Thursday, June 30, 2011

Volunteering for fun work stuff

One of my co-workers was going off on vacation for a week or so and needed help covering a couple of her projects, so I volunteered. Now, don't go thinking I'm noble and nice or anything (because we know better than that!), but the assignment screamed fun to me, so I raised my hand so quickly I think I created a sonic boom.

The project was a video production that had a couple of shoots happening during her time off, but the shoot scheduled for a Sunday afternoon was my motivating factor. The producer and videographer wanted to get up to the top of the Plummer Building to shoot b-roll of the Mayo Clinic campus and the surrounding area. Besides being an amazingly beautiful 1928 wonder, the top of the Plummer Building also houses the Mayo Clinic carillon. And there was a carillon concert that day!
One of the 56 bells
If you look closely at the picture of the upper part of the Plummer Building (top right photo), the carillon is housed in the top part with the long "windows" (that aren't really windows as much as they are openings for the sound to go out). 

We didn't stay up on the deck for the concert as we didn't bring our earplugs. Jeff, the carillon player, is actually right next to the bells, but in a glass-enclosed booth. (Check out the YouTube video all about the carillon)

Nice photo of Old Glory without a telephoto lens
Besides having the opportunity to see the bells and the carillon up close, I was able to go out on the walkway that surrounds the tower. By sheer chance, I had my camera with me and captured some fun shots.

This used to be the Rochester Library, now it's the Mayo Medical School
The walkway around the building
You don't really have a view of NW Rochester since the beautiful Gonda building blocks your sight line
Looking directly down to the Children's Fountain below
Minnesota doesn't have scary gargoyles; we're too nice for that

If you're ever in Rochester, be sure to visit the Plummer Building. You might not be able to visit the top of the building, but the architecture is splendiferous. (used the thesaurus)

Technically, the doors are always open, although you can't always get in. The picture to the right is one of the massive doors to the Plummer Building that have only been closed a few times in the building's history. The last time was September 11, 2001.

The building also has a couple of historical suites you can visit that tell not only the story of the Mayo Clinic, but of the amazing doctor who helped to design the building. (Yes, Dr. Henry Plummer - one of the founding doctors - helped to design the building that bears his name.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Doggie Dilemma

When I move into my new apartment next month, I'll be leaving behind a couple of my newest buddies - Tuts and Bea. These last nine months living in a home with dogs has been so great and it reminded me what loving and affectionate animals they are.

The apartment that I'll be renting allows dogs with a $300 non-refundable deposit. I am seriously toying with the idea of becoming a dog-owner. I've been spending too much time on the Small Dog Rescue (SDR)of Minnesota website, looking at the available dogs and trying to picture how they would fit into my life.

And that might be the problem. My life.  I travel for skating, so I'll need to figure out doggie babysitters. I'm not always home right after work.

Then I see Charlie. He's a mix of a Jack Russell Terrier and a Korgi. The people who run the small dog rescue write a description/bio for each dog and tell you important things that you need to know, such as Charlie needs to go to a home with no other pets. 

I don't have any other pets...

Living at Knutson's, I've also grown to love miniature dachshunds.  There are three available from the SDR. I spotted Heidi on their list and would take her home right away except for the fact that Heidi really needs to stay with her buddy Dixie, another doxi. They were rescued from a puppy mill and SDR recommends a home with just adults. I wouldn't mind two dogs, but the apartment is small and I would have to pay two adoption fees. 

SDR has mature dogs and puppies. They have beagles and rat terriers and chihuahuas (like Milo)and those fluffy dogs - shih zhus and pekingeses.   

You can start betting now on how long it takes before I give in and fill out the adoption form.

My ADD Brain

The more I've learned about having ADD, the more I've learned about myself.

I have personality traits that some might call behavioral traits (okay, they call them problems, but I'm working on being positive here.)

One of those "traits" (personality or behavioral, you choose) was a point of discussion last week.  I was told that I'm too aggressive in conversations and that I cut people off.  I thought about that comment a lot this weekend and tried to remember instances. 

I've learned (by reading too many books on the topic) that a person with ADD may be considered abrupt or short because our brains have already finished your sentence for you. We don't think that we cut you off, because in our brains, you were already done. We may even think that we paused for a moment before we spoke.  

One of our other "brain traits" is the ability to lose track of what we were saying in the middle of sentence. But we ADD people are tricky because we won't let on that we've lost our train of thought, we'll just keep talking until we re-link with the thought and get back on track. We are the kings & queens of the run-on sentence. 

Unless, of course, in the middle of that run-on sentence, you distract us with a shiny object or small, furry rodents. 

So, I apologize to those whose sentences I cut-off or interrupt. You may take it as being rude. I like to think of it as being simpatico with my co-workers. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Saying goodbye to someone I never met

For the last twelve or so years, my phone number was 612-730-XXXX.

And for the last twelve or so years, someone named Megan had the 651 version of my number (she was Saint Paul to my Minneapolis). When I got a phone call from one of Megan's friends, I would simply tell them that Megan's number started with 651, not 612.

