kathryn has been a blog-slacker.

so, it occurs to me the lower half hasn't really posted anything lately. to update everyone on the excitement, here is a list of things to note:
  • i have taken up 3/4 of the black plastic in the backyard, and hope to roto-till and seed the lawn in the course of the next two weeks.
  • becky, pete, alex and i took a little trip camping in vermont. we got to go swimming!
  • most of the music i've been listening to is in minor chords. awesome.
  • i went to the gym on sunday, and am getting back into that.
  • i happened to purchase some white gym sneakers - i laugh when i wear them because i look like somebody that i'm not.
  • currently i'm attempting to re-make myself into something new and fabulous. i started by shaving my legs.
  • does anyone else think this is funny? a vibrator cleverly disguised as a razor with a nice round rubber 'handle'? i'm tempted just because it's an entertaining idea.
  • it has been gently pointed out to me by several people that, in fact, i'm not fat or unattractive, but have been dressing in an 'unflattering' manner for the last two-three months. today i've busted out a skirt and cute top, and the compliments / smiles seem to support their statements. point taken, yo.
  • this weekend mostly sucked, except for the part where i stayed home. i spent way too much money on thursday and friday nights, and had, at best, mediocre experiences
  • my fucking bike is messed up again, and i have to fiddle with it tonight.
  • on the upswing, awesome ricardo finished the pictures of me and bike together!!! and here is one because i am wicked glad i came out looking good.


alright... the squeamish win!

it appears as though most people were not enamored of the eyeball shots. so, in order to not alienate the loyal readers of the casa blog (yeah, all six of you!) i decided to change them to a click-through. who knew y'all were so delicate?

actually, it's probably me who is beyond the bell curve on this one. with the exception of bugs and the dentist, i am not particularly squeamish. i grew up in the country where i was constantly stepping on rusty nails, where my sister got attacked my a rooster, where the cat used to make daily presents of mouse innards, and where many of the old farmers still gave themselves stitches at home. i think it's one of the things that made me a good crisis counselor... this stuff (for the most part) doesn't bother me. and lets face it... you can't be the one-armed/one-eyed/nine-toed bandit without being just a little bit fascinated with your own injuries.

and in case you feel the urge to cross the street if you see me coming down the sidewalk... don't bother. i'll have you know that my eye looks much better now.


fair is fair.

i promised Kathryn that i would put up some new content this weekend to force the gory eye picture a little farther down the page. sorry to my squeamish friends. i am just finding this fascinating. i simply woke up with it one morning, and i have been watching it evolve ever since. what has been particularly interesting to me is other peoples reactions. for the first three days at work, when the entire white of my eye was red -- nobody said a word. they would stare at my eye, and lose their train of thoughts, and stare some more, and still not mention it. finally, our custodian looked at me and went running out of the room... he came back with a present of a tiny little bottle of visine and mime'd that i should put it in my eye. and get more sleep. his english is poor and my brazilian is non-existent, so i could think of no way to easily explain that it wouldn't help. i just thanked him. it was a very sweet gesture.

the governor came out to the crime lab this week for a ribbon cutting ceremony. you can read his press release about it here. i decided not to go. i didn't need to be there for any reason, and while the crime lab can use the good press, i didn't want to get on the news supporting the governor. romney, in his press release, takes personal credit for expanding the DNA staff from four chemists to 36. first of all, we don't actually *have* 36 DNA folks. that's projected for the end of the year, after two more training classes graduate. second on all, want to guess how many of those new DNA folks are temps? if you guessed "all of them" you win.

fair is fairso what i really wanted to do was go to the ribbon cutting ceremony and have all of the temp workers in the crime lab where gigantic buttons on them with a big scarlet T. There would be so many that any pictures the press wanted to take would include a couple. But i can't organize like that. while i am covered by a union, i can also make no political statements during work. i can't embarrass the governor. and heck, i don't need to. if i a give it enough time i am sure that he will embarrass himself.


photos finally

here she is, in all her garish glory!
driver's side
if you look closely, you can see down my shirt cute *and* safe!
if you look closely you can see down my shirt. heh.
baby got back

that's all i've done so far. it's only a bit more than before, but i've definitely attracted quite a bit more attention driving around. aiden and liam saw my car for the first time yesterday while i visited them in VT. liam gasped and exclaimed, 'whoa! there's a cooooool car parked in our driveway!' they both looked at me with awe and respect when i told them it was mine. that's when i realized that my car really *is* beautiful. it just took seeing it through 3- and 7-year old eyes for me to get it :)


posting deleted < handle deleted >

Okay, you click on these on your own risk...

Wanna see a
gross picture of my eye?

