Monday, October 31, 2005

Rain, Rain Go Away . . .

The forecast called for a slight chance of light rain.

Oh, okay - - I guess I can put up with that - -

HOWEVER - - apparently WAND's forecasters have a real GIFT for understatement . . .

It rained, all right.


All day long.

And well into the night (at least, so far).


Now mind you, I don't mind rain. The problem is, I had to take my Jeep up to Clinton for some warranty work, and they sent me home in a loaner. Which I usually don't mind, but when it's POURING BUCKETS, and they send you with the gas tank on "E", and you are trying to figure out WHERE the damn tank is, and it's pouring, and you're getting SOAKED . . .

Well, it's not pretty, is all I'm sayin'.

SO - - by the time I got back to work, looking like a drowned rat, I was NOT happy.

Good thing I was the only one in my office today - - because I was pretty cranky.

Tomorrow will be better, I'm sure . . . :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

WHAT a WEEK!!! *whew*

This was a BUSY week - - I mean, my weeks are usually pretty hectic, but this one took the prize . . .

That's why I haven't been on here for awhile. Between work, teaching, and life in general, by the time I would get home (some nights as late as 9:45 p.m.), I was too exhausted to think about spending time on the computer, much less stay awake long enough to compose a sentence!

This week promises to be just about as hectic, so - - you are all forewarned. If you don't hear from me in a few days, DON'T PANIC - - I'll be back on track soon.

I will post more again soon - - right now it's getting close to bedtime, and I'm exhausted. But I didn't want to go any longer without posting SOMETHING, so there you are.

Next time, I'll tell all about the "road trip" hubby Steve and I took this past weekend - - lots of good stuff in Southern Illinois I never knew about!

But for now - - 'night. *yawn*

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Satisfying My "Jewelry Fetish" . . .

If you have ever noticed under the "About Me" section of the sidebar, I mention a "serious jewelry fetish" - - well, I got to satisfy a bit of that yesterday. I went to Peoria with a couple members of my "posse" (*smile*), Betty and Connie, to Jessica's shop, "Hey Lola". Lola's is a funky little shop with vintage clothing, nick-nacks, paper lanterns, cards, and paintings by Jessica, a VERY talented artist and creative sprite. But best of all - - Lola's has jewelry. LOTS and LOTS of jewelry. All designed and created by Jessica herself.

I first met Jessica Labor Day Weekend 2004, when hubby Steve and I went to the Riverfront Blues Fest in Peoria. There were vendors set up all along the river walkway, and Jessica was one of them. I took one look at her jewelry, and my jaw literally dropped. Her designs are amazing! She uses mostly natural stones for her creations, incorporating wire wrapping and "vining", along with seed beads, sterling beads, and other components in her creations. The finished products are unique and totally awesome.

Since that weekend in 2004, I have come to know Jessica well, and consider her a very dear friend. If hubby and I are every at a place where stones are sold, I'm constantly looking through them to see if there would be anything Jessica might like to work with. In fact, I came back from our Turkey Run trip with a bag of stones from the Lodge gift shop for her - Agate Slices, Goldstone, River Agate chunks, and the like.


"Hey Lola" was having an Open House and a Moving Sale this weekend. Connie had been to the shop and met Jessica before, but Betty never had. The Open House was being marketed by the Bradley U. marketing students. Their goal was to have 120 in the door that day. Their professor was at the door counting off people entering.

The Moving Sale was just that - - reducing inventory before Jessica moves to her new shop in Peoria Heights! Apparently her new neighborhood is a neat little area of town with lots of little shops, boutiques, and restaurants, and a perfect spot for a shop like hers. Her move takes place the end of this month.

Jessica, I wish you the best of luck with the move - - wish hubby and I could be there to help - - and I cannot wait to see the new 'digs'!! The girls and I will be there sometime soon to check it all out!

We had a great time. And - - as usual - - there was a "creation" there that grabbed me. Again. *sigh* The hardest part about going to Hey Lola's is not buying everything I see. Her jewelry creations are THAT GOOD. Really. You need to check it out sometime. Her website can be found at

And while you're in Peoria, you need to have lunch at One World Cafe, right across the street from Bradley U. It's a neat atmosphere with all different types of food - - there is literally something for everybody - in fact, their menu is HUGE. Signature sandwiches, soups, salads, and the best pizza around. All foods and homemade, and only the freshest ingredients are used. It's the best food in town. Period.

