24 January 2009


My Boss wanted to give me a to-do list yesterday while I was sitting at the front desk. And, of course, the only thing I could find to write on was a 1 1/2" by 2" Post-It note pad.

He started to tell me what he wanted and then looked down and said, "I want you to know that that is a completely inadequate platoon leader's notebook."

"Oh, I know," I replied, "it's like a fountain pen-and-pocketknife tracheotomy kit."

I think, or maybe just hope, that it's quick similes-in-kind that help keep me employed here.

22 January 2009

Sorry, wrong "number"

It was like a misdial for our modern times. I got a request from my e-mail service that someone named D-- wanted to be able to chat with me. I didn't recognize the name but couldn't be sure that I didn't know the person, so I let it hang for a couple of days.

I ran the e-mail address through Google and got a link to a real live person who seemed harmless enough, so I okayed it. I am just well known enough in theater that more people know me than I know, but most of them don't live in Texas, but what the heck. If D-- turned out to be evil, I could just block her.

So all is quiet for a day or two and then I get an IM from D-- asking me to e-mail her: e-mail me at [e-mail address] bye!

I ignored it because I still wasn't sure I even knew D--. And then I'm starting to think that D-- is some kind of spammer or other internet villain. Then this I get this IM. I keep my answers short because I still had no clue is this was someone I knew (and therefore didn't wish to offend) and because I was hoping some kind of penny would drop.

11:40 AM D--: hey
11:41 AM me: Hi.
D--: how r u?
me: Fine - you?
D--: great ...... new grandson born yesterday all are doing good
me: Congratulations!
D--: Carl jr's first child
11:42 AM H-- M-- H--
6 ;b 9 oz 18.5
i didn't get an e-mail from you
me: No, we were closed the last week of the year and I'm still digging out.
11:43 AM D--: i'm at a workshop so i may need to exit at any time ....
just didn't know if it had bounced
me: Ahhh.

Then she's gone for a little bit. Okay, it's someone old enough to be a grandparent, (but of course, as I like to point out, if my neice Cheryl had done what her mother did, Sara would have been a grandmother at 32). She sent a picture of the very cute baby, but it's a close up of only the child, who looks like.... well, like prett' near every baby I've ever met. And very cute. So no clues there.

12:09 PM D--: kearly lunch break love you talk to you soon
12:11 PM me: Later!
12:12 PM A*dor*able!
(The baby, of course, not lunch.)

Longer break this time. Without context I probably have no chance whatsoever of figuring who she is. But she seems very nice.

1:41 PM D--: ok we're back ... hope all is well for you ... hope your day is great
1:45 PM me: And to you. :-)
1:47 PM D--: are you at work?
1:48 PM me: Yep.
1:50 PM D--: i didn't know you could be online at work you still work at the hospital?
1:51 PM me: No, I've been working for an engineering firm for nearly ten years. Hospital?
D--: ok this must be a different leta hall than the one in paris tx?
1:52 PM me: Oh my. Ohhh-kay. I feel better now. Yes, I am a different Leta.
1:53 PM I thought I was just totally failing to remember someone.
D--: that is unbelievable! and quite interesting ... not an everyday name!
have a great day and one day we'll talk again!
me: No! I didn't meet another Leta until I was an adult and never another Leta Hall.
When next you talk to her, please send my regards! :-)

D-- found me because "her" Leta and I have (not surprisingly) very similar e-mail addresses. She and I have talked once or twice since then and I think that her friend is on Facebook because the search features shows a Leta Hall in Texas. I may have to friend her...

As it turns out the Texas Leta was, according to D--, also named for her grandmother Oleta and also has the middle initial M. As interesting as I think it would be to meet her, I'm beginning to suspect that we shouldn't, lest that whole matter/anti-matter thing kick in.

And oddly enough, this past summer I got a LinkedIn request from someone who I would have thought would have been the last person ever to join a site whose purpose is to connect people. I was surprised to say the least, but I accepted the request figuring why not? Turns out that it is a completely different person with my friend's name whom I have never met. Perhaps he also thought I live in Texas...

20 January 2009

Inauguration Day 2009

Simple Gifts by Elder Joseph Brackett

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

(Kathy Sobansky of Clam Chowder wrote second verse of:)

Tis a gift to be simple,'Tis a gift to be free,
For the proud are cast down deeper than the sea,
The first shall be last and the last shall be first,
And the meek at last shall receive the earth.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

15 January 2009

25 Things

Andy posted a meme on Facebook that he got from Michael wherein one lists 25 facts about oneself. It was actually a pretty interesting exercise, although I'm still not sure that there are 25 interesting facts about me. Anyway, here they are:

1. I was born in Monterey, California and my sister was born in Annapolis, Maryland. And that's about as close as we ever got.

2. Everyone I tagged is someone that I have known for more than 20 years. (At least one of whom ignores being tagged.)

3. Prett' near everyone in the US with the last name Reichenbach is related to me.

4. I hate most pictures taken of me, but not as much as I used to.

5. I didn't become a nervous flier until I was 25. I used to love to fly.

6. Even though I hate to fly, if that's how to get somewhere, I get on the plane.

7. A friend once told me that narcissists start most sentences with the word "I." I've been very concious of how often I do that ever since.

