Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bits & pieces

I don't usually post stuff like this mid-week. Normally, I'll wait until Sunday and throw a couple of items from Charles Osgood's "Sunday Morning" show in for good measure, but there's so much going on in my mind right now that - if I don't write about some of it, I'll explode!

My job search ...

I'm looking for part-time only, and am pretty fussy about what I'd like to do and how much I think I should get paid for doing same, but I've gotten a bit more serious in the past few days. I even 'went so far' as to redo one of my resumes! :)

I decided yesterday that I should send out either three inquiries or three applications every day. I made it yesterday. Today I had only two. :(

National Day of Mourning ...

Craig, our blogger friend from Australia - who is now in the Philippines covering a wedding, tells me that a national day of mourning has been declared for this coming Sunday in honor of those who have perished in the bush fires, some of which - it seems - were deliberately set.

Sunday is when Craig will be returning to his adopted homeland. He's looking forward to having better contact with the outside world and internet service, but is made somber by the knowledge of what he will return to.

I know that all of you join me in wishing him and his fellow countrymen the very best of luck in going forward with recovery and reconstruction efforts, not to mention quick apprehension and prosecution of those criminally responsible.

By the way, for those of you who might have the inclination and wherewithall to contribute, the Australian Red Cross is accepting donations for that relief effort.

News from Equatorial Guinea ...

Why am I writing about this? Well, that's where my friend Beth is. You might remember that I drove her up to IAH last week.

She sent me - along with other friends and members of her immediate family - an e-mail this morning that was meant to be reassuring. I had heard nothing whatsoever about this! Absolutely nothing!! Had you?

She writes, "Just to let everyone know, we are fine here at Abayak. Our compound is well-secured and we are not directly in the area where the attack took place. There is still military presence searching for attackers, as some might still be on the island. Pretty much everything is shut down. The local residents have been told to stay home with their families. The situation as it affects our work will be evaluated tomorrow. I could be sent back on Friday and rescheduled to come back later, or they might only delay the work by a week and ask me to stay past March 20th. Will let you know when I know."

[The link I gave you was from yesterday. There's probably more news today, but I haven't had the chance to check it out.]

Nonfiction writing contest update ...

Some of you know that I submitted three entries to this contest in mid-December. Results were supposed to have been announced and the top five entrants' stories published in January.

Two days ago I e-mailed the sponsor of the contest, concerned (#1) that my entries had not been received - either that, or I had submitted them in an improper format and (#2) that I was looking in the wrong place for the announced results.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an e-mail back from the sponsor, stating that she had simply been overwhelmed by the number of entries and it would be another two or three weeks until the results were announced. She remembered my name, she said, but would double-check to make sure that all three of my entries had been received.

That was a really warm fuzzy!

Sticker shock ...

I just got back home from the grocery store, and am still in somewhat of a state of shock. I'm having a terrible time believing that I had to shell out $25.97 (including tax) for one furnace filter!

Now, I'll admit that I'm a little lax in changing these things out and I know that I have to purchase kind of an odd size - 12" x 36" x 1", but my last recollection was of paying $7 or $8 each plus tax. (Of course, my fondest memories were of $2.99 plus tax, you understand, but this was back in the dark ages - before most of you were even born.)

And so, I looked it up. I keep records out the wazoo on **** like this. Yep, I was right ... unfortunately! The last time I bought furnace filters (about a year ago, and I bought more than one), I paid 1/3 of what I was over-charged for today!!

Let me check to see if this one is gold-plated. ... ... Give me a sec here. ... ... No, it's not. The packaging is different, tho. It's made by 3M. (That information alone ought to make it worth at least double what I paid before, right?) Let's see, what else makes this item now so dear??

It's "Micro Allergen", whatever the devil that means, and it "Outperforms Non-Electrostatic Filters". Oh, goody! And it's supposed to last "up to three months". Nothing new there!!

