23 December 2006

So so funny!

When we bought our house back in May the house still had Christmas lights up, and we were so busy we didn't get around to taking them down. It jsut wasn't a priority.

We put it off for months, and even joked about doing it right before Christmas and here we are, two days until, the entire neighbourhood decked out with lights, plastic reindeer, Nativity scenes, and there's Tannah on the ladder: he ripped them all down in about five minutes. No, he didn't take them down, he destroyed them, literally ripping and cutting them from where they hung on the house. It was hilarious, people actually slowed down and gawked as they drove by. They must all think we're anti-holiday.

20 December 2006

Having fun but it's a tower.

So close to holidays, I've completely lost motivation. Most of the shopping is done, it's cold, the Palms has Christmas-themed decorations up and when we go into the food court for lunch it just feels...laid-back. And what makes it worse is that after the New Year, we'll probably go to 10-hour days...I'm just not a fan of working more than a 40 hour week. That's okay though. I should just stay in the moment.

One thing that sucks about towers is it is extremely repetative. There aren't any changes except perhaps the last floor or so, where the suites are. There are pretty good snags starting out, the first few floors, and then nothing but going off memory for the rest. It gets to the point you don't even need the prints, actually. I already have layout down. Just some of the roping I forget. But it's all there in the Bible.

We're having serious issues now, trying to catch up. We still aren't of the 8th floor...and that's the one we started on. Back in the 13th. And we're supposed to done with a floor a week. Part of it is that no one is following a set of rules. It's all being roped differently, and I came up with a method to mount the boxes for the bathtubs quite awhile ago...however, it's a little awkward, and no one wanted to do it that way. So they did it their own ways, and one day we came in to work and all but mine were torn out, and had to be redone. It interfered with the plumbing. I mean, if we had something to keep it all uniform, it would go much more smoothly. Maybe everyone just needs time to adapt. After all, I've never come in at the begining of a tower. Maybe this is just how it is.

17 December 2006

Pretty cool deal here.

So, it's been a week. Sharkey is a great journeyman. He teaches, he's patient, and he's fun to be around. I missed that so much. There's nothing better than being able to laugh on the job. It makes life great. Our foreman's name is Trevor. We swear he's a tweaker, he's like a little hummingbird: flitting from place to place, talking so fast he actually stumbles over his own words. He keeps making us aware he just started as foreman, so that when we have a question he can't answer, we just know we should try to wing it. The thing is, though, that so many of our crew aren't doing anything, at all. They just kind of stare listlessly and wonder.

The crew is divided into teams, each team to a room. The main problem was that we had no suitable prints. There were tags on the floor, and all the boxes laid out, but no elevations. Or direction as to which boxes would be connected together. Some boxes weren't present at all, and we didn't know if just ours were missing, or it had been deleted, or...

Very frustrating. However Sharkey stood back and looked objectively, and tackled one thing at a time. We actually went through it logically, and got quite a bit done, except for questioning the missing boxes and some connections. The layout foreman, James, seemed pretty impressed and bestowed upon Sharkey and me his "Bible"...the complete prints and layout plans. It showed us everything we needed. And finally, we could really get on it. (It turns out that Trevor was supposed to give everyone on the crew a Bible, but he hadn't gotten to it yet. He's nice but kind of spacy.) So James was helpful, and he was also patient with me, taking time to explain things to be separately so that I'd actually know what I was doing, instead of just imitating my journeyman. I really like him.

It turns out that, also on site, are Wes Wynn and Dan Gouker. I worked with Wes at Red Rock, and Dan used to be the director of the JATC. They're both good to me. I love coming to a new jobsite and actually knowing people. So things are great, I'm happy at this job...I mean, it is a tower but I'm liking the people so much, it's worth it. Unfortunately I missed a class last month and had to leave early to make it up...I'm sure that looks great to the foreman. But Marcel left too, so maybe it'll be overlooked. I'll just have to bust ass to make it up.

15 December 2006

Nothing pisses me off quicker...

...than intolerance. I sent an e-mail a month or so ago that was really a news article. (I posted it on the blog dated 18 November.) Basically, it was talking about how Wiccans are denied a pentacle on their tombstone when buried at veterans' cemeteries. Atheists, Hindus, Christians, everyone but Wiccans. So, being that this nation purports to uphold freedom of religion, I sent the article and info on how to be involved to have it changed to a few people. Mostly family but some friends too. And I got a reply back basically saying that it doesn't matter, their rights, because they're all going to burn in Hell anyway.

There's so much wrong with that, too much to even go into fully. I can't stand such ignorant hatred, and in the name of Christ...

13 December 2006

Now at the Palms.

It's almost funny, I can hardly keep track of where I've worked recently. But that's fine, it could be worse. I could be unemployed, waiting for the Committee to get involved.

So anyway, I got the notice to appear at the Palms...I can't express how elated I am. The Paris job was awful. It didn't have to be; I liked most of the people I was working with. I couldn't stand Bombay, the arrogant fool that he is, and I further hated that I was the only one chipping concrete on a daily basis. Breathing in the marble and concrete dust too, and the black mold particles, definitely didn't help. So when Tito told me I was being transferred, I couldn't help but smile for the rest of the day, and...well, I have quite the rude streak in me, so I did my best to irritate Bombay at every chance presented to me. I was talking to another apprentice about meeting up at the Palms today and he told me to get my shit and leave. I didn't even acknowledge him. I kept talking, knowing there wasn't a damn thing he could do. He just stood there, staring at me. As soon as he turned away, I began getting my tools together, and that's when he stood behind me, likely watching to see if I took any company tools with me. I let him watch me but I went so slowly, inspecting each tool and sighing repeatedly. Is it wrong I had so much fun?

Three of us got transferred to the Palms: an apprentice named Jorge, a journeyman named John (but he goes by Sharkey), and me. Oddly enough, Sharkey and I went to middle school together. We didnt know each other, as we had different circles of friends, but I remember the name. It turns out Jorge went to the deck crew, and Sharkey and I went to the rough-in crew. He seems pretty okay as a journeyman; we'll see, I guess.

When I got onsite, I was ready for my drug test. I'd had like two cups of tea and a bottle of water before leaving the house, so by the time I arrived to the orientation area, I was ready to go. I mean, ready. All three of us waited for a good 20 minutes before a few workers (who had already started on their work day) told us we had to meet at the trailer. I love when transfer slips are outdated...at least I wasn't the only one. So, another half hour outside the trailer, and no one could find the keys. I was really hurting at that time but knew if I alleviated some bladder pressure I wouldn't be able to properly take the drug test. I wound up waiting another hour, through the entire orientation meeting, before I asked when we were getting tested, and it turns out this site doesn't do drug testing. I could have cried. Really.

12 December 2006

Meh...feeling blank.

December this year is pretty stressful. Last year things were so incredibly fucked up that this year, both Tannah and I keep thinking this is our first Christmas as a married couple...insane, isn't it? It is our first christmas in this house, so maybe that's contributing. Just...I know we're spending way too much, in years past we could really go all-out for gifts and this year we can't. I'm not working time, we have way more bills (including medical which I still haven't paid!) and also, I see baby toys and stuff and think of Gabriel. It's aggravating.

Possies because I need them:
1. Thai tea
2. Taro tea
3. Tannah's patience
4. Our doggy
5. Got transferred today
6. God
7. Logan...even though he can be an ass he listens
8. Friends who understand me (and accept me too)
9. My family
10. I got a raise

10 December 2006


I got this, and just this, in an e-mail from Logan:



I mean really...I can honestly say either someone got into his account or he's been smoking something interesting.

In other news, we saw TSO tonight, my tiniest sister's first "grown-up" concert. (She saw the Wiggles and stuff a few years ago.) As always, very Christian, and it puts me in a proper mood for Christmas. We were lucky to have Anna Phoebe again, I was really happy about that too. This year Adam came with us, and he really liked it, though it was at the Orleans and not at the Aladdin, because the Aladdin (having far-superiour acoustics) is being remodeled to the Planet Hollywood. And yes, we did go to Geisha House, the one we always go to, and it was nice. They changed the ambiance so it was...not the same. But not bad.

07 December 2006

Good sentiment.

Totally copied from a friend, who I'm not sure wants to be credited with this or not:

"If after watching the news and reading the papers, learning about children starving to death or being beaten by their own parents; wives and husbands being abused by their own spouses and turning against each other, using their children as pawns; boys and girls being forced into prostitution and overlooked as our society wishes to pretend it "doesn't happen here;" people losing their jobs over what they write in their journals and for what church they do - or do not - go to; children killing children and selling drugs to elementary school students; kids having sex at younger and younger ages, WANTING to get pregnant at 12, 13, 14, and thinking it's okay to wear skirts that show their rear ends and pants that hang down to their knees; parents who think children with mental illnesses should "just get over it" and don't care if they're out until 2 in the morning doing God-knows-what; and the entire world focused on lies and deception as well as crying out to each other that we just don't care about anyone except for us, you still believe that the problem that is the worst in this world is what parts happen to be in the pants - or skirt - of two consenting adults in a loving and consenting relationship, you, my friend, are part of one of the world's biggest problem, and as long as you live, you will never find a solution."

Rock on.

06 December 2006


Aïssata, 22 ans, a subi un mariage forcé au Mali il y a trois ans. Elle a fui le pays pour revenir en France avec ses deux enfants afin d’échapper à une vie qu’elle n’a pas choisie.

«Mes parents m’ont gâché la vie». C’était il y a trois ans. Ses parents l’ont envoyée au Mali pour passer des vacances alors que son propre mariage l’attendait.

Comment ça s’est réellement passé ?
J’avais 18 ans, je voulais être comme toutes les jeunes filles de mon âge. Mes parents étaient trop sévères. D’autant plus sévères après le jour où ma grande soeur a ramené une grossesse à la maison. Nous sommes musulmans et avoir des enfants en dehors du mariage est une honte pour la famille. Mes parents n’ont jamais pardonné à ma sœur. Pour éviter tout affront, mes parents lui ont présenté un homme, un homme beaucoup plus vieux qu’elle qui voulait se marier. Ma mère disait que l’homme allait bien s’occuper d’elle et de l’enfant. Ma sœur a fini par accepter car elle était enceinte et seule. Elle n’a jamais été heureuse. Depuis ce moment, c’est devenu insupportable pour moi. Il fallait mentir à chaque fois pour sortir. Je leur je disais que j’allais chez ma cousine alors que j’allais voir mon petit ami. Un jour ils ont su la vérité.