And for the truly fearless... wanna see a
really gross picture of my eye?


tales from the crime lab...

the crime lab is in the midst of undergoing some major expansion. we already have satellite sites around the state (mainly of crime scene services -- the folks who actually go out to crime scenes and collect evidence) and we just opened another site in north sudbury. like any company, expansion never goes smoothly. this week it was the water cooler bursting in north sudbury and somehow staining the carpet. and waiting for our shelving for the stock rooms, which is long overdue, which means the hallways are still full of boxes full of information and goods that needs to be under lock and key. and someone's water breaking in the chem lab. our site in agawam just got condemned. and in the main lab in sudbury, we moved all of the computers around since we added 12 more DNA analysts. and we managed to plug them all back in just in time to get hit with the latest evil virus.

i think perhaps i lost site of the fact that the state police, and the crime lab, is just another company -- albeit publicly held and subject to more rules and regulations than most companies. it suffers from the same problems any place would, and due to the aforementioned rules and regulations, it is slower and less able to fix them. and my job? i am right in the middle of all of this, and also unable to fix much. i got the water company to clean the carpet and considered it to be a major victory.

the governor comes this week with his press junket to show how supportive he is of the crime lab. and he is. he's the main reason that we *have* a place in north sudbury. so thanks, mitt. just for that i won't trip you when you come to visit.


art car update

i finally continued to embellish my car this afternoon. photos to follow soon. my car doesn't look classy or artistic, just sorta fun. it looks like what a kid would do if given some rhinestones and some silicone. like a pretend crown, a really gaudy one. i'm struggling with this knowledge. i want it to look classically beautiful, but it doesn't and it never will. i'm never going to make something perfect or perfectly beautiful. but for maybe the first time in my life since being a self-concious adolescent/adult, i'm not letting that knowledge stop me from doing something that makes me happy. it's strange how something as simple as gluing rhinestones onto a car is making me confront one of my most deeply held fears.

i think my mom would be proud of me.


i got a new brain bucket tonight

and to celebrate, took a spin into boston. i haven't been riding in the city a lot this summer because i didn't have a helmet and was nervous - the whole no-health-insurance thing makes me even nervouser. but with the arrival of my helmet, the city was mine! i covered about 11 miles, was only almost hit once, and had an awesome time. i sat by the reflecting pool for a bit, and also in the public garden[s]. because i'm a nerd, here is my route. not bad for a lovely summer evening!


finally, a real vacation

three weeks ago, i spent a weekend in maine with my parents and sister. it was really pretty, and i fell in love with penobscot bay. but i didn't really relax - being with family is incredibly stressful for me, and there wasn't any downtime.

i took two days off last week and had a real vacation: my friend krista's aunt has a house on watchic pond in maine, and she and joe were kind enough to invite me up for a few days.

it was awesome, and just what i needed. we drove the boat out into the lake, put the ladder down, and spent hours swimming, jumping off the boat, laying in the sun, talking and reading.

joe & kristame & kristakrista and i with life-jacketsthey let me drive the boat.

i've been a little nervous on boats since third grade, when my best friend and her mother (my girl scout troop leader) were killed by a drunken boat driver. he was speeding, had a girl in his lap, and driving his boat - plowed into their family boat, splitting it in two and killing laura and diane. this weekend i sort of got over it, and as you can see above, even drove the boat a little bit myself! also, it's a pontoon boat (slow and bulky-ish) so even though it is the 'sport' model, i think we could've outswum it.

we saw signs warning to be careful of the loons, and got lucky enough to see a loon and his loon lady-friend. they made their special loon-noises and generally behaved like good loons should: diving, swimming, diving, and some more swimming. overall, joe and i gave the experience two thumbs up.
a loon-couple!joe and i



yesterday was a relatively uneventful day. then i got home.
scoutie announced that she'd bought two bottles of wine, and that "We're getting drunk tonight!".
it was alllll over, and the girl wasn't kidding.
i have gotten one response to my personal ad - from a 57 year old man. ai yi yi.

edit: ok, i'm throwing in the towel on this personals thing. nobody looks interesting enough to compel me to put myself out there. and let's be honest - i just can't do this. people who would normally be right up my alley are un-interesting and cliche. to top it all off, these are the three responses i got:
  • previously mentioned 57 year old
  • a guy who wants someone who will watch football with him every sunday
  • my friend bob saying "hi" and that he's not having any luck either


hoooo doggie...

i just put my personal ad back up. this should be entertaining...
it should be noted that this evening casa highland spent time getting completely shit-housed on the porcj fuck yeah, red wine!!! sup bitches....


for the price of a cup of coffee...

so, as i explained, by working at the crime lab i am actually a civilian member of the state police. this has some benefits. i can go to headquarters in Framingham and use their swanky gym and olympic sized pool. i will have a fancy-schamncy email address that ends with pol.state.ma.us, which to all those in the know means state police. and i can get a tiny little triangular sticker that reads "state police". this sticker goes on the window of my car, and identifies me as a member of the brethren. it cost me $1.00.