8. The name of the person I would call for help in the middle of the night because I know with absolute certainty that he would help me and would yell at me if I didn't call him hasn't changed in 25 years.

9. I don't care what personal questions people ask me so long as I can stipulate that I might not answer or might answer with something that merely sounds plausible rather than actually being true.

10. I very rarely get sick, even when everyone else is getting sick. That's because I drink roughly 50 nice, hot cups of tea every day. Sometimes more.

11. I am constantly amazed by the awesome, generous, kind, and intelligent, people who are willing to be friends with me. I am far luckier than I deserve, always.

12. E-mails and texts are fun. Phone calls are work.

13. I hate heights. A lot.

14. I like all my parents.

15. Crappy with money, am I. (Trying not to start sentence with "I". Sounding like Yoda.)

16. Not really sure that there are 25 *interesting* things about me. We may soon descend into 25 really dull things about me out of my stockpile of millions.

17. I don't have any kind of life plan. I usually just stumble into the next job, home, or hobby, like it a lot and stay.

18. I've work for the same company for nearly ten years. It's still fun.

19. I went from wanting four children to not wanting any. Still think that's the right decision for me.

20. My friends' children are just as awesome as their parents, making me even luckier as I get to know them, too.

21. My grandparents were Lutheran, Catholic, and Baptist. I was raised Episcopalian and didn't know that we had been anything else until late in my teenage years.

22. My great-uncle was a communist and edited the weekend edition of The Daily Worker for eleven years. I never got to meet him and didn't know he existed until I was in college. He wasn't estranged from the family, but he did sever all ties when my Dad was a child to protect the family from negative reactions to his political opinions. They were re-united after my father retired from the military.
Robert Hall bio.

23. Frustrated as I am by clutter, I have a lot of it.

24. I would totally understand if someone unfriended me to get a free Whopper. We do what we have to for free food!

25. Got all the the way through this list without including any factlets about my current major hobby/obsession. :-)

08 January 2009

Be it resolved

I don't make many New Year's resolutions, but this year I did come up with two that I think I can live with*:

1. If the temperature is above 40 degrees as I am getting dressed and I don't have to be somewhere immediately after, I will walk to work.

Progress report: So far, so good. Or so far, not so good. The only day the temp was above 40 so far this work year, was the day that I had to return the laptop to the office, so I drove.** All other days were cold or cold & rainy.

I will probably have to walk on Inauguration Day not matter how cold it might be as all the bridges from Virginia to DC will be closed and I live on a major Maryland to downtown DC route, so getting out of the parking lot for my building could possibly take all day.

2. I will cook at least one thing from one of my cookbooks each month. My friend Stephanie, who lives in Michigan, made the same resolution so we going to cook together long distance. Whenever one of us tries a new recipe, we'll e-mail the other and say what cookbook it came from and what we thought of it. David thought it sounded like a cool idea and would also like to play.

What prompted this resolution for me is that when Mom did the apartment to Very Assisted Living downsize, I got many of her cookbooks. So I have lots of cookbooks in kitchen and if they are going to take up that much real estate - they completely fill the roughly two-foot wide, four shelf baker's rack - they should get used.

I'm utterly dying to use a cookbook of my own that I've had for years, The Norman Table, largely because it's pretty and prett' near every recipe calls for Calvados. Just for fun, though, I decided to start with the top shelf and work from left to right. And as I shelf my cookbooks by height, I am basically going from shortest to tallest.

The other "rules" for this game***:

1. The recipe should be one I've never made before. No fair using the recipe for Cinnamon Toast from my Winnie-the-Pooh cookbook. Turn to a different page, girl! Show some initiative!

2. The first time I make the recipe, I will prepare it as written. Henceforth, I can use the text as a series of suggestions. Except for flour substitutions, of course.

3. Mom always put the date under a recipe if she was making it for the first time and it's nice to see that in her old cookbooks. I think I'll give preference to recipies with dates in her handwriting. And I'll add my dates.

First up is the James Beard Cookbook, which has dates in Mom's handwriting and my teenage handwriting.

*If I really need a third, I could add something easy and fun like "spend more time watching tv with a cat on my lap." The cat would definitely vote for that.

**Carrying a laptop that one does not own for a mile is: a) heavy, and b) asking for a trip-and-fall.

***Which only apply to me. I'm not goat-roping Stephanie or David.

05 January 2009

Take that, Professor Derrida!

More seriously injured was the chairman of the horticulture department, who remains unconscious and is listed in fair condition. The circumstances of this faculty member's injury are clouded, but he is reputed to be the leader of the group that called the rally, "Stop the Destruction."

In a related story, Governor Orville T. Early this afternoon announced a ban on political organizations at the campuses of the state university system. "The people of this state don't like these deconstructionists," said Governor Early. When informed that no English professors had taken part in the violence, the governor said, "So what? They're all closet deconstructionists out there. We're going to get rid of them one and all."

Moo by Jane Smiley