Et ensuite ?
Mes parents m’ont envoyé en vacances au fin fond du Mali dans leur village appelé Mopti. C’était la première fois que j’allais au Mali. C’était difficile pour moi au début mais je me suis fait des nouvelles amies. Vers la fin des vacances, j’ai cherché mes
papiers et mon passeport partout, je commençais à paniquer. Mes parents avaient tout prévu. C’était un coup monté. Je vivais loin de la capitale, Bamako, il m’était impossible de fuir. Mon cousin me surveillait tout le temps. Quelques jours après, une dame et un homme étaient venus voir ma grand-mère et mon oncle pour demander ma main. Un homme de 35 ans déjà marié et trois enfants. Ma grand-mère me dit que je lui plaisais et qu’il aimerait m’épouser. «Tu verras, c’est un homme de bonne famille, il est PDG d’une entreprise, tu seras heureuse avec lui. Tu vivras comme en Europe» disaitt-elle. J’ai tout fait pour éviter ce mariage, mais toute ma famille était contre moi. C’était un mariage forcé. Un mois plus tard, je me suis mariée et j'ai emménagé chez lui. J’avais ma maison et... ma coépouse aussi. Mon mari venait me voir assez souvent au début puis c’était deux fois par semaine.

Quelle était la relation avec vos parents, après ce mariage ?
Je suis la deuxième femme de mon mari et je n’étais pas heureuse avec lui. Mes parents ne m’avaient jamais soutenue. Quand je racontais mes problèmes de couple à ma mère, elle me disait que c’était la meilleure chose qui m'était arrivée et que je menais une vie de dévergondée en France. Elle ne savait pas à quel point j’étais malheureuse. Elle me disait que mon mari avait de l’argent et que c’était un homme mûr et qu’il s’occuperait bien de moi. Pour ma mère, une femme devait obéir à son mari, quel que soit le problème elle devait toujours le satisfaire. Je n’avais pas mon mot à dire. Mes parents disent que mon mari m’avait changé la vie. Ils étaient contents pour moi, malgré ma souffrance, je ne leur disais plus rien. J’attendais juste un miracle. Ils voulaient toujours contrôler la vie de leurs enfants. J’aime mes enfants, et une chose est sûre, je ne leur ferais jamais une chose pareille.

Comment avez-vous fait pour revenir en France?
Mes parents m’ont gâché la vie en me forçant à me marier avec un homme que je n’aime pas. Pour eux, le bonheur s’arrête à ça, même si je ne suis pas heureuse dans mon foyer, ce n’est pas n’important, du moment que j’ai la santé et les enfants, et un homme aisé, cela leur convient.

Un jour la femme de mon oncle est venue me remettre mes papiers en prétendant qu’elle les avait retrouvés. C’était le plusbeau jour de ma vie. J’attendais cela depuis tellement longtemps. J’ai prévenu une amie, qui est la maîtresse d’un ami de mon mari, nous sommes très proche. Elle vit à Bamako et vient de temps en temps chez son copain à Mopti. Elle est venue nous chercher quelques jours après, tard dans la nuit. Elle a beaucoup de connaissances au consulat de France à Bamako. J’ai pu refaire un nouveau passeport avec mes enfants dessus. Au bout de deux semaines, nous sommes revenus à Paris. Je vis pour le moment chez ma sœur à Bondy. Mes parents ne nous adressent plus la parole, ma sœur n’a jamais été d’accord avec eux. Mon mari a voulu me reprendre les enfants, je suis allée voir l’assistante sociale. Lui et mes parents ne peuvent plus rien me faire. Nous sommes dans un pays de loi. J'ai trouvé un travail il y a un mois en tant que vendeuse dans un magasin de prêt-à-porter, je ne gagne pas des millions, mais au moins je ne dois rien à personne.

(par Essi Gnaglom)

05 December 2006

Work-related death.

Today a guy at a construction site died, a labourer hauling concrete. I didn't witness it but either he stumbled or someone bumped him and he fell five stories near the elevator shaft. And aside from thinking about those horrific moments of fear he must have had I can't help thinking about the little things, I guess. Who had to call his wife? Who had to gather up his tools and lunchbox? Who went through his wallet for ID? And it's sad. No one goes to work thinking they won't come home at night.

And it happened at 11h00...what was I doing then? I was thinking of calling my doc at lunchtime and deciding whether or not to go to the Mexican market after work for some chorizo and queso fresco. We all get these ideas about, "Later I'll do this..." I'm sure he had those thoughts too, but he never got to do any of them. Maybe he had plans this weekend. Maybe he was working an extra shift for the holidays coming up.

I don't know why I torture myself thinking like this, but it's the normal, mundane stuff that gets me. I remember getting off work at 14h30, thinking that his wife might not even know yet. OSHA hadn't arrived, and the coroner takes so long....


I hate that I used to work in a mortuary and think of this stupid crap. Sorry it's kind of icky, just everytime a guy at work dies it kind of gets to me.

03 December 2006

St. Andrews Night

St. Andrews' is traditionally celebrated in Scotland on 30 November, but that was a Thursday, and Adam's birthday was Friday, and then we went out with him Saturday...so I had my family over on Sunday.

Bastille Day is far easier to prepare for: I don't know if just French food is more prevelant here or what, but I was having such a hard time finding recipes I could make with foods and ingredients found here. There's plenty of recipes for soup, but my dad tends to think of soup as an appetizer, rather than a meal in itself. Therefore I made steak with Drambuie sauce. I think Drambuie is perhaps the most awesome alcoholic beverage, ever. The Scots certainly know how to do it right.

I was nervous, as I always am when trying a new recipe, and I think the Drambuie sauce needed a bit more cream perhaps, but my family did enjoy it. I also played them a version of "Scotland the Brave", and explained to my sister the signifigance of that song, and how St. Andrews Night relates to her (our) heritage. I can't tell if she didn't quite understand what I meant, or if she just was more interested in other things to care. After all, she is only six.

It felt good, honouring the Scottish aspect of my culture, especially after the talk I had with my dad. I felt really liberated in so many ways. I told them about Edinburgh Castle and being awestruck at viewing the Royal Honours, and reminiscing with Tannah on the wynds and pipers and the kilt factory, and the lovely honey-scented yoghurt...

My family wants to go , now, to Scotland. I hope they do. I can't wait to show them around. :)

02 December 2006

O, hark! Birthday joy cometh.

We did Adam's birthday (family-wise) on the actual date, Friday. It was great, because my family came and got to have really awesome homemade Korean food: Bulgogi, kalbi, chicken, rice (of course), mandu, crab cakes...I love it. So did everyone, Tannah's mom is just such a good cook. Saturday we were supposed to go out (friends-wise) to Hofbräu Haus but Helix (!!!) was renting it out for a company party. Damn Helix. So we went to the Pink Taco at the Hard Rock instead. Way too trendy, way too expensive. I give it an "F", unless you're single and think Mexican food is a good way to get yourself laid. Decent cocktails, however.

28 November 2006


Okay, so for Thanksgiving I went to Ohio with my husband and brother-in-law. They have family there, a whole gaggle of aunts, uncles and cousins, and grandparents too. (And like second cousins twice removed and stuff; that level of family just isn't seen in mine.)

Anyway, we went to a tiny village called Bellville. It's about exactly halfway between Columbus and Cleveland. We flew out of Vegas Wednesday on a horribly turbulant flight at about 23h00 and arrived Thursday at 05h30. The time difference was killer. All three of us had gone into work Wednesday, and got no sleep on the plane, and we bypassed the hotel to spend time with family till about 15h00, when we got a 2-hour nap and went on to celebrate Thanksgiving till midnight or so. And in falling asleep at that time, we missed Josh's 21st birthday bash...too bad, too, it would have been fun. We just couldn't stay awake any longer.

The culture shock was...interesting. It was as if I was visiting America for the first time. Deer! Cows! Corn fields! Wheat fields! Frost! Brick houses! All encased in a freakin forest...plus so so many foods I've never eaten that are apparently "americana". The village is tiny, slightly reminiscent of Kandern (yeah, the only other village I've been to)...it has a bitty main street and a bunch of stop signs. Church Street is where the churches are, and School Street is where the schools are. I went to a tiny market! And an organic fruit stand! And an Amish gift shop! And since we weren't local, and in the village everyone knows everyone just about, they were all staring as we walked around and took pics of the bandstand and scenery. It was so funny, people were stopping in the middle of the street and pointing.

Since they were good enough to show me "true" American cooking, I made them my Mexican-style meatball soup, and I didn't even have to "go into town" (!!!) and get the ingredients. The only thing I didn't find at the market was chorizo, and not everyone's into that, anyway. They really liked it, and want the recipe. I'm happy.

In Bellville we saw parks, and kind of explored the forest, and saw ancient cemeteries (even from the Revolutionary War!) and tree farms...we also went to Cleveland on Friday and saw the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. It's a huge version of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, but it was really cool, we just couldn't take pics. We also went to a White Castle...we were so stoked, we totally played tourist and took pics of the inside of the restaurant and of the food, hehe. (If you've seen "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle", then you understand, even moreso if you realise that Vegas doesn't have White Castle.)
But the last day we hung out with family: Josh had to go home, but Nichole and Melanie (I'm pretty sure that was her name, she was so quiet) stayed for awhile, and Terry and Karen and Charlie too. Of course, Nathan's grandparents were there as well, and it was good to relax Saturday before getting up at "oh-dark-hundred" to catch our plane Sunday morning.

So now I have to go to work, and then come home and do all kinds of crazy homework (since Cliff won't answer his phone and Ryan has no idea how far we're supposed to be) and *then* school tomorrow, and THEN maybe I can get to settling back into life.

25 November 2006

Una receta para todos:

I'm going to make this for Tannah's family our last night here...hoping they like it. (More on the actual trip in a few days, when I have more time...so far it's incredible here! This is a simple recipe and not all that homemade but it's delicious and leaves room for improvisation.)

Sopa de Albóndigas
(Serves 8-10)

2 pounds lean ground beef **
1 onion, chopped to your liking
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
I bulb minced fresh garlic
4 carrots, chopped
2 small zucchini, sliced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup cornmeal or bread crumbs
8 cans (14 ounce size) beef broth (ready to use type)
1 28-oz can of peeled and diced tomatoes
1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I
think the brand is "Embasa"?)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup white rice
2 packages of cilantro, fresh, destemmed (a good
Package mozzarella cheese


Set aside a small amount of garlic and spices for teh
meatballs if you like. You can also use a premade
spicing, such a tablespoon of salsa or lemon pepper.