The upshot of this whole thing is that I will now have to go "price-shopping", and I think most of you know how much I detest shopping! My very strong tendencies are - once I find something I like and I know that a particular store carries it - I will buy that item at that location forever and count myself lucky that I only had to make one stop, but this really goes beyond the pale.

I don't know how much I'll be posting in the next couple or three days. Tomorrow will see me at the Museum of Natural Science - "Body Worlds 2, the Brain" exhibit's last day is Sunday. Friday I have customers coming in to Hobby. I'll pick them up, deliver them to their destination, wait, and then take them back to Hobby. Saturday morning there's a critique meeting of the writer's group that I've mentioned before.

As I'm now trying to be more serious about finding a part-time job, my first focus will have to be on those efforts. It's not that I don't love all of you ... I do! It's just that these posts - while I don't begrudge a single second - take a lot of time and concentration (my age playing a role here?), and I might not have enough of either left over to publish something succinct or well-written enough for anyone but me to read.

Meanwhile, all y'all hang in there, and I'll talk atcha soon!


stamperdad said...

One of my co-workers just returned from a few weeks in Equitorial Guinee. Our company has been drilling offshore there and has a sizable presence.


Tammy said...

Your waiting for the writing contest results reminds me of the waiting we did recently with Katie's. So hard to wait...

The mess in Australia is so very sad. I have so many friends who live there, and it is really taking its toll on all of them. I am sad that Craig is going to have to come home to that.

And Beth...she is in my prayers. Please let us know when she is safely home, ok?

Goldenrod said...

I wanted both you and Steve to know, Tammy, that I received another e-mail from Beth earlier today. It read, "All is quiet this morning. Looks like we will continue as scheduled. Have worked through rescheduling some training. (Beth is doing the training.) Will let you know of any changes, if they occur."

I'm scheduled to pick her back up again at IAH mid-March. She'll keep me informed, but - for now at least, the situation is looking better.

I thought of Katie's wait, Tammy, when I was writing that part of my post. :)

Craig Peihopa said...

Thanks Goldenrod. It was a somber feeling yet tinged with great joy for the resilience of the Australian community at large. We have a little over 20 million people in this land which is geographically the same or similar the the USA and yet there is a great sense of community when there is tragedy. tens of millions has been raised for the victims, both people and animals, communities have suffered. The Prime minister declared an annual day of mourning on Feb7 every year where the flags of the nation will fly at half mast. It has affected the psyche and toughened a national resolve. The silent sufferers though are the cats, dogs, goats, kangaroos, koalas, cows who were partially burned or have lingered in pain.

The writing submissions sound good I look forward to hearing how you went. My fingers are crossed.

Equatorial guinea, I have always wondered where that was, what they did and the like. I have only ever seen a few people and their flag at an Olympic opening or closing ceremony previously. What a marvelous thing, I can come to your blog and visit the world, even tripping off to Munising! It is not Hell I assure you. I have visited there and it aint in Munising!

Goldenrod said...

It "ain't", huh? Rrvit!

Equatorial Guinea, as I understand it (and Beth has shown me maps, but I'm still not sure if I'm telling you the right thing) is located off of the upper west coast of Africa, Craig.

It sounds as if things have quieted down there considerably in the last few days. In fact, just this morning Beth sent me an e-mail completely unrelated to her work there!

Let me know if you have trouble locating it, and I'll try and give you better information. Better yet, try Googling "Abayak, Equatorial Guinea" and see what you come up with! :)

Craig Peihopa said...

many thanks Goldenrod

Goldenrod said...

Hey, Craig?

You just left another comment on this post, so maybe you're still near your computer. I should tell you that I tried to Google "Abayak, Equatorial Guinea" and came up with all sorts of crap that I wasn't the least bit interested in! Try Googling just "Equatorial Guinea" ... MUCH better! Maps and everything!! :)

Craig Peihopa said...

see, you ARE the best!!!