Monday, September 24, 2007

Another Weekend Trip

Just a quick post ... the past weekend found us traveling to Illinois, specifically back to Urbana-Champaign, to attend the 80th birthday party for Lauren's mentor, Professor Les Savage. Going there meant a 7 hour drive there on Friday night and 7 hours back on Sunday.

I must admit to being a bit nervous meeting a few more of Lauren's friends for the first time, but after I realized that I probably felt how Lauren must have felt when we went to Kansas for my 20th high school reunion, it made sense.

All told, everyone had a great time; Les threw a catered dinner for all of us. As a special treat, Les' piano and music theory teacher played several selections that Les had composed over the years, which we all enjoyed.

The weekend was also marked by several excellent breakfasts, at the Courier Cafe on Saturday, and a brunch at the Courier's sister restaurant, Silver Creek.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Back from the RenFaire

Hi all,

This past weekend found us down in Kansas City for several events:

1. The 3rd Annual Kansas City Chocolate Festival: A charity event held at the Overland Park Convention Center, it featured free samples (including not one but two separate chocolate fountain stations), and cooking demonstrations.

2. This year's KC Renaissance Festival: Where Lauren and I found out that our favorite bagpipe/world music band Tartanic is not, to quote Monty Python, "bleedin' demised" like the infamous parrot. We were afraid that the band had gone their separate ways after an announcement on their old website earlier in the year, but when we got to the fair, we rejoiced to discover that the group survived a partial break-up and is continuing its mix of on-stage comedy and traditional pipes and Middle Eastern drumming at venues nationwide. And that kicked off a fun Sunday of shopping, light noshing, and later, a great dinner (we once again did Korean at Cho Ga) afterwards.

3. We also celebrated Lauren's birthday (she's 29 again, seriously!). Lauren and her friend Jenny both celebrate their September birthdays with a dinner and gift exchange, and we decided that instead of their meeting up in St. Joseph, MO as usual, we would head down to KC and combine it with the RenFest and Chocolate Festival gatherings.

4. And I got my phone fixed ... my poor Treo needed a new faceplace, so I grabbed one off of eBay and took it down to a Sprint store in KC to have it replaced. Unfortunately, in the process of replacing the faceplace (which required some internal work), the tech managed to damage the internal camera (which is why we don't have good pics from the chocolate festival). However, the tech was able to replace the camera with a better camera from a newer model Treo, so all was set right on Sunday.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Yet Another Kitteh Picture

And just for filler this week, it's a picture of da newest kitteh, Meme:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

No Joy in Maryville (Re: Yesterday's Bearcat Game)

Hey all,

It's another weekend in Maryville here. Some more details on the work uncertainty referenced in the last post: I'm still employed at my temp job at the local Energizer plant, but the assignment that I've been doing at the plant will likely be going away in several months at best, several weeks at worst. Apparently, an administrative decision was made that they are going to replace the temporaries on the cleaning crew with full-time staff due to the amount of turnover among the temporary cleaners and (my best guess) because of end of budget year shortfalls ... they've had to pay a lot of overtime for weekend spill cleanups over the last four/five months, and that's likely depleted their maintenance budgets. I should note that this change was completely unexpected and we had no warning this was coming, as usually cleaning jobs are the most stable temporary assignments at the plant, but that is unfortunately going to change for the long-term.

What it means for me is ... well, I'm not sure. As of last week, they were mentioning the possibility of confined space training (specialty training for working in confined/narrow spaces within the plant), which could mean travel to another Energizer plant for that. So far, no word on that at all.

At best, we think it means they'll give some of us that are being displaced a new assignment elsewhere in the plant, which means for me, the possibility of working on the main floor again and getting out of the dust, noise, and excessive heat from the current work location. So far, the temp agency keeps promising that they'll find us alternative assignments, and I have to trust them on their word, but it also means that I have to keep searching for a better job, putting out applications, and hoping something better comes up in the meantime. I have some possibilities, none of which I can discuss yet because they're only possibilities so far, but I have my fingers crossed.

FYI, if you have access to cable and get The History Channel, an episode of Modern Marvels coming up later in the month talks about the history of alkaline battery making. For background, a film crew spent some time at one of the Maryville plant's sister plants in Asheboro, NC. I believe the episode is showing on Wednesday, September 19th, at 8:00 Eastern (7:00 CST), so if you want to find out what my current work environment is like, feel free to watch.

The title for this entry refers to last night's NWMSU football game vs. University of Nebraska-Omaha, which unfortunately, due to injuries to key players, including our starting QB and both starting wide receivers, and a good opponent, resulted in the first regular season loss for the team since two years ago. While they were undefeated last year until the championship, it looks like it's going to be a tough year for the Bearcats this year. Oh well ... it just means that this year's matchup between the Bearcats and Pitt State should be interesting, to say the least. Last year's was a blowout; this year, I'm not so sure.

Anyhoo ... apart from the chaos, it's been a good week so far. Lauren's birthday is in a couple of days, but we've started the celebration a little early with a trip to our favorite Japanese restaurant in St. Joe. She's already gotten her birthday gift (a roll-up floor bed so she can take her daily nap at work), but I may be able to find something for her at the KC RenFaire next weekend, too.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ups and Downs

Hi all,

It's been a busy couple of weeks, with some recent ups and downs and future changes showing up. We haven't been able to post much, but here's what is new with us:

1. I found out at work in the last few weeks that the staffing drawdown leading into the winter shutdown is starting a bit early, so the cleaning assignment that I've been doing for the last four months at the plant will end sometime in the next few months. Odds are, they will try to keep me on at the plant, but doing what, I'm not quite sure yet. I keep hoping that something better will turn up for me in the meantime. I have my fingers crossed, anyway.

2. I recently found out that my middle sis and brother in law have moved out to the Pacific Northwest in the last month, Jim to take a new job and Linda and the kids to move as well. It looks like they haven't sold their old house in Michigan yet, either.

3. School is back in session. It's been interesting getting back into the school year, too; with Woodgie going back to teaching, we're working through the "who does chores and which ones?" concerns. So far, it looks like Lauren gets to maintain the litterbox, while I do the laundry. So far, we're splitting cooking chores and the housecleaning, as well as the dishes (she does them, I put them away).

With the start of the school year, we're also in football limbo, too: we went to the Bearcats' thunderstorm-shortened season opener a couple of weeks ago. We saw a lot of good things about this year's team, but we have yet to see a full game. Meanwhile, we wait while the NCAA Div. II rules committee decides who won.

4. Two of our favorite sci-fi shows are having some horrid things done to their schedules in the name of improving ratings: Battlestar Galactica, which is currently filming its last season, may be stretched out into two shorter seasons. According to AICN (Ain't It Cool News), it is reported that Sci-Fi Channel will be splitting Battlestar's last season into two shorter seasons, with the show actually ending in 2009. Meanwhile, the BBC announced this weekend that the 5th season of the new Dr. Who will not run until 2010 (which means given the delay, we wouldn't see it here in the States until 2011).

Meanwhile, we're taking a nice, quiet couple of days off for the holiday and regrouping; Lauren from her first week's teaching schedule, which included a weekend of teaching a Freshman Seminar session (orientation for what has turned out to be Northwest's biggest freshman class ever), and me from work.