Saute garlic and onions as you like: in wine, water,
broth or Pam. Slowly add 6 cans of the broth, the
tomatoes, and spices, reserving a small amount for the
meatballs (see above). Bring to a soft boil and
simmer for 20 minutes, all the while slowly adding the
vegetables, carrots first. Add at least three
tablespoons of the canned adobo sauce to the broth,
and at least one chopped chipotle pepper. After that,
use more if you like (there's plenty) for flavour.

Meanwhile combine ground chuck, egg, any other
reserved spices, 1 chopped chipotle pepper and
cornmeal, and mix well. (If the meat is too dry you
can add a tablespoon or so of water or broth.) Form
into tiny, bite-size meatballs and brown in water,
wine or broth. Add meatballs and rice to soup. Simmer,
covered, very slowly for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. About a
1/2 hour before serving, add the additional cans of
broth and season to taste, and soup reduces quite

When serving, put cheese in the bowl first, then soup,
and top with a small amount of cilantro. Can be
served with bread or tortillas.

**NOTE: For spicier meatballs, use 1-1/2 lbs beef mixed with 1/2 lb of chorizo.

20 November 2006

My dad is so awesome.

I made dinner for my parents tonight...a new recipe. I wanted to have them over one time before we went to Ohio, since it would be my first Thanksgiving without them. The food was...eh. It was chicken stuffed with neufchatel cheese thats mixed with cracked pepper, garlic and oregano. (Then asparagus, salad, bread...etc.) But never actually made it before. I always get nervous when trying new recipes. But everyone seemed to like it...we had a little mead and "pumpkin fluff" which is pumpkin pie filling and whipped cream mixed together. Yummy! Then we took turns playing "Guitar Hero 2" and that was fun. (My dad, the major Rush fan, was stoked about YYZ.)
But even more importantly, my dad came over to me when I was alone and we started talking and I told him how I felt...basically all the stuff I wrote in earlier blog entries about feeling torn between two cultures and I felt afraid to refer to my life Before since it might offend him and all. And he said, "I can't be offended by the truth. You were born as under one name, adopted into another, and married under your current one. You spent half your life with your birth-name but that doesn't mean you aren't still German, in a sense. You are, its in your blood. But the Scots, well, they liked to conquer and take the best out of all the cultures they came to, and adopted them into their clans. That's what happened to you. You might still be German by blood, but you were chosen and accepted by this clan, so this is your family too." And he asked if I loved him and wanted him to be my dad and I said yes, and he said then, well, there's no issue.

I also told him that when I was in Europe it felt like "home" and he actually understood. He said he lived in California for like five years, and in Vegas for 27, and California still feels like home to him.

So yeah...I was very surprised and happy. Just wanted to share.

18 November 2006

Freedom of religion must apply equally.

[A friend sent me this. If freedom of religion means
anything to you, please realise that its supposed to
include all religions, not just the "Big Three"
(Christianity, Judism and Islam). Guaranteeing rights
of all religion keeps the rights of yours in place.
(Address to show support etc, at the bottom.)]

Government's refusal to recognize Wiccan symbol leads to lawsuit

By The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — The Star of David is OK, as are more than a dozen variations of the Christian cross.Even the atomic whirl used by atheists gets the thumbs-up from the federal government. But a Wiccan symbol representing earth, air, fire, water and spirit?

Forget it.

Blame it on government red tape or religious discrimination, Selena Fox is tired of fighting to get her religion's symbol recognized by the federal government for veterans' grave markers. So now she and other followers of the Wiccan faith are
taking the government to court.

A federal lawsuit filed Monday accuses the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of violating the constitutional rights of Wiccans because the government does not allow its symbol on veterans' headstones in national cemeteries.

"I honestly think there must be some people who don'twant to acknowledge that the Wiccan religion should be entitled to the same rights as other religions,'' said Fox, who is senior minister of the Wiccan Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wis.

Roberta Stewart thinks she knows why Wiccans have been denied. "I believe it's the misconception of devil worship and the way the pentacle has been misused,'' she said.

The widow of a soldier killed in Afghanistan last year, Stewart has waged her own personal war to see the pentacle placed on the tombstone of her husband, Nevada National Guard Sgt. Patrick Stewart.

Stewart, whose husband was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was rejected by federal veterans' officials when she sought approval to affix the pentacle to the Veterans' Memorial Wall in Nevada, but state officials said they would erect a plaque with the symbol.

Even though she is getting the symbol for her husband, Stewart said she had the plight of other families in mind when she decided to file the lawsuit. Joining her are Karen DePolito, of Utah, whose husband, Jerome Birnbaum, is a Korean War veteran who died last year; Circle Sanctuary; and Isis Invicta Military Mission, a Wiccan and Pagan congregation serving military personnel based in Geyserville, Calif.

The lawsuit claims the VA has made "excuse after excuse'' for more than nine years for not approving the pentacle, and argues that constitutional rights of freedom of speech, religion and due process have been violated by the department's not acting on requests to allow the symbol. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Madison and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, seeks an order compelling the VA to make a decision.

In memos and letters cited by the lawsuit, Lindee L. Lenox, director of memorial programs for the veterans agency, said the government was reviewing the process for evaluating and approving new emblems and would not accept new applications until the review was complete.

The VA issued a statement Monday that outlined the procedure under way to create uniform standards under which new symbols can be accepted, but did not comment on the lawsuit itself.

Legal papers filed by attorneys for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a religious liberty watchdog group, said it makes no sense for Wiccans to be excluded. The Army allows Wiccan soldiers to list their faith on dog tags, Wiccan organizations are allowed to hold services on military installations and the Army Chaplains Handbook includes an explanation of the religion, attorneys said.

Wiccans worship the Earth and believe they must give to the community. Some consider themselves "white'' or good witches, pagans or neo-pagans. Approximately 1,800 active-duty service members identify themselves as Wiccans, according to 2005 Defense Department statistics.

An increasing number of Wiccans are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, while a number of older veterans are getting closer to death, making it imperative that the government act soon, Fox said. Three cremated remains of veterans are unmarked in the Circle Sanctuary cemetery, Fox said, a situation she called "ridiculous.'' She said three headstones at Arlington National Cemetery are also awaiting the symbol.

All Stewart said she wants is government approval of the pentacle, nothing more and nothing less. She wants the lawsuit to send a message, she said, that the government can't pick and choose which faiths appear on headstones.

Please repost this where others may know and feel free to contact the WPPA to show your support at:

Wiccan/Pagan Press Alliance, c/o Black Forest
Publishing, P.O. Box 1392, Mechanicsburg, PA

16 November 2006

"Let's get ready to rumble!"

That's what Gil (my current journeyman) says at a few minutes till 10h00, right before we bust out the TE-76. It's so hilarious the first time he yelled that into the hollowed-out wall toward the occupied rooms upstairs I almost pissed myself laughing.

As for the chipping concrete, I'll be on it for the rest of the job. My new journeyman and I came up with a system, though: Mondays we help demo (tear out the old stuff) from the rooms. Tuesdays we mark out all our new stuff that we have to cut out and get material ready. By then, we can knock out the concrete in four rooms. Wednesdays we do the electrical aspect of the two rooms from Tuesday, like wiring everything up, but hot, and chip out two more rooms. Thursdays we do the electrical for that and chip out the last two rooms, plus do the electrical. Friday we put the coverplates on and hot-check everything. Start over Monday. Also we have a thing where when were chipping, I use the blade to get the bulk and he used the crusher to smooth it out. That way we aren't both too tired. I still hurt but it's better. My body is getting used to it.

11 November 2006


My nephew, Radek, just said his first word. And although I'm supposed to be happy all I could do was wonder what
Gabriel's first word would have been.

I'm an awful person.

09 November 2006

Sometimes I hate construction workers.

So when you're working on a job that has guests/clients on site (like guests at the Paris, for instance) there's certain rules, like no cursing, screaming or loud tools (such as jackhammers) before 10am, since guests are in the other floors. it's called courtesy.

Well, my journeyman starts up with a TE-76 (a type of jackhammer) at 7am. I can feel the noise and vibrations reverb against the floor, walls, it's awful, but I'm used to it, since I'm around it. All of a sudden this hotel guest appears from nowhere, in pajamas and bare feet in our very dangerous workspace...I mean broken glass and tile everywhere, drywall all over, tools and twisted metal jutting out of the torn walls... and yells out over the noise, "Please, no more, I'm trying to sleep." Thick accent...thought it was Italian, but when he started cursing, it was definitely French. I tried telling him, in English and French, that we'll stop for now, we're sorry, I'll tell my foreman and we'll do it later...etc., etc. Trying to make things good. I mean, he must have been desperate to walk into a construction area like that. But no... my journeyman says, "My foreman told me to do this, you aren't my foreman, so I'm not stopping." And kept going, after whispering, "Goddamn foreigner." (!!!) So the guest calls security, they get involved, my foreman and general foreman are involved, everyone's freaking out over it...by the end of it all, he got transferred to a different crew, I got a different journeyman, and I was the one on the end of the TE-76 for 6 hours. (Hehe...for having a clotting problem, you wouldn't believe the extensive bruising my arms have now!) And what's worse, I heard the guy (my now-former journeyman) laughing about it later. How was that funny?

And, off-topic, happy anniversary to my parents!! Fifteen years today.

07 November 2006


Luc Besson's "Wasabi" is a French movie that takes place 90% in Tokyo, with Jean Reno (one of my faves) so it's awesome. There's a scene when a Japanese girl who he's protecting mispronounces the word "trou"...she trills the R in the back of her throat so its like she's purring. (In the movie, her mom worked for the French embassy so the girl's fluent in both Japanese and French.) Anyway, Hubert (Reno's character) is like, "No, that's ugly" and tries to retrain her mouth to say it properly. It's so cute!! And Tannah and I both tried for like 10 minutes, we can't do it right. The R after the T is awkward. Therefore, it's going to be our codeword for if we can't pronounce something.

Other than that, the movie itself is excellent, I love Besson's work anyway and Jean Reno, too, but it's got everything: action, explosions, the good stuff. I think it's dubbed in English too, so many my parents might actually watch it. As for the point of the post, I just thought I'd share something completely inane and useless. :-)

05 November 2006


NABCEP, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners...the exam was crazy!! It was so so hard, the hardest exam I've taken in years. In fact they said about half of us failed, but we won't know who for sure for a bit. it was like, story problems (which I suck at) saying, for instance, "Customer wants 50% of energy by solar, he used 14,000 kilowatts in the past 2 years, his roof is east-facing at 45 degrees latitude with 3.9 sun peak hours daily..." and on and on and on. It just got so convoluted it was hard to keep track of everything. I want to work in photovoltaics one day but it's going to come to needing a certification this year. And they're thinking of using this as the state certification test...