Even when they didn't say anything, I knew when it was one of her friends. I'd answer my phone, "This is Elizabeth" and instead of having someone on the other end start the conversation, I would hear an "um" or "ah" and that would be my clue. I would ask, "are you calling for Megan?" and they would pipe up and say "yes, is she there?"  They would always sounded a bit surprised when I explained the phone number issue.  I think when I asked if they were calling for Megan, they jumped to the conclusion that since I knew Megan, I must just be someone at her house who picked up the phone. Those were the ones who would sound confused as I explained the mix-up.

Megan got some of my calls, too. Once, I had set up my work phone to forward to my cell phone, only I didn't use the area code, just the 7 numbers. Poor Megan ended up getting lots of my calls for a couple of days. And these were people who thought they were calling my office, nothing close to the 730 number.

My favorite time was when I answered my phone and after I said hello, the voice on the other end got quiet, so I assumed it was someone calling for Megan, so I asked, "Are you trying to reach Megan?" The voice on the phone slowly replied, "No, I am Megan..." She was in Minneapolis and was calling home to check her voice mail. She forgot to dial the area code. We had a good laugh and a short chat.

So I'd like to take a moment and say goodbye to Megan. May my 612 number be re-assigned to someone just as nice as me.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

I really, REALLY had to have an iPhone. All the other kids had 'em and they were, I was sure, all the really cool kids or the smartest kids or in someway superior to me. 

Once I had an iPhone, it would be the great equalizer and I would be just as cool, smart and maybe even, equal to their superiority.

So, in November of 2009, when my Sprint never-ending two year contract was done, I marched right into the AT&T store to purchase my iPhone 3GS. Only they didn't have in stock. And each time I checked back, they still didn't have any in stock. 
Two weeks into this exercise in futility, they came clean; said they rarely get any in and told me if I went to an Apple store, I would most likely be able to buy a phone that day. My quest for the iconic iPhone was complete and there was peace and joy in the kingdom. 

So why did I deactivate my iPhone yesterday and cancel my AT&T contract? Mostly because I was spending far too much money a month for the bells and whistles of an iPhone. 

I've been thinking about this for awhile. A couple of months ago, a co-worker of mine talked about how little she was using her iPhone for phone calls (me, too) and that she was planning on dumping her iPhone and getting a pay-as-you-go phone and an iTouch. 

That conversation really planted the seed. 

Two weeks ago I attended a conference at the Sprint World Headquarters. While there, I started hearing about what I could save with a much simpler phone. And since I've been looking at ways to save money, I just decided it was time to do it. 

Oh, there's one more thing I should admit. I was actually paying for two phones on my AT&T plan. I was a single woman on a family plan. 

The iPhone was my Twin Cities 612 number while the second phone was my Southern Minnesota 507 number. I've had the 612 number for over 12 years, so most people would think that I would keep that number. 

They would be wrong. 

Monday, I marched into the Sprint Store and got a new Android phone for my 507 number. Yesterday, I stopped by the AT&T store and cancelled my contract. I'll give credit to Kyle at the AT&T store, he was very accommodating to someone who walks in and announces she's there to cancel her contract. He didn't try to talk me out of it or offer me some deal. He respected my decision and in less that 5 minutes my iPhone 3GS was magically transformed into my iTouch 3GS. (an iPhone in a permanent state of airplane mode) 

I'm slowly getting my new phone figured out, but if you call me in the next couple of days and I don't answer quickly, it's because I'm trying to figure out how to answer the darn thing. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stars on my ceiling

I am thrilled to say that I have an offer on my condo! It sucks that it is going to be a short sale, but at least it will be one less thing hanging over my head. If you're not familiar with a short sale, it's when what you owe is higher than what the property is valued at. Think of my mortgage as Shaquille O'Neal and the selling price as Kristin Chenoweth. 
I had a training conference this past weekend in Bloomington, so I stayed at the condo. It hasn't felt like my place since I moved most of my stuff out last fall. However, I realized that there are going to be some parts of living at that place that I will miss. 

The kitchen is huge and not galley-like. There is even space for my solid oak dining room table. I'll miss the character of my kitchen with its wine theme. I love the walls in the kitchen because I "mudded" them and they look very old world Italian-villa-like. I also have great memories of mudding the walls with two of my dear choir friends, Terri and Lisa. 

I will not miss the pink counter tops in the kitchen or the 1980s mauve carpet that covers the majority of the floors. 

I will not miss the floor-to-ceiling mirror in the living room. Yes, the mirrors made the room appear bigger but I really didn't enjoy when I was appearing bigger. The truth is over-rated. 

I think the one thing I will miss the most are the stars that I painted on my bedroom ceiling with glow-in-the-dark paint. It was supposed to duplicate the stars in the sky during the Winter. I painted them on the ceiling in about 1998 and they still shine as brightly as the day I painted them. I won't be able to duplicate this in my new place since I'll be renting. It was always kind of comforting to feel like you're sleeping under the stars without that pesky nature ruining it. 

I may not be able to paint stars on my ceiling, but I can see the real stars outside of the cities. There's just no duplicating that. Even with glow-in-the-dark paint.