The Lonely Hat  
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Illinois Beach State Park
Zion, IL
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It was better when I was still dreaming.

03:11 on November 7, 2002 image
Not so bad

I am eating home made devil's chocolate ice cream for diner tonight.

Sometimes, being a grownup isn't so bad after all!

06:10 on October 20, 2002 image
Close Encounters

The sun shone last night, and it sang to me.

09:10 on October 15, 2002 image
Dead Tired

Listening to Mazzy Star....thinking of you...

02:10 on October 14, 2002 image
Saturday Road Trip

We went to the Mt. Horeb Mustard Museum yesterday. Yes, I know, I am really a total dork. But I love mustard, and they have thousands of kinds, all of which you can taste!!! And there was no shortage of tasting, let me assure you.

I spent a shameful amount of money on a multitude of tasty mustards. And I'm not proud of this fact, but that isn't going to stop me from enjoying them.

In addition to housing the Mustard Museum, Mt. Horeb is the Troll capital of the world. We came in on the Trollway. No that's really not a typo. What are the odds of that, trolls and mustard in one tiny town.

A little something you probably didn't know. Trolls terrify me.

03:09 on September 1, 2002 image

The Scooter and I are inseparable. It's true.

07:07 on July 14, 2002 image
Cutest Ever

I am enjoying the soft glow of my brand new iBook, Scooter.

Now I must dig around in his guts and find out what makes him go.

10:07 on July 13, 2002 image
Breakfast And A Toe In The Sand

I am so excited. I have a whole day off from work. A WHOLE day! To do whatever I want!

I am going to have a tasty breakfast at Pauline's Cafe, which will consist of pancakes and fried potatoes. Then I am going to the lake to splash around in the water!

I am so happy! A day, a whole day!

10:07 on July 4, 2002 image

Wow, I guess people in this neighborhood don't fool around when it comes to the 4th. I swear they are tossing grenades out there. The explosions are setting off car alarms, and shaking the monitors on my desk.

I fear loosing a limb.

09:07 on July 4, 2002 image

I got a paycheck today!
But only 1 weeks pay out of the many I'm owed.

But still, a paycheck! What joy!

11:07 on July 1, 2002 image
This is SO Wrong

I worked 37 hours between Friday morning and Saturday night. Not to mention the 16+ hours I will be putting in today. Fifty-three hours in 3 days.

That's more than most people work in a week.

To add insult to injury, they haven't paid us in weeks and the lab feels like a blast furnace. I can't believe we don't have heat or A/C after 6 pm week nights or at all on the weekends.

I think my shoes are melting.

02:06 on June 23, 2002 image
After Mashing The Keyboard For An Hour

I finally figured out the right command to backup my sql database. I set up a cron job to run it every hour. And it actually works! Fancy-Go!

I had been using a script that I found, but never worked right. After a year of inconsistent backups, I decided to just figure out a way to do it myself. And to my surprise, I actually did!

I must spend more time using Unix/Linux. I really must!

10:06 on June 16, 2002 image
Flappy Wall Pigeon

The pigeon is in between the kitchen and outside wall again. He's making quite a ruckus. I wonder why he likes it in there so much?

His toes are making this scritchy scratchy noise that makes my teeth hurt.

03:06 on June 16, 2002 image

I spent the evening throwing together this little flash thing and a new template for the site....hmm, still needs some work. But for now it will do. I have to sleep, getting up for work tomorrow is going to be tough! Especially since we still haven't been paid.

01:06 on June 16, 2002 image
There's Something Wrong With The Sky

What is the white, hot orb I see among the clouds? Oh, it's just the sun. I had forgoten what it looked like.

I'm home from work before dark today. What a treat! Sunshine! Mine all mine!

07:06 on June 15, 2002 image

Someone's been sleeping in my bed! And there he is!


Oh, silly me! That's not The Daniel! It's just his sock monkey, but I am sure you can understand the confusion....remote control, space helmet, sleepy eye....

07:06 on June 15, 2002 image
The Birdie Came Back

Looks like the funds that were supposed to be here last week to make payroll (which was already a week late), won't be arriving until next week. If ever.

That means there will be no paychecks again this Friday. I have worked the last four weeks for free. And no one can tell me if I am going to get paid or not. How am I supposed to eat or pay my bills without a pay check?

Is this even legal? How can they do this and expect us to continue to come to work?

I have been looking for another job, but there is nothing out there right now. At least nothing that pays above $8-10 an hour. I can't live in Chicago on that. Not when an apartment in a filthy, drug and gang riddled neighborhood goes for a grand a month.

I feel like I just want to walk out and never come back.

01:06 on June 11, 2002 image
Still waiting for my $$

I have had it with this place. I WANT MY PAYCHECK! NOW!

01:06 on June 5, 2002 image
Deranged Lunatic and a Jelly Donut

Sometimes things actually go right at work. And when you least expect it too!

My day started off rather yucky. I had a terrible commute in this morning. Some deranged fool broke into the train yard and was running around, well, like a deranged fool. The CTA had to cut off the power, so he wouldn't fall on the tracks and cook himself. So I sat on the train waiting for practically an eternity before the power was restored and we could leave.

During this time, my belly reminded me of my lack of eating anything but a bowl of pasta salad in the past two days. I was really hungry!

I decided to stop in the Merchandise Mart and grab breakfast, since I get off the train there anyway. That way I wouldn't be much later than I already was. But I forgot, it's Saturday, the food court isn't open.

And my belly was still making a terrible ruckus! Definitely causing the trouble! I walked into the office, contemplating my options, all of which seemed lousy and time consuming.