Happy things:
~had pain au chocolat for lunch (I know! I have no self control)
~found an issue of "Le Point" at the Paris gift shop and bought it to practice reading and even though it cost 3 euros it was priced $6.25 :-(
~felt humility at this exam

But really...all my recent entries have been really tiny. I guess I don't have much to say. Tired? Bored? Nothing to say? I have no idea. I guess when the long ones come they'll just do their thing.

04 November 2006

Prayers for Jake.

My brother-in-law, Jake, has surgery for his cancer in Tuesday. And my sister lost her job Sunday. Jake will be on IV's and no food or water at all for three days and on bedrest, no speaking and semi-soft Jell-o for a week and a half after surgery . So finacially they aren't okay...we're going to send money, but we just gave my brother money a few months ago and we sent Tannah's Korean grandmother money because they didn't have money for her medicine and it's like...I have my own doctor bills too. It's frustrating and a little scary. I really want to help, and I'm not trying to whine just, everyone thinks me and Tannah have so much money and in a sense we would if we didn't have all my medical expenses. I have to pay 20% of every procedure, test, lab, medicine....it adds up. Especially when I'm seeing doctors and specialists every week.

So I'll pray, of course, to be sustained and kept calm. And for Jake, too of course, and his family to persevere. I love them so much.

02 November 2006

The Stardust is gone.

And the Echelon will be in it's place. Whether they'll implode or just retro-fit, I don't know. Not sure how I feel about it, another piece of Vegas history gone, making way for newer and more glittery things. Sure, it's more work for me and more revenue for our city but I kind of wish things would be a little more permenent.

01 November 2006

Dodging Hallowe'en!

It's become a new sport. Hallowe'en was fine, actually...we went to the Paris for dinner and wandered for an hour, then we hurried home and hid inside and the way our doorbell is, the chime is in the hallway, so we can't hear it in the living room if the TV is on. Plus, theres a gate, so no one can knock...just the bell. :-) And of course we had our signature "Sorry, no candy" sign in like 15 languages, just so everyone is covered and there's no excuse to people not understanding. Granted, there migth be a Hmong kid and I didn't cover his language but the chances are slim. So we were able to ignore everything.
My parents are seeing the un-Christianlike aspects of Hallowe'en (history, etc.) and think this year will be my little sister's last one. Tannah's brother also finally understands why me & Tannah dont do it. (Not just memories but...the other reasons.) It's nice to be understood. Tannah's dad kinda thinks if we raise a child without Hallowe'en the kid will be deprived and made fun of and I'm like, I never did Hallowe'en (in the commercial sense) and I turned out just fine. But that's okay...wait til he finds out we aren't going to do Santa, either, hehe.

30 October 2006

On to the Paris...

And so, another transfer. It's okay, I wasn't having fun at Bishop Gorman anyway. We have to remodel 600 rooms in six weeks. It's fast paced, but theres not a lot to do actually...cut into the walls, add some things, move some things. It actually takes longer for the hotel guys to remove the furniture than anything else. But, there's a crêperie and boulangerie downstairs, yay! I'd eat there every day for lunch but it's expensive...about $10 a person. ($7 per crêpe, $8 per sandwich, $2 for Orangina.) Blessedly, theres crêpes sallees, which are my fave, and the baguettes for the sandwiches import the flour from France so it has the right texture, so...maybe once a week? not sure yet. At very least they sell baguettes singularly for about $3 apiece so maybe I can take one home for dinner one of these nights.

My journeyman never had a crêpe so I took him down Tuesday and he was impressed. He thinks of them as French burritos. And I'm like...well, kinda, I guess. The only thing that irritates me is all the guys keep correcting how I pronouce "crêpe" and say it should be "crape", not "crep". When I do say it right, they misunderstand and think I'm saying "crap". I just refuse to purposely mispronounce it. Tannah says I'm a language snob. Yeah well, there's worse things to be in life.

29 October 2006

Logan needs a hobby.

Logan is really kind of flighty. He hates that term, because he thinks it should be reserved for women. A sexist term, apparently. But really, he needs somethign to ground him, something to occupy his mind because he's so...not-okay half the time. Mal is similar but he's found something to occupy his time. Maybe it's not healthy but it works for him. Logan is inhibited in alot of things, and he's got this insane need to project a perfect image of himself to everyone. So I talked to him about it, suggested maybe he get online and join a group or something; something that makes it so he doesn't have to be real sociable. And he refused. Not so much on the grounds that he has to actually make an effort at something to help himself but that he doubts he can relate to these people and vice versa. And I was like, well, get to know them and they'll relate. I brought up the (very) few friends he opens up to, and said that basically in the beginning I doubt they were really able to relate either. But they found similarities and latched onto that. And also, people can be empathetic and just listen without being able to completely understand. Sometimes I think Logan likes destroying himself.

24 October 2006

Not-so happy news.

Note: "San Dimas" is a code-name my sister and I use. It helps our privacy and his.

I have a great friend from high school, we've known each other now for what is it...13 years, I guess. Half-Castillian, uber-smart, full-ride to BYU and Georgetown? And not snobbish either. (Amazing, isn't it?) She works in the DA's office, and happens to work with "San Dimas" alot. (They are on a first name basis, she sees him at least weekly.) Anyway, she and I got to talking about stuff, and she said, "Hey, I'll look into you case for you if you want." I said sure.

San Dimas remembers the case, and told my friend that basically, it's been a long time, the accused can't be found for a statement, and so the DA has chosen not to prosecute or serve a warrant at this time. (This was what the screening deputies said to him.) If he's found, then they'll bring him in for questioning, and it'll go from there. So my friend is going to look through the file, see who the screening deputies were, and see if she can do anything that might help. (Gather more info or whatnot.) She's also going to offer to give a statement about what I disclosed to her in high school, which would further help with showing that this isn't one of those False Memory Syndrome things, where everything's fine, I see a shrink and all of a sudden I have an abuse history. She's not sure how much it'll help but...it's good to have a friend willing to try. I can't blame anyone, it's been 2 years after all. Sorry news couldn't be better.

So...bad news yes, but not unexpected. That's really a good portion of the reason for me not wanting to call San Dimas...so he wouldn't say, "Who are you? Oh yeah, we are so through with that case, sucks to be you." (But in nicer language of course.) And then I would cry or do something stupid and what would that solve? But yeah, in a way I felt it...it's been 2 years (as of last week) that I talked to him. They can't find my uncle, he prolly doesn't want to be found, if he's alive at all. I just feel alot of guilt for not saying something sooner. I guess let alot of people down. And in a way it's just as well; I was thinking last night that the original report I gave to the other detective (back at LVA) wasn't exactly accurate.

I didn't want to get into certain things and so it's not like I lied but I did skip over some things. And who knows, I don't remember half of that interview, maybe I did lie. (As in maybe I said something didn't happen when really, it did.) And if that's the case, do I really want to get in a court room where I'm told I'm making it up or have False Memory Syndrome? I don't know...it seemed like the right thing to do, and it still does of course, but I'm kind of wondering why God put that opportunity in my life (to make a 2nd statement) when nothing's to come of it. I really don't want to have to testify on behalf of a bunch of 4 year olds, years from now saying, "Yeah, he did that to me too, sorry I didn't tell sooner everyone."

Anyway, off my soapbox I go. Don't worry, it won't get me depressed, I haven't really acted on anything in 2 years. (I spent 2 weeks in Montevista then; it taught me stuff. Was a good thing.) It's sad and sucky and unfortunate, but there's really nothing I can do about it. Is it bad to want him to screw up royally so he's booked and someone makes the connection? I'm an awful person sometimes...

23 October 2006

Happy news.

I know, for once!

Tannah's mom just came back from Korea...she'd been gone almost 2 months and of course we're happy she's back, but she brought gifts, too! She brought me, Tannah and Mada hanbok, or Korean traditional clothing. Tannah and Mada had matching hanbok, the pants, shirt and jacket, and I got a women's hanbok...it's so awesome. The dress part is plum coloured, in a way, and the jacket is white, with an embroidered ribbon to fasten it. I can't tie a Korean knot but I'm told I'll learn. I love it so much because, not only are hanbok very expensive, but I love very cultural things, and to be so accepted into the Korean aspect of Tannah's family, being allowed to wear a traditional hanbok, it's an honour. Very very happy!!

She also bought us dried squid, and some traditional-style vases we put on the Korean furniture. She looked radiant and happy. It must be refereshing to return to one's home culture and feel at peace with oneself, in that sense, after so long.

21 October 2006


Went to the doctor yesterday. I have to see an opthamologist now. There are like so many specialists it's not funny: cardiologist, hemotologist, neurologist, perinatologist (who i see infrequently but still) and now the opthamologist. They think on top of the clotting mutations and the blood disorders, they think I have Sjogren's Syndrome, which is where my immune system attacks my lubrication system. (Tear ducts, salivary glands, what lubricates my joints, everything.) They say that would explain the constant joint pain without arthritis, and also why I get dehydrated even when I drink alot. DAMN IT. I'm sick of medical problems. I asked how this would affect pregnancy and the doctor put his hand on my shoulder and he said "You have a life threatening illness (???????) and we can work on that when we get you to a stable place medically." So I kind of looked at him and I was like, I just didn't know it was that serious. And he was like, since when were strokes not serious?

I guess I just want to not care, but I know I have to care, I have to exercise and eat better (I have been actually, for both) so I can live past 40 or whatever but when I care and think about doing better I think about how dangerous it actually is and it kind of makes me panic.

20 October 2006

My brother-in-law has cancer.

My 27 year old brother-in-law, Jake, was just diagnosed with cancer of the right tonsil, and they found cancerous lumps near the lymph nodes of that side. He needs the swelling to go down so they can operate, as he doesn't need chemotherapy at this point, but the swelling is also affecting his breathing.

Everyone's trying to be strong about it, my sister just had agressive cervical cancer less than 5 years ago and she's in remission but it's still very scary. They have 2 small children and not to say that that means anything more but...still. I don't know, cancer is so common and they are so so close to a cure, it dismays me to see how slow research is going. Is it lack of funding? Lack of interest? I wish I understood. Right now I guess my sister and her family will have to pull together (with our help) until they get a definite date for the surgery and that. In the meantime though, it's got to be agonizing.