And if you don't believe ME, then go ask Jessica. She used to work there, and she will back me up on this. :-)


My meeting with the head of the Division went surprisingly well. I made sure to mention all my concerns regarding the machines and their inability to run the training program. Apparently, he had been doing his own bit of investigating and had come to the same conclusion. All classes scheduled for that computer lab for the rest of the semester have been reassigned to another lab. The new room has much newer machines, so there should not be any of the problems we had experienced on the first night of class.

After that was all decided, it was time to let him know my own personal feelings on the way my concerns had been treated by members of his staff. Basically, after I shut his office door, I spelled it out in no uncertain terms - - how it was very unprofessional that my concerns, as the instructor on record for that class, were treated as "not that important." That I was told not to "make a big deal out of it" or to involved the head of the Division. How the staff member basically did not want to bring this situation to the attention of the head of the Division, so therefore, did not. I went to the Coordinator first out of professional courtesy, because it is always best to follow the chain of command and not step on someone's toes. But when that did not work, I had no choice but to handle things a different way.

I think he and I came to a mutual understanding about all this - - I think he realizes that my concerns are for the students, not my own personal agenda.

He asked me to survey my students this evening, and if any of them feel that they did not get what was needed during the 2 nights of class, he would allow an extra night at no charge to them, for us to go over areas they felt were necessary. I will do that at class tonight, and if any of them feel the need for the extra night, I am more than willing to meet with them and help in any way possible to make sure they get what they paid for.

It's the right thing to do.

* * * * * * * * * *

Class Thursday evening in the new computer lab went so smoothly, it was almost scary. NOTHING went wrong! The machines ran as they should, nothing locked up, nothing crashed, the program booted up with not one glitch. I was able to give the instruction needed, and even had a bit of time to review some of the material from the previous class.

At the end of class, I asked if any of them felt the need for the extra night, but none of them did. Apparently we were able to cover it enough that they were comfortable with what they were taking away from the class.

Thank goodness that "nightmare" is over!

I don't anticipate any problems for the Intermediate Excel class next week. (knock on wood!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oh Boy - - Here We Go . . .

Okay - -

After everything that had happened in computer class last night, I could NOT get to sleep . . . tossed and turned and finally dozed off around 1:30 a.m. Hubby Steve's alarm went off at 3:40 a.m., and when he left at 4:30 a.m. for work, I was still awake. So I just got up.

I have been a zombie - - just sleepwalked through the day.

I got to work at 7:30. My first stop after dropping off my stuff at my desk was to talk to Debbie. She took one look at my face and could tell things were not good.

She was right.

For the next 20 minutes or so, we discussed everything that went wrong during the class. I also told her how much it bothered me once I got home, and the amount of sleep I lost over it. She knows me, and knows how much I care about the College and the work I do. She and I both know that whatever we do reflects on the College, good or bad. That class last night was definitely NOT one of our shining moments. She promised to talk to the Training Coordinator over those classes and have that person contact me.

To make a long story short, we were both basically told not to make a big deal out of it, I would be assigned to a different classroom for the second night of the class, and that there was no reason to involve the head of the Division.

THAT was the deciding factor to guarantee that I most definitely WOULD be making a big deal out of it.

You do NOT tell me that short-changing my students and not giving them their hard-earned money's worth is not important, and that I should just back down and not make a "big deal" out of it! Am I supposed to just act as if everything is just fine?

No f ***ing way. Nope, not this lady.

Things are definitely NOT fine. This whole thing is an embarrassment to the College. These are people who are trying to learn a skill, or brush up on a skill, or just get a short taste of what a particular class is like before they consider signing up for a full semester credit class. These are prospective CREDIT STUDENTS, people!!

AND - - they may have kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters - - not to mention friends and neighbors . . . all of whom they could refer to the College IF - - and ONLY IF - - the experience they themselves have is a good one.

Based on what they went through last night - - I would not blame them if they told everyone they met on the street to avoid our institution like the plague.

I have always had a very strong sense of what is right and wrong. I just want done what is RIGHT for our paying customers - - our students - - who are the reason we have our doors open. And some people better damn well start remembering that.

I'm just sayin' . . .

So now for the next step - - tomorrow morning I have a 9:00 a.m. meeting scheduled with the head of the Division. I don't plan on letting HIM back me down either.

Guess my friends are right when they say I have cojones the size of church bells . . . ;-)

The game is on . . . stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Monday-Tuesdays . . .

Doncha just hate it when a Monday decides to disguise itself as a Tuesday?

Like right after a WONDERFUL three-day holiday weekend . . .

Then on MONDAY (I don't care if the calendar says "TUESDAY" - - they are known to lie) - - reality sets in . . .

Like today.

