?" (pronounced KAY BOOSS-kahss). That means "What are you looking for?" Two words instead of five! Three syllables instead of six!

Other good ones:
* ¿Qué miras - What are you looking at?
* ¿Qué esperas? - What are you waiting for? (The bus.) Or What are you hoping for? (I'm hoping a bus will come someday.)
* ¿Qué escuchas? - What are you listening to?

And this short form is possible because you can tell the subject pronoun from the verb and because those particular verbs include the prepositions (for/at/to) that we have to add in English.
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Learning to Read Tarzan [Sep. 16th, 2014|11:27 pm]
I just finished the second book in the Tarzan series. Now that I treat it as what it is--a serialization, with pretty much each chapter ending in a cliffhanger--I'm enjoying it more. When you need that many cliffhangers, it's just not going to be realistic or totally happy. But things mostly work out for him (this book even ends better than the first one).

So now I can just sit back and enjoy meeting Jane's best friend, hanging with an African tribe, and discovering a fascinating lost culture, even though Tarzan also wants gold for no reason, his hearing suddenly isn't amazing anymore when he needs to hear something, and the fiance dies right when we finally don't want him to die anymore.

Meanwhile, until I get book #3, I'm enjoying another new-to-me Louis L'amour book. Often, reading is the most fun thing I do all day (away from home), so it's good to have books I know I'll enjoy, even if they aren't the most amazing books of all time.
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Meeting Haiku [Sep. 15th, 2014|11:23 pm]
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Six meetings this week.
Each one better than the last.
Worst one now over.

(That's calming and soothing just like a real haiku, right?)

Pun of the Day - From our Spanish teacher's extremely pregnant daughter - "Mom, the baby wants to come out, but she's not making any headway."

Cartoon of the Day - XKCD's Future Self - I really admire good commenting.

"# DEAR FUTURE SELF,
#
# YOU'RE LOOKING AT THIS FILE BECAUSE
# THE PARSE FUNCTION FINALLY BROKE."

Do read more--it gets better. Just like my work meetings.
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Belonging [Sep. 14th, 2014|09:41 pm]
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I got to go to an and-of-summer party yesterday. This is a swimming pool and board game party thrown by some friends who have millions of friends. It's generally quite large and full of people I don't know, though after all these years of party attendance I am actually getting to recognize some of them.

One interesting thing I noticed is the huge difference I feel between work and this party in terms of being in the loop.

At work I feel very out of the loop. For example, I was not automatically "invited" to certain committee meetings and didn't notice until Wednesday that two of them were on Friday, so I took Thursday off instead of Friday. If I had gotten the notifications when the meetings were set up for all the principal attendees, I would have noticed earlier and probably taken off Wednesday instead of Thursday.

For another example, a couple of weeks ago I contacted the head of the advisors in my college and asked if they had meetings of any kind and, if so, whether it would be appropriate for me to attend these. He said yes, they have monthly meetings, and I am welcome. But my predecessor didn't come because she was only part-time. I am also part-time, but feel that advisor meetings should not include all advisors except me.

(Another sad thing is that I'm a little afraid to tell my supervisor that I contacted the head advisor and am doing this. Because I'm a little afraid that she'll tell me that I don't need to go to those. I want to at least see what one is like before I let the cat out of the bag. And this is even though I know my supervisor likes me to keep her up to date on all my goings on.)

In contrast, at the party I got to find out things! I wasn't necessarily told directly, but it still felt good. For example, one friend who likes to help host Halloween parties told the hostess that she would not be doing so this year because her husband will be out of town. So, the hostess might like to throw the party instead. However, the hostess likes to go to the party thrown by the No Kidders (group for people who don't want kids). (Yes, most years she goes to at least two Halloween parties!) And I get to know way ahead of time instead of just wondering at the end of October if anyone I knew would be having a party.

For another example, when I went down to the hot tub to say goodbye to the host, the gal he was talking to recognized me as someone who performs at recitals and requested another recital. And so I got to hear the preliminary plans being formulated (perhaps next April).

The party was a lovely antidote to the alienation of work, even though I see even my favorites of those people much less often than I do my co-workers.

Also, of course it was a nice party where I got to learn about how Starbucks barista jobs are stressful (but why? that is so wrong!), two friends are probably moving into new jobs soon (one is having the job created for her; one has two companies talking to her but the timing is off and she might lose both opportunities), one of my classmates is angry about how much time our teacher wastes, one of my friends is willing to travel only 33% for her job now and yet is currently travelling over 50% and, for example, has the highest status on an airline that flies only to one country (The Philippines), etc.

And I tasted bread pudding made with biscuits, which also seemed to have custard and chocolate--too bad I was so full by the time I tasted that. And I learned that chicken nuggets make a good party food. And there are these "chips" made out of cookies you can buy now. And I got to wear a winter hat in Austin in September because it went with the party theme and it was actually a bit cool outside.
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