18 October 2006


I wanted to get disability insurance, in case I hurt myself on the job or in case I had a serious stroke. Because every day my clotting issues/side effects seem to be getting more complicated. I'm seeing or calling one of my doctors at least every week. Scary but at the same time I'm so used to it I don't even care. I bought life insurance. Meh.


My disability insurance broker called his underwriter, who called over 40 (FORTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!) insurance companies. I'm "uninsurable". They don't want the liability. They said the likelihood of me passing out and dying somewhere was too high, and strokes and heart attacks are just too commonplace with this disease. I said well then write the disease out, just write it for workplace accidents. And they said no, because the insurance people ran my medical history and a red flag came up so that if I did have a workplace injury, they would just blame it on the disease ("Oh, she cut her finger off because she must have had a small stroke") and wouldn't insure me. WTF.

So I talked to doctors and people diagnosed and all kinds of crap, and they all said a good percentage of people diagnosed with this, about 7-10 years after diagnosis it gets so bad they cant even work anymore. They just go in the hospital like every month for constant strokes and blood clots. And I dont want that so I'm like fuck that, whatever.

16 October 2006

More...alas, more.

I looked up TCK groups on MySpace and I read through descriptions and it didn't seem applicable. It was all about, if you lived in another country as a kid. And granted, as a kid I was given a sense of Euro-pride and upbringing, but...not the same, really. And its not like I can really talk about it anyway. I dont want my dad to hate me. Tannah does understand, in a way, but he doesn't really notice. It's a non-issue to him.

We started making new October-December memories a few years ago (I really hate all those months, but October being the first makes it worse somehow.) I don't like any holidays, Christmas included, it feels pagan, I know being Christian I should love it but it doesn't feel Christian, all the commercialism involved but last year Tannah agreed to take down anything not Christ-centered, (we do have a Christmas ornament that our church gave us, in memory of the church since part of it was destroyed in a remodel, and an ornament for Gabriel, but we got rid of like, cartoon character and like, Star Trek ornaments that are typical in his family.) Not wrong...they have no problem worshipping that way but I do. It makes me feel like, well, it's pagan, like I said. Almost like going through the motions of trying to force it to be Christian. Having been Jehovahs Witness, having been Wiccan, having been in quasi-...cultish...stuff, when I want to celebrate Christ I want to do it wholly and completely, because I don't want it twisted somehow.

15 October 2006


"Third Culture Kid"
Originally defined in the 1960's as...
"[A] person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture. The third culture kid builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the third culture kid's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of the same background." (Pollock & van Reken, 2001, p. 19)

I seriously feel like that sometimes, and I'm not sure why. I guess it's why everyone seems to think I'm un-American all the time. I don't *feel* American. Not to say I'm unpatriotic, I love America. I just don't know. I feel more...global than anything else. Somewhere between that and feeling completely isolated. Does that make sense? Unfortunately, as far as family goes, I think my sister would be the only one who understands, really. And Tannah, but for slightly different reasons.

14 October 2006


So, my father-in-law and I finally (after many months of planning) saw the Bodies exhibit at the Tropicana. Having a background in both healthcare and deathcare fields I found it fascinating. The exhibit was broken up into rooms: muscular, digestive tract, reproductive organs, the brain, skin, pulmonary, circulatory and onward...even a embryonic/fetal growth room. We debated whether or not to go in there but I'm glad I did. I looked for Gabriel's age and I was happy to see the doc was right. He was large for his gestational age. Somehow that made me feel better. It also gave a lot of facts, like the baby has brain waves at 40 days...to me, proving life at that point, at very least.

The circulatory room was my favourite. I loved looking at all the blood vessels, and they had been specially dyed to differentiate between veins and arteries. There was an entire body set up, no skin or bones or organs or anything, just blood vessels. It was so awesome. I really can't describe it, it's got to be seen.

The only thing that struck me was something I learned when working in the mortuary: human skin looks like chicken. And I swear, after this exhibit, I won't be able to eat chicken for a month. But all in all it was great, I might even see it again.

...and we're watching Kelsrin, too. Perfect ending!

12 October 2006

Don't know what's wrong.

I dont have the right to feel this way and i talked about it a hundred times before. I dont feel like I belong and I know that really in the long run who cares? I know im loved no matter what but I don't feel American--(I get called "un-American" so often, really, you dont even know) and I don't feel European--(but at the same time Americans seem to think I am...but I'd never fit in)...I don't feel even mixed half-half because I'm not allowed to talk about it, and when I am allowed I'm not allowed to talk about German...and its really starting to get to me.

This started to affect me alot a few years ago when my sister got a family history of our original Bavarian surname but even more when I went overseas and now its like eating me. Especially when I was pregnant. I didn't want to lie (even by omission) about our son's heritage. But what was the other option? It's so confusing, I hate to offend, I hate to give the idea I'm not appreciative. I feel so stupid. Sometimes i truly feel like a "TCK"; that term clicked with me so much when I heard it in Kandern but I tried telling someone and they kind of laughed like I couldn't possibly understand, like really understand since I was born-American. But like I'm hiding like a refugee, but some kind of illegal immigrant refugee. I wonder if that's what Karl-Heinz felt like as a kid growing up: he was an illegal immigrant. In fact he still is. Sometimes I want to call the FBI and turn him in. How can I despise him so much and still feel that cultural tie? It isn't logical and I really hate myself right now and I just don't know why...maybe it's because its October. I always hated October.

08 October 2006

Captain Jack took us on a 3-hour tour!

...On the "Desert Princess", all around Lake Mead. It was awesome. Beautiful, but sad because how the drought has lowered the water levels so. (But no seriously, he was named Captain Jack, and the tour was three hours long.)

See, usually Tannah's company hosts a Labour Day party but for some reason it just didn't happen this year, I'm not sure why. So the owner booked this cool dual-level paddleboat deal, like the Mark Twain at Disneyland, but it was catered, with drinks and we saw the Hoover Dam and boat races and all. I'm severely prone to motion sickness so I had to get Dramamine beforehand, all the while wishing I had access to Vogalib. Why is it still not approved, FDA-nazis??

I also got to meet Mada's girlfriend. She seems really outgoing and more real-life than most other girls I meet casually. I'm not sure how long they've been together (a week? something) and still she wasn't obnoxiously shy or anything. It was kinda cool. also, she needed Dramamine too, so I didn't feel so lame.

At the end, after taking tons of pics, eating surprisingly good food, and enjoying the still-warm weather, we docked and ready for us were souvenir photos...I mean a whole lot of them, including a magnet one. Usually Tannah and I don't buy into that but we were like, "What the hell?" So yay, we have Lake Mead pics.

06 October 2006


I felt so stereotypically American today...driving past the Las Vegas Strip in my SUV, the heater on but the windows down, eating my sausage Egg McMuffin, drinking my Starbucks venti mocha-latte with double shot of espresso, listening to my iPod while on my cell phone at 05h00. Sometimes I really enjoy the "gimme-gimme", immediate gratification, affluent American lifestyle. Should I feel guilty?

Sometimes I do; I certainly don't know extreme, abject poverty, but I remember the days when I had to work out the math to see if I could afford $6 cough syrup or if I could afford the gasoline it would take just to get to work. I remember 10-cent ramen packages and duct tape on the inside of my Converse just so they'd last longer. I make sure I remember because I don't want to get too "comfortable" in life. I mean, I donate to reputable, established charities, not so much out of guilt but because I feel so blessed, and I want to share in what I've been given. It's only fair, really.

So basically, what I'm saying is that yeah, I feel guilty in a way that I have the ability and fortune to life in this manner, but I like that America offers the choice. Does that make sense?

Not only that, but our jobsite was rained out today, no power, so we got the choice to take our checks and go. Red Rock still had mine (even though I was transfered a week ago!), and I can wait till Monday, so I decided to finish my nerve test so I didn't have to take any more time off work for it. I can get my check Monday, no problem. Again, fortunate.

05 October 2006

Awesome day in a nutshell.

So I spent all day playing in mud (actual mud, like wet silty-dirt-sand, not concrete), got PVC glue stuck in my hair, lost my cheater tape measure, the dog pissed on the floor because she was too afraid to go out while it was raining, and my doctor is some kind of sadist--joke; he's a great guy-- and tricked me into paying him money to stick me with needles while shocking me with low voltage. (There's a name for the "diagnostic test" he performed, it's a nerve conductivity test of some kind, but needle-sticking with low-level electric shock is essentially what it was.) But that's okay; tomorrow's Friday. Anybody else have a "fun" day?

I know these last half-dozen or so of my entries have been so short, and almost exclusively in English...just time has been a real issue. hope to get back into things shortly...

04 October 2006

Rumours at the Rock?

So I get a call from an apprentice. Apparently, an assistant director of the JATC was out at Red Rock interrogating people about the report I made, including one of my former journeymen, who asked that apprentice to call me. And I was like, okay, that's fine, but I asked specifically that it only be documented, nothing more. Then a rumour that I was no-call, no-show at Red Rock for Saturday and Monday. Well, of course, except that I that I got transferred. I even signed in for the tailgate safety meeting for Monday at the new jobsite, so the the hell? It's obvious I was at a different jobsite so I know I'm not in any kind of trouble. This whole thing is ridiculous.

Oh yeah, and another 88% on an exam. What's up with these mid-C's? I'm getting annoyed.

02 October 2006

New everything.

New tools, new jobsite, new crew, new foreman. Yeah. I hate starting a new job, I never really know where to go, where to park, the rules per foreman are always different. Some foremen like serious, some like a joke, some are laid back and some just can't be pleased.

Turns out, from what I can tell, that this crew and foreman seem okay, somewhat laid back, but after all the shit at Red Rock I'm playing it safe. I won't take a chance. Right now I'm running some conduit for security cameras but I'm told I'll be doing underground in a few days. I've done underground before, at the Wynn, but it's been awhile, I wish I had more conduit experience but...ah well. I might spend some time at the JATC in the pipe lab to get some time in on that.

30 September 2006

Oscar & the Geisha...