But Hark, what on yonder desk do I see?

Oh god! Yes! Left over pastries from the Board Meeting yesterday. Stale, hard, fatty little creatures! I nearly tripped running to grab one and cram it in my face.

I feel much better now.

09:06 on June 1, 2002 image
Working For Free, Revisted

Well, we had another one of those 3:30 Staff Meetings. And that can only mean one thing.

They don't have money to pay us today.

Why do they always wait until the last second to tell us? They had to have known this was coming for a while now.

I am so tired of this place. No pay, no vacation, no life.

16:02 on May 31, 2002 image
They Promised

WOO HOO!!! Only 3 more hours before I can get on the "L" and make the 75 minute commute home from work!

Oh my friend, the sleep I will have to make up for the lack last night!

I am still working slave hours, even after they promised I would only be working 50 or 60 hours a week from now on, instead of the usual 80 to 100. But, they finally paid us! So I guess that is good.


I like toast. With pomegranate jelly. I wish I had some.

02:05 on May 7, 2002 image
Bad Computer

I am going to poke my eyes out! I can't work like this!

My computer is being SO BAD!!!

Every time I powered up the Go-Bot last week, some crucial system file had disappeared. How does that even happen? I ended up spending the better part of my day off formatting my hard drive thinking that would show 'em.

Oh, but how I under-estimated the crapitude that is Windows. I am happy to announce that my files are still disappearing!

I've made a new boot.ini file at least 8 times tonight, and upon reboot (after a serious stop error)'s gone again!

But this is the lesser of two evils.

My biggest problem is that every 2 minutes (or right about now) out comes the blue screen of death. Some infuriating stop error that shuts down my computer to avoid damage.

This appears to be due to naughty ram. I ordered PC133, but received PC100. Since I was on slave hours at work...bleary eyes, no sleep, all that good stuff...I didn't notice it wasn't what I ordered. I just crammed it into the Go-Bot and forgot all about it.

Tomorrow I am going to find out that since I placed my order 4 months ago, I am not entitled to a return, exchange or refund. Basically sticking me with 768MB of unusable memory and no way to replace it!

This renders my computer useless. And none of the others we have are capable of doing the work I need to get done.

And yes, I had to reboot 4 times just to finish this little rant!

11:04 on April 30, 2002 image
Saigyo Haiku

Rising early, I shall gather
dewdrops for my ink-stone
that I too may join
those who appreciate the beautiful

trans. Burton Watson

12:04 on April 27, 2002 image
Ascii Art Rocks

I can't believe I found this!

01:04 on April 21, 2002 image

Looks like that little birdie I talked to yesterday was a Mockingbird.

06:04 on April 19, 2002 image
A Little Birdie Told Me

A little birdie told me that we might be getting paid tomorrow!

10:04 on April 18, 2002 image
Toys For Geeks

Techno-Geeky TOYS!

04:04 on April 9, 2002 image
No Payday, Again


They can't afford to pay us again this week! Two weeks ago, they told us we would have to wait a few days for our checks, but that it wouldn't happen again. LIES! I haven't been paid since March 1st. How am I supposed to pay rent and buy food. I spent my last $4 on lunch today, thinking I was getting paid.


04:03 on March 29, 2002 image
Outraged Punching Machine

It's taking all of my willpower to not punch someone in their mouth today.

Furious doesn't even begin to explain how I feel.

If I hear:

"Well, you just need to work faster!" (This coming from people who spend the day doing nothing.)


"Why are you always so tired?" (Gee? I don't know, maybe because I work 90 hour weeks and sleep less than 4 hours a night?)


"You need to realize (insert nonsense here), and not (insert more crap here) so that you (insert unrealistic goal here)!"

EVER AGAIN! I am going to burn this place down!

I mean it.

07:03 on March 28, 2002 image
All Work. No Play

I'm so tired of this job and the terrible hours. Yesterday was my birthday and all I wanted was to get home at a decent hour and cozy up with the Daniel. Instead I worked 19.5 hours and got home early this morning.

And I am still at work even though everyone else went home 4 hours ago. Not that it should be a surprise anymore. I should just accept it and quit expecting to work a mere 40 hours a week.

I am so exhausted. Like the kind of exhausted that makes me furious and sore and completely unlikable. I miss my life so terribly. I don't even feel like a person anymore. I have lost myself completely.

I miss cooking dinners. And eating them. I miss sitting and doing nothing but listening to a good song. I miss being cozy and eating a sushi snack around 11 PM. I miss hearing the keys clacking on Daniel's keyboard as he sends email to his friends.

Most of all I miss dreaming. Those lucid, clear, beautiful dreams that you never want to wake up from. The ones that seem so real that you wonder if perhaps the life you thought was the waking one is really the dream.

All I dream about now is work. I dream I have to work at home through the night, that I have coplin jars full of slides on my nightstand and I have to keep waking up to check if the coverslips have fallen off. I dream I have to scan slides all night and can't sleep because the microscope's autofocus is broke and I have to adjust it manually every 3 seconds.

Horrible, miserable, stressful dreams. And I am too utterly exhausted to fight them off.

Someday I'm going to find a million dollars sitting unloved in the street or peeking out from under a bush somewhere. Then I'm going to quit this job and spend my time illustrating and cooking and just being happy.

09:03 on March 21, 2002 image
I Found Nibs

Chocolate! I love it. I just had a Scharffen Berger Nibby Bar. Lucky best chocolate flavor. There is also much love for Dagoba Xocolatl and Chocolove Ginger Crystallized in Dark Chocolate.

Having time to waste while I wait for a cd with todays experiment result to burn (