Today was NOT a fun day. *sigh*

I had an 8:00 a.m. meeting to take minutes at. Taking minutes is not exactly the most fun thing in the world to do anyway, but at 8:00 freakin' A.M., on a MondaydisguisedasaTuesday, it's downright painful!!

I get out of the meeting at 9:00, make my daily deliveries and
pick up the mail (a HUGE stack, thanks to the three-day weekend). I get back to my desk and notice my message light blinking. It's my dentist's office - - my permanent crown arrived a couple of days early and they just happened to have a cancellation that morning - - could I be there at 10:00? It's already 9:30, but - - might as well get it over with.

SO it's off to the dentist I go, and have an unexpected hour in the chair (just what I wanted after an hour of sheer hell in the meeting). THEN there is no eating or drinking anything for at least an hour, preferably more, until the cement on the crown sets up. So now I'm not only CRANKY - - I'm HUNGRY besides . . .

Then this evening, I'm scheduled to teach an Intro to Excel class. Normally I enjoy teaching these classes, but this has NOT been the best of days . . . but this usually puts me in a pretty good mood.

Unfortunately, that was NOT to be the case this time.

They have just started using a new training program on the computers in that lab. The machines are OLD and OUTDATED and SLOW, and do not have the capability of running this new program well. The programs run SOOOOOOOO SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWWWWWWW . . . . . and the programs like to "freeze" and then the machines lock up, and the only to get out of that is to reboot, which results in the computers not wanting to start up in the proper training program.

THEN - - when class is finished and you try to EXIT out of the program, it crashes Windows.


By the time class was over and I FINALLY got all the machines shut down, I was ready to throw something.

It's kinda funny that Debbie told me today that since this was the FIRST TIME this program was being run, she was glad it was being taught by someone who worked there and knew them and loved them . . . and to let her know tomorrow if there had been any problems.

She should be careful what she asks for - - she may not be too happy hearing from me tomorrow . . . (don't get me wrong - - I adore Debbie, and know this is not her fault, but I'm just pissed, is all . . . )

ANYWAY - - my feeling is, if you are going to make people pay GOOD MONEY to get TRAINING - -

You damn well better have the PROPER TOOLS to train them with!

Give them their money's worth, for Heaven's sake!

I'm just sayin', is all.

Enough ranting - - it's beddy-bye time.

Tomorrow will be better (darn well better be! *laugh*)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Brownie Success!

Well, the brownies were a success, and then some. The whole house smelled like chocolate and creme de menthe while they were baking (and for a long time afterward!). Once they were cooled, we tried them. Oooohhhhh my . . . awesome!

Dad wasn't the only "guinea pig" I tried out the Chocolate Mint Brownies on - - I took the remainder of the pan to work. I didn't even make it down the hall to my office before one of the CEHF faculty members was "stalking" me! Followed me all the way down to my office and walked in behind me! She couldn't wait . . .

It was kinda cute seeing people's eyes kinda glaze over when they tasted them. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

I've been made to promise to bring batches of all my different varieties to work at Christmas time for our party . . . guess I better stock up on brownie mix, huh?

Too bad dear nephew Travis missed these . . . :-)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Brownies, Part II

I'm getting the itch to try a new brownie idea, and I have the perfect "guinea pig" to try them out on - - my Dad.He loves chocolate and mint, so I'm gonna try something different.

I have a bag of Andes chocolate mint wafer candies, and a family size box of brownie mix. I'm going to chop up some of the candies and stir them into the brownie batter. Then after they are baked, I'm going to place more of the candies on top of the brownies, put them back in the oven until they are melty, then take them out and spread the melted candies for a chocolate mint frosting.


I mentioned this to Dad on the phone tonight, and that I would bring some down to him - - I think he's looking forward to them almost more than seeing hubby Steve and I! :-)

Should be awesome - - I'll let you know!

Three ALREADY????

I went to my son's house Sunday for a very special reason - - my youngest grandson, Jon, had a birthday last week.

He just turned three years old.


I am still trying to figure out how that happened. I mean - - wasn't it just a couple of months ago that Dawn was bringing him home from the hospital?? Where does the time go??

And how is it that these little kids get so much older while we stay just as young and slim and energetic - - and GORGEOUS - - don't forget GORGEOUS . . .

I wish! :-)

Dang - - my little man is THREE . . . (shakes head in disbelief)

It was a good visit. Jon liked the trucks I got him. He kept running them up and down my legs, then would stop and give me a BIG hug, look me straight in the eyes and say, "I WUB you!" (the heart melts)

It just don't get no better than this, does it?