Geisha House became kind of a tradition with our family years ago: it's where we met up before any concert. It's actually kind of a dinner and a show, in a way. Geisha House is a Japanese-style grill, you choose your meat (steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever) or you can go vegetarian, and there's all kinds of appetizers, plus you get a japanese salad with an awesome ginger vinegarette and a mild soup, too. The chef comes to your table, which is the grill, and as he's preparing your meal he does all these little tricks like catching shrimp tails in his pocket and making an onion-ring volcano...little things, but stuff that makes it fun, unique. It's expensive enough that it became somewhere reserved for just special occasions...like right before a concert.

Tonight, Geisha House was operating its last night at tht location under original owners. Our chef was Oscar, a native of El Salvador who started there washing dishes and worked his way up to chef after five years. My family remembered his first night as a chef, and was there tonight as his last. He's going back to El Salvador. I hope he does well; his English is great, maybe he can open up another little Japanese grill and make some big money.

All the drinks--sake included--were on the house, and the chefs were included in that too. In fact, Oscar drank a few Bud Lights just during his time with us, yelling, "Banzai!" with enthusiasm. We all had a great time, but it was sad, in a way, it felt like the end of an era. Granted, Geisha House is staying there, but a new owner...I'll try it, of course. And the original owner is opening another one, but way on the other side of town. I'm loyal, but I'm not sure I'm that loyal.

So now, we've got tickets for this year's Trans-Siberian Orchestra (another family tradition)...what'll we do?

29 September 2006

I escaped "the Rock!"

Is it really any surprise?

I can't help but laugh. Usually we get our checks by 10h00 (break time) but Devar kept holding off, and I knew there was a pour but usually the foreman doesn't do pourwatch. So at just before noon he comes in and hands me my check and in with it was my transfer papers. So Monday at 06h00 at the end of the earth (no joke, where the roads end at the base of the damn mountain) I report to Bishop Gorman Catholic High School. I hope we work a normal schedule. I'd like a few 40-hour weeks for a change.

In other joyful news, Tannah and I (and Tannah's brother Mada) and going to Ohio for Thanksgiving! Tannah and Mada haven't seen their family there in 16 years. It's going to be a serious culture shock, they're already warning me about the lack of video poker machines and monolingual signs. I think I might survive for a few days, though: I'll bring my iPod, laptop, cell phone, Nintendo DS and Cybershot.

27 September 2006

...and the JATC.

First off, after I spoke to the steward, the rumour started that I was going to e-board Les for harassment. (E-board: as in, bring up on charges before the union.) I decided to let him think that. It got everyone off my back for awhile.

I spoke to an assistant director about the situation and I really hesitated bringing either foreman up by name. I didn't want to look like I was causing trouble or whining, but he insisted, so I did, but I asked that it go no further than documentation. He told me the proper steps to take if it got worse but I'm half-betting on a transfer, now, actually. I think I'll be able to sleep now that it's out, at least. I hate confrontation but I hate letting things go on even more. Sometimes I'm pretty pathetic.
School was regular I guess, another test next week, I got an 88% this last one, a C and I'm not happy about it. (At our school, a 75% is failing.) Plus, we have an inspection on the 17th floor at 11h00 and it's going to take alot out of everyone to get it to pass. Six of us can get headboards on a floor done in a 10-hour day if we hustle. But he's asking the headboards, the shelf lights, wallplates and owner-supplied fixtures in about four hours. Granted I think there will be about fifteen of us up there but still..."My ticket says 'electrician', not 'magician'..." and we'll either pass or fail it. Maybe we can get a partial, like all but the suites or something. Who knows.

25 September 2006

Time to get the steward involved.

Mondays we have our safety meetings. And I've been with Bombard for so long I think I've actually heard all of them, some of them a few times. After the official meetings, the foreman usually opens up the floor for anyone to bring up questions or concerns about anything safety related on the job, or if someone's sick or whatever, taking a collection, got hurt on the job...whatever.

Wating for the elevator I heard from three separate journeymen from Les' crew that he made jokes about "some girl who got hung up on a hot and a neutral wire". This, complete with sound effects and seizure-like movements and a comment about being too stupid to flip the breaker off. For one thing, Les is a compulsive liar, I'm certain of it. Aside from that, his "jokes" just go too far. When I was missing work for doctor appointments, even when I brought in notes he still said things like, "Man, I hope it's something good like a brain tumour, or else you're wasting everyone's time." So, instead of punching him in the jaw, as it's a felony to physically attack somone above the third floor of a high-rise here, I called the steward and reported the whole damn thing, all of it, from the moment the power was turned on until Les' idiotic and unprofessional joke. The steward has his own opinions on Les, and he said as an apprentice I need to take it to the apprenticeship committee, just so its documented. That way if it continues to get out of hand, I'll be covered. Les needs to keep his damn mouth shut, and Julian needs to quit trying to corner me in empty rooms and...get this...he actually "pretends" to be giving me a task when someone walks in. Creepy. I mean, Les annoys me, and I never wqant to work for him again. But Julian is a whole other breed. So Wednesday, before class, I'll make a report for the JATC.

23 September 2006

Calm, a little?

Julian's ignoring me: bonus.
Getting paid double time: bonus.
Haribo, Clamato Energia, and Kinder Surprise: bonus.
Husband cleaning the house and making dinner: bonus.
Immediate gratification as the American way: bonus.
Life is good.

22 September 2006

"So who's fault was it?"

Today Julian cornered me in a room and said, "Hey, I heard you got bit." I said, "Yeah, Thursday." He said, "It was your fault, you didn't tag out your breakers." I said, "It wasn't an energized floor." (He also tried comparing it to a remodel...wheich it wasn't, not even close.) He said, "It's time to quit playing games, you are a 4th year, you have to think like a journeyman now." And he spent the next 20 minutes berating me, basically, saying its for my own good and its because he cares about my safety (bullshit like that). Luckily I had a witness to the whole thing. He compared me to Keith Martin, a journeyman who was killed about a month after he graduated from the apprenticeship for "not being careful". (In reality, Keith was killed because the power company turned off the wrong transformer and assured him it was off. It was their fault, not his.) Julian also said that the floor was clear, so what was he implying? That I must have been fucking around? I found out from Devar and 2 other journeymen that Devar told him I was down there in a room, making a few last connections. So not only did Julian know I was there but he knew what I was doing. And he lied about it. What was he trying to do, teach me a lesson??

The thing is, when Devar went up to him and told him to leave me alone he gave this bunny-fluff story about he was just concerned for my well-being. Guys like him make me nervous. And now, I've caught him standing in doorways just eyeballing me. If my body is found chopped up in a closet, point detectives in his direction.

21 September 2006

Not even cool:

You know, it's one thing to get bit, but this is a massive lack of communication, and if it's something deeper, I'm not sure I even want to be a part of it.

Today my crew was making connections for switches and power in boxes for headboards in all the rooms. Julian's crew (my old crew before I got transferred) was consistantly on the floor below us, hot-checking. (It means turning all the power on and making sure all the lights come on, all the outlets work, etc.) Well I was the only one left on the floor before break, and I heard Julian say to his guys "We're going to be down here after lunch" and he gave one of his famous pep-talks. I knew I had a few hours at least and I was only going to be another fifteen minutes or so, and I didn't even think about it. But in the last room, making up the last box, I got shocked, i felt it just barely, just for a sec, and I saw the lights come on and I was like, what the hell? No one warned us. I went out and looked around and one of the journeymen came out of the electrical room, and he gave me a quizzical look and was like "What's up?" and I said "Iwas in a box making a connection, did you turn the power on?" and he said "I was told the floor was clear" and I was like, "Well, it wasn't" and he apologized and looked upset, he wanted to make sure I was okay etc. but i was fine. I didn't make an official report since he was sorry and because I wasn't hurt, and it was an accident. but I was irritated so I told John and Mike, two journeymen on my crew, and they told my foreman Devar. He didnt make a report since I asked him not to, but he told Julian to please be more thorough checking since I got shocked. And it's good everyone's looking out for me but I can just see where this is going to lead.

Note: Just so everyone's aware, before Julian's crew was on hot-check and our crew was doing it, this couldn't have happened. We all had our own rooms, we turned them on and off as we needed to. I know there are breaker locks available but still, sometimes it can get incredibly ridiculous. People die from freak accidents, and if my left hand would have been touching the junction box when the power came on, well...who knows.

15 September 2006

"Horse D'Oeuvres"

Firstly, I'm a casual reader of web-comics. I'm a huge fan of It's Walky!, and, to a lesser extent, Shortpacked!. (Yeah, they both end in exclamation points. I'm not sure why. And if you actually get into David Willis' stuff, the cross-overs can get kind of confusing. Read more about that here.)

So, about the title of my post:

Wow...Penny Arcade (another web comic) is great for so many reasons, especially if you're into gaming. But their social commentary on the ontlandish ideas someone can get from the media--especially the Internet--is awesome. Case in point is this satirical edition published on Monday. And yes, I've tried posting it directly on here, but I can't get the sizing right; either it's too big and and it knocks everything else about, or it's too small and it can't be read. So anyway, enjoy:

Horse D'Oeuvres

(By the way: Anyone wondering where this came from can thank Willie Nelson.)

13 September 2006

E-mail woes.

Just a little irritated. I like e-mail as a whole; it's far less invasive than phone calls, and I use them as a primary resource to communicate with family and friends. Besides, I can actually think out what I want to say rather than stumbling over words so I don't say something foolish. (I have a tendency to allow my temper to flare on occasion, and with that come words of stupidity.)

The things I can't stand about e-mail are forwards and chain letters. Chain letters are obvious: I really don't believe I'll have a bad love life if I don't forward an e-mail to thirty people in thirty seconds. I don't think I'm guaranteed salvation if I send "special" Bible Scripture to everyone in my address book. Luck, love, happiness, money...they aren't dependent on how many people I can send an e-mail to. It's foolish in my opinion, and I delete them. I usually don't even finish reading them. As for e-mail forwards...technically, and legally, that's copyright infringement. (No, really: look it up.) I have all forwards blocked from my inbox for that reason, and if one slips through, I delete it. I admit...a very few of them are useful: the occasional warning of a scam or whatnot. However, there are so many tired hoaxes, silly jokes that we've all heard before, and calls for ridiculous boycotts, it's a complete waste of cyberspace. Aside from the legal aspect, my time is too valuable to spend weeding out that kind of bullshit, to be honest.

So...if no one could guess, I cleaned out my e-mail's inbox this evening.

11 September 2006

5 years.