now, somewhere in the 100+ pages of policies and procedures that i had to sign off on, i promised not to use my status to curry favors. it is against the law, for example, for me to get out of a speeding ticket because i work for the state police. and i wouldn't. in all honesty, the grannymobile gets a vicious shimmy at high speeds, so it's not like i am about to go zooming down the highway anyway.

but it begs the question, i suppose, of what the heck they *think* these stickers are used for?

personally, i am choosing to display it as a sign of civic pride!

and my guess is that it will turn out to be $1.00 well spent.

my parents have been visiting

and mom informs me that none other than marilyn manson has moved into our neighborhood in los angeles. he bought a house on top of a hill that nobody has seen in years - it's an isolated house in a very populous suburby-area.

i should note that my mom was practically beaming when she told me this. she is so freaking excited - you'd think that having hulk hogan in the neighborhood would be enough, but i guess marilyn has one-upped him. perhaps it's because hulk lives in the super-uber-ritzy winnetka estates, and marilyn lives in a non-gated area like the rest of us.
here is the conversation we had about it - i am completely entertained.

mom: what does he do again?

me: well, he's sort of into shock rock - he looks weird and sings about stuff most adults don't really care for.

mom: like what? is it about [lowers her voice so dad doesn't hear] having intercourse?

me: no, more like satan and rock and roll. he looks real weird, mom.

mom: like that terrible guy on the radio? shocking like that?

me: howard stern? [she nods] no, not a shock jock. more like shock rock. but it's not so shocking anymore. ed: at this point, we are having the dumbest conversation ever and i'm starting to get embarassed.

mom: i think that howard guy is disgusting. the way he talks about women, he's just obscene. how terrible.

me: yeah, he's a real piece of shit, huh mom?

you know i don't like it when you use that language. [disapproving look]

how freaking funny!! she's not really worried about satanic shock-rocker marilyn manson - banned from certain states and cities, feared by late 90's parents, blamed for school shootings - being in the 'hood, but would possibly physically harm howard stern. my mom drives me insane most of the time, but sometimes i find her hilarious and endearing. it should be noted that later in the conversation (yes, it continued), she asked if he was married or had kids. i don't know why, but i just loved that mom was asking about marilyn manson (who from first-hand accounts is just a normal dude) like he was just that: a new neighbor.

so: l'chaim to new neighbors! marilyn, if you ever need to borrow some sugar or someone to watch your pets while you're out of town, joanne is happy to help.


new job... week 1!

welcome to the crime labfor folks who are confused about what i am actually doing, here's an explanation of my job -- i am employed by the state police, who run the state crime lab, which is where i work. the crime lab is full of people, half of whom are sworn ranked state police personnel. those are the folks with the badges and the guns, and they run things like ballistics, arson, and crime scene investigations. the rest of the state crime lab is people like me. we are civilians who run everything else like administration, DNA, trace evidence, chemistry, biology, and fingerprinting. i am working in the administration department, trying to help keep the bills paid, the supplies stocked, the building running, and helping to navigate the twisty maze of passages all alike that is the state financial requirements. in other words, i help create and maintain red tape.

the crime lab is fascinating. i got to see a twelve inch blade used to kill somebody, the drug locker which reeked of crystal meth, the big tank of water they shoot the guns into, and the large machine they fume superglue in for prints. pretty much anything you have seen on an episode of CSI is in my building. except the dead bodies. we only do body parts and fetuses. all bodies go to the medical examiners office in boston.

in fact, here is a list in ways that the massachusetts crime lab is not like CSI:

on CSI, you will see the same character go from processing latent prints to doing a mass spectrometer analysis of a liquid to spinning out DNA
in the state crime lab, there is no such thing as a generalist. if you do DNA analysis, you only do DNA analysis. you do it all day long. chemistry and biology, for example, are totally different departments.

on CSI, you can get DNA run in about 10 minutes.
in the state crime lab, we have a DNA backlog that stretches back about three years. some current cases can take priority, but that just means it will be done in weeks instead of months.

on CSI, the people get to drive hummers to crime scenes.
in the state crime lab, our crime scene service personnel drive ford focuses.

on CSI, the crime lab is cutting edge with the latest technology in a huge beautiful building that is modern and spacious.
in the state crime lab, we are cramped into an old converted elementary school and have to beg borrow and steal to fund new equipment. until this week they were still using an old fish tank turned upside-down to fume superglue in. we have up to four people sharing a desk and not enough computers to go around. one of our satellite sites is in a building that just got condemned by the state.

So all in all, it ain't quite CSI, but it's still a cool and interesting place to work. once i get a phone and computer i will be able to talk more about what i actually do. right now what i do is read a lot of manuals and try to take it all in.


i have so much shit in my bag.

click on these for a detailed, self-indulgent annotation with the flickr 'notes' function:

what's in my bag today?more stuff in my bag