My father-in-law was kind of on me to wear an American flag today, in rememberence. (Not like I was apt to forget of course; it was a travesty. Sometimes I go out of my way to avoid really thinking about it too much.) When he suggested it I kind of smiled and nodded...I didn't feel like having to explain myself, and I didn't feel like being called un-American, either. I'm not saying the anniversary isn't a big deal, because it was....I'm not sure I'll ever be able to properly explain this.

Pride, patriotism and solidarity don't mean anything if one's told to show it. I mean, the time I felt the absolute most patriotic was July 04 1996, singing The Star-Spangled Banner to a group of Korean high schoolers with about a dozen other American student diplomats from Las Vegas. I wasn't told to feel that; it was genuine. When I do feel it, I'm quite content to feel in within myself. I don't feel obligated to parade it around, proving to others where my loyalites lie. And when Independence Day comes about, or the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour, or of 9/11, I am no more or less patriotic than on any other day. I feel no more or less American, and my solidarity with others of this nation has not strengthened or weakened. I don't know...I guess it's my personality. It seems to me that some people (not all!) who wave flags and wear the red, white and blue and sing our national anthem the loudest seem to only do so on certain days, and it reminds me of fair-weather Christians. The ones who know all the hymns and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus on Christmas and go to every service on Sunday but couldn't give a flying you-know during the week. I don't want to be that way. But then, I'm not really open with myself in that way, either.

So, no: I didn't put on a show for the fifth anniversary. I said a prayer, silently, but I'll keep what I prayed about to myself. And I did think about it alot, throughout the day, not just the series of events, but where I was in my life, then. Alot has changed. I guess it did for alot of people, in a sense.

09 September 2006

I know...it's been a week.

Or more...I can't remember the last time I posted. And that's just really uncool, so, my apologies. I'll bring this blog up to speed then:

That life-sucking exhaustion kept up for days, and I had another one of those episodes early Tuesday morning. It was so sudden and intense it actually woke me up. At around 04h00 it seemed to dissapate but on the drive to work I felt it again. So I walked onto the jobsite (half of me totally numb mind you, and walking up the stairs like that is no fun) and told Devar I had to go see my doctor. He told me to just go, and I am grateful for that. No bullshit. I had called my hematologist's office about the episode Thursday and Dr. Kingsley had told me that if it happened again, just get down to the office ASAP so he could witness it and figure out what it was. So it's exactly what I did. By the time I got there I was wobbly, I was stuttering again, and the aphasia was pretty bad. (Heh...that's right, I learned a new word: when one uses the wrong word in place of the one he means to use.) I was coherent; Dr. Kingsley was testing me to see if I'd had another stroke, he kept asking me what common things were called, and I think he was sure I was having one until he noted I didn't have any weakness on one side. Numbness yes; weakness no. So he consulted a neurologist.

In the meantime I zoned out in their patient waiting area and I must have looked like I was in shock. His office shares space with a cancer treatment center, and a woman sat down next to me and said to her companion in Spanish, "Oh, she just found out!" Then they debated on whether or not to ask me, and finally the woman touched me on the shoulder and said, in English, "It's okay, I have lung cancer. It's not so bad. You'll be okay." And aside from the fact I couldn't form a sentence, I wasn't sure I wanted to tell her I didn't have cancer anyway; I sensed she felt good in comforting me.

Again the episode left pretty quickly, and I left to see Dr. Ginsburg, a neurologist. I had an electroencephalogram done, to test for seizures, and he told me that while I am positive for past transient ischemic attacks, he thinks that this episode and the one from that past Thursday are either a form of migraine or a form of temporal lobe epilepsy.

I'll be honest. As many years I worked in the healthcare field, I assumed migraines were headaches. I don't have headaches. I don't have any pain with these episodes. And I also don't twitch or anything, as one might expect with seizure activity. But he showed me books and all kinds of stuff talking about it and it was rather enlightening. So he put me on Topamax, since it treats both those disorders, plus has side effects of weight loss and scar reduction (yay!), and also because I've already been on Trileptal, Neurontin, Lamictal and Depakote, and my sister had a very unsavory experience with Klonopin. He said Topamax was a different class of medication. So far it hasn't given me any of the fatigue it promised, so I'm hopeful.

Anyway, yeah. That's been about it. I'm still on Devar's crew, still doing headboards and they changed our shift to begin an hour earlier (and I could hug someone for that). Things are mostly okay. I might even get back into paintball....oh, the joy!

04 September 2006

Labour Day!

I made the title look exciting but this post is going to be pathetic. The only completely union-sanctioned holiday and I'm sleeping through it. I have had such complete exhaustion for days now, and I've slept the whole weekend away. My parents did my birthday thing last night, and it was great to see them, but I wasn't feeling good then, either. But it was worth it to be there. I might write about that more later. But I think now I might go back to sleep.

31 August 2006

This can't happen again.

I don't know what happened, but it wasn't the first time. It's just been a long time since it last happened, and I can't afford for it to happen again.

It was at work, right before break, and my whole left side went completely numb. Not just my arms and legs but the left side of my chest, head, lips, eye, everything. I had difficulty speaking. I could understand what was being said, and I could form responses in my mind but those responses wouldn't come out. Or they would, but with incorrect words. (For instance, I remember trying to say "diminish" and all that would come out was "dissention".) On top of all that, I was dizzy and somewhat disoriented, to make the episode completely and totally unpleasant and worrisome. A few foremen saw me and asked if I should go home but with all that bullshit Les and Julian gave me I wasn't going to risk it. It's not like I was working off of a boomlift or a ladder. So I stayed with it, and inexplicably it left just as suddenly right during lunch time. The entire episode was about 3 hours total.

Devar took me aside and said I need to take care of it, and I called my hematologist and left a message. I hope this was completely isolated. I've been having a feeling of general malaise for a few weeks now though, so maybe it was cumulative.

28 August 2006

X-fer'd, redux.

Right in the beginning of my shift, Julian told me to give back my radio, gather my hand tools up, and head down to the third floor. I didn't think anything of it. But when I got to the manlift I saw Tim, our general foreman, and he said, "You've been transferred to Devar's crew, so see what project he wants to put you on and take care of getting the rest of your tools later." I have no idea why I was transferred, but I'm loving it. Devar told me I can get my maid's cart tomorrow, he just had me working with Jerry and Toni on headboards today. My new foreman is laid back, informative, and he doesn't mind showing me things. He doesn't mind explaining. Finally.

27 August 2006

Happy things.

My sister reminded me that I should look for something that made the day of Gabriel's birth happy or funny or positive, even if for a minute. Just to prove that it wasn't completely depressive. And of course I could list all the obvious things: I was a mother for a brief time, all that...but there is a funny story:

Tannah and I have a little tiny dog, she's a Schipperke poodle who's a little goofy and very headstrong. While I was in the hospital my parents offered to watch her, so Tannah could stay with me instead of having to worry about going home to feed her, walk her, all that. Well, after my contractions had gotten pretty close the anesthesiologist came in to give me all these reasons why he couldn't give me an epidural. And he was speaking so slowly, and asking me detailed questions about my past medical history. Well, when you're in pain, you aren't exactly thinking clearly. So in the middle of this, Tannah gets a phone call.

It was a woman who found our Pepper shivering outside of the front door of a house whose address didn't match the tag. So she called the number and Tannah knew Pepper was supposed to be with my parents but didn't know their home address off-hand. so he asked me.

So here I am, screaming, cursing, hating the anesthesiologist, asnwering his questions, and Tannah butts in with, "What's your parents' address?" and I don't remember what I said, but I'm sure it was crude, and mean-spirited, and I'm sure the woman heard it. After the hellacious contraction subsided and I could think again, I rattled it off, and it turns out Pepper was at my parents' front door...she had obviously escaped, and then decided against it.

Maybe that story isn't funny to anyone else but me, but the irony in timing was superb.

26 August 2006

Happy birthday, Gabriel.

My son would have been a year old, today. I'm thankfully numb for the most part; I did have PV class scheduled today but I called my instructor and he said I could come in Tuesday after work, since he was going to be in anyway. I just can't help thinking what Gabriel might have been like. I should be planning the final parts of his birthday party, and I'm sitting here, in an empty house, one that's especially empty today. And I feel guilty for gaining so much after his death: we bought a house, and a new car; Tannah and I both really grew up and we're closer now than ever, and the doctors were finally able to diagnose me.

I know inside that somehow, it was meant to be. Neither of us would have likely survived if I went to term. And the timing...he could have been born before the wedding. Or the day of. He could have been born after school started. Things could have been so much more complicated. Or, he could have survived long enough to experience the pain of being hooked up to machines for his entire existance, and then died.

But no. He was born on a Friday morning, this day last year. I remember seeing his mouth open, evidence that he struggled to breathe for a few minutes, and he died quietly. I remember the look in Tannah's eyes, at Gabriel's birth, at the realization he was a boy (we had been told he was a girl), and at his death. I remember feeling guilty for being the cause of that. And guilty at being so exhausted both physically and emotionally to stay awake much longer after they dressed him and gave me his box. Alot of people don't seem to realise that just because he was premature, it doesn't mean it wasn't a "real" birth. I went through labour, and intense contractions, and he was born as other children are born. He just didn't live very long.

It still hurts more than I can say. My friend Dover, who is in a pipes band, said they are playing tonight and she's putting in a request for The Bells of Dunblane for Gabriel. It's the perfect choice.

25 August 2006

What a day.

I've done fuck-all today, which was partly due to the fact that I'm not allowed to cut drywall per contract, and partly due to the fact that somehow I was magically transported to some kind of fascist police-state. Let me explain.

[Background info:] Since the middle of the month, I've been working on moving and finding receptacles in the west-side A-suites. Finding them is easy; sometimes other trades just forget to cut an opening out of the wallpaper or drywall for it. And, usually, moving receptacles isn't hard either. But for some reason, in order for me to move these boxes, in some cases the entertainment centers had to be removed from the walls, or the doors had to be dismantled and moved. Per contract, I can cut a small hole in drywall if it's square to the studs. But for what I had to do included removing parts of the entire wall, so we had to place a request for removal, all kinds of foolishness. And in one case, I'll have to install splicer boxes just to be able to reroute our cables.

On to the story.

First thing in the morning, I was asked to slip-sheet my foreman's prints. It's where you integrate newer revisions with originals or as-builts. He had this huge stack of architechturals, electricals, audio-visuals, and tele-data prints, all smeared around a huge pile of discarded framing members. Upside down, backwards, torn...it's amazing how guys won't take care of something so vital to construction. (And for the record, this isn't how my foreman keeps his prints; Julian is meticulous, it's the guys on our crew that fling them about.) So I spent no less than 2 hours separating them, and organizing, when Julian asked me to walk through inspection with him. Several floors were inspected (headboards, elevator lobby, and walls & celilings) with relatively few touch-ups needed, but still, it takes time. So about an hour later, when I returned to my prints, they were on the floor in a ball. I'm not kidding. Another hour I was on top of it, but the A-V's were missing, and it turns out a journeyman went through and took all of them out, since "apprentices aren't supposed to have prints" and he needed them. I convinced him finally to let me have them back so I could update them, and by noon (halfway through my shift) I had it all organised onto one stick. And there were complaints that they weren't separated onto two sticks, so likely I'll come in to work Monday and see them on the floor again. Typical.

About that time I learned of a new rule, from our apprenticeship hall. Classes--which are mandatory for remaining in the apprenticeship--start at 16h30. Our shift ends at 16h30, and lunch therefore is at 14h00. Since "normal" jobsites leave for the day at 14h30, apprentices decided to leave at 14h00...we were leaving at lunch, able to go home, take a shower, and get something to eat before classes, whcih don't let out until 21h30. I guess it was pissing off a few foreman (at least one in particular) so the official rule now is no apprentice can leave before 15h30. Granted, our school is close to 20 miles away from the jobsite. With good traffic, one can get there in about 40 minutes. So, today was the day for first-year classes, all of whome left their books etc at home, thinking they could go at lunch. But they weren't allowed, because of the memo. So while many of them took a tardy to class, one of the instructors (Les, my former foreman) left at lunch. You know, to take a shower, get something to eat, feel refreshed before a 5-hour class period. He sets a great example. In the meantime, he didn't even give his first-year apprentice a copy of the memo to show to his instructor as an excuse for being late.

Meanwhile, after all the angry protests that ensued after hearing this, I went to work on trying to move a few more boxes. And had issues, because whoever cut the drywall didn't leave the boxes intact, so I lost my marks. "Move box 1-1/2" east." East from where?? I have no idea where that box used to be. And yet, there's still one part of the wall that needs to be moved, so I was still unable to get all I needed to get done out of the way.

At the end of the day, we had our safety meeting. Our foreman suggested that if we want the rules about leaving for class changed, we needed to contact the appropriate directors. (No worries, that was done at break.) We were also informed of the new "one-minute" rule: the general foreman and superintendent will be walking the job and if anyone is a minute late or a minute early for anything (arrival, break, lunch, or walk-out), it's a write up, as the required verbal warning was implied upon start of employment. I doubt the steward will be present. With three write-ups, it's termination without eligibility for re-hire (which is about a year in construction) and for apprentices, it means we have to see the committee and aren't allowed to take a call to a jobsite until that time. The committee doesn't meet every month, either. So it was sugested to get to the site an hour early, "to be safe". Whatever.

23 August 2006

Not sure how to fix this:

I have a really horrible and (somewhat) childish character trait. It's embarassing to admit but no matter how often I tell myself I need to just stop, I keep on it. And what's worse, I'm not brazen enough to do it outright. I'm completely passive about it, which is pretty lame.

I have this driving need to instigate people who get too-easily worked up over their own deep-rooted anger and insecurities. I don't know why. For instance, at work, there's a guy who keeps writing "Down with Islam" on the unfinished walls at work. (That sounds worse than it is; everyone writes on the unfinished walls, it's at a construction site and it's just something that's done, period. It's all covered up in the end, no worries.) But anyway, I have the most insane urge to write "Allahu akbar" ("Praise Allah", in Arabic) underneath it. I'm not Muslim, though I did some intense studying of it in the past. I know if this guy saw me do this, I'd probably get into an uncomfortable situation, but I look at what he writes and it just screams to me...he's led by media and his own ignorance to degrade and loathe an entire group, and it disgusts me.

In the same manner, there's another guy at work who is very vocal about despising Hispanics, because "those beaners are invading my country". My own ideas of immigration (unlawful and otherwise) notwithstanding, I just don't like how he goes about voicing his discrimination. He's fluent in Spanish but refuses to let his kids learn...which is fine, really; his choice. But I have some friends at work with whom I speak Spanish, and he confronts me about "enabling" them to not have to learn English. I explained that in a nation that promotes free speech, I'm happy to speak whichever language I like, with whomever I like, wherever I like, and no one's going to stop me. Aside from that, some of them are aiming to improve their English, and when I'm trying to explain a term or meaning, sometimes it's easier to compare in their native language, then re-explain in English. I know I learn better that way. But after my explanation, he started screaming about it--not at me, he insisted, but toward me--and I'll honestly say, that urge rose again. And now I go out of my way to speak Spanish to every Hispanic guy on the jobsite, in his presence.

Tannah says I'm going to wind up getting hit. And even that's an issue...my first thought when I'm threatened with that at work is, "Go ahead, I'll own you." I think I should be afraid or something.

21 August 2006

C'est mon anniversaire!

Aujourd'hui j'ai 28 ans....très vieille, je pense. Je me rappelle quand j'étais jeune, j'ai cru que je mourrais avant que j'aie eu 30 ans. J'ai eu ai voulu mourir, puis. Je l'ai attendu. Et maintenant, il y a seulement 2 ans jusqu'à cet âge, et 2 ans jusqu'à la remise des diplômes pour des électriciens syndiqués, aussi. Je ne veux pas mourir, vraiment. Pas en ce moment. Les choses sont bonnes, la plupart du temps. Mais toujours, j'examine ma vie et vois très peu. Je ne vois aucun avenir. Et je me demande si je dois mourir de toute façon.

Je ne sais pas même si je veux accoucher des enfants. Le risque est trop immense. Je veux une famille, mais je ne peux pas supporter la mort d'un autre enfant. Aussi, ce qui si le détective trouve mon oncle? Je sais que je suis obligée de coopérer mais c'est quelque chose qui me donne peur. Et aussi cette pensée me donne également des désirs de faire des choses regrettables.

La vie est bonne, et Dieu est mon espoir. Mais parfois, la vie peut être si compliquée. Une autre année, ouais, mais les mêmes problèmes sont ici, toujours. Et merde alors...j'ai voulu que ce post fût heureux! (Quelle blague...)

20 August 2006

First anniversary!

Today was a year that I've been married. I can't believe all that's happened. At first we meant to go to a show, we were thinking about seeing Penn & Teller at the Rio but finances and all...we opted to stay in, instead. We did have a leisurely lunch at the Rio, however, and that was relaxing, since we had nothing else planned. And I didn't have the heart to open the bottle of mead we got from Edinburgh Castle so we bought a bottle of Polish mead instead, and opened that. I decided I very much like mead. We were supposed to pick up the top tier of our wedding cake out of my parents' freezer but we kind of spaced it...did we really want to taste it anyway? But I feel in a way we should have held up tradition. So maybe next Sunday when I see them for my birthday, we'll pick it up. (Tomorrow's actually my birthday but I'm already having dinner with Tannah's parents that day. Next weekend will be fine, since my mom is making her famous soup! It's my request every year.)

Today was a good day. I'm happy, really, for the first time in a long time.

19 August 2006

How do I tell you, Daddy?

I don't know how to write it, let alone say it. There's just pages of things that I avoid saying or thinking, and part of me feels it needs to be resolved. But I'm not sure it ever can be fully resolved. These aren't things I know how to admit, and I'm afraid if I do, it'll affect our relationship. I don't know how many times I wrote about it and then cancelled the e-mail before I hit "send". You like to talk face-to-face, but when? And how, if I can't bring myself to say it even here?

None of it is anything that can be possibly percieved as your fault. It has to do with things from Before, things I scarcely speak aloud, and it affects where I fit in, I guess...I feel torn between too many things, and I hide them always. I think sometimes I pull it off, and no one notices...but other times I just don't have the energy to pretend anymore. I'm not sure what to do about it. Admittedly, I'm not who I claim to be; so many other facets rule me and I'm more of a carefully crafted mask than anything else. But I don't have a choice, otherwise. To be as I truly am wouldn't allow for functionality in the acceptable sense dictated by society. Sometimes I hate what I have created myself to be, but at the same time, it comes down to choices. My choice doesn't decide whether or not I'm a decent person, it just reflects my available options at the time.

I really don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. Maybe I'll come back to this later, but I doubt it. Venting a little is enough, for now. Maybe I'll have the courage to call you or Mom (or both) later and...something, I don't know.

17 August 2006

Solar NV

(They like to say it as if it's spelled "Solar Envy"...pretty cute.) Anyway, our photovoltaics class had a field trip to the monthly meeting of the southern Nevada chapter of the American Energy Society, referred to my members as Solar NV. Our class took up about half the seats. We impressed quite a few members, and the speaker was a representative of Sierra Pacific, which is the parent company of Nevada Power. He gave info on the state rebate program for solar and laws and regulation, alot of figures and graphs to go with it. The only thing that irritates me is the rebate program only allows for 1,900 kW per year to be installed, and the demand as it stands now is about 4 times that. Years on a waiting list...unreal. Also, they've lowered the rebate from $5 a watt to $3 a watt, and it'll go down another dollar in the next two years, for residences and small businesses only. For public buildings and schools, it's gone up from $4 a watt to $5 a watt. Thirdly, charter and private schools, and large businesses aren't eligible for the rebate program. However, the information presented there pointed me in the right direction to make our house vastly more energy efficient, so we can be on our way to going solar in under five years (providing we have the funds). So I'm excited about that.

One thing I wasn't excited about was the "surprise" visit from Nevada Senator Dina Titus. She's running for governer on the Democrat ticket and is officially endorsed by the union. Aside from not voting as the union tells me to (I can make up my own mind) I found her demeanor inappropriate and unprofessional. She made snide comments about "big power" blocking her proposals to make this state more agreeable to renewable energy, and how we need to go green, things like that. It's fine that she says those things of course, but I felt like I was being preached to, and that she was covertly attacking the representative of Sierra Pacific. But then, it's what politicians do, I guess.

I did find out though, that 2 laws were passed in Nevada, one I agree with and one I most certainly don't. These are covered under the Solar Access laws. (Authority 1 is under NRS § 111.370 et seq.; Authority 2 is under NRS § 111.239):
1. A homeowners' association cannot deny your right to erecting a solar array on your property.
2. If you have an existing array and your neighbour wants to plant a tree that will block the sun or build an addition to his house that would interfere with irradiance to your array, he legally can't do that. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life. How is my freedom to solar power more important that his freedom to expand on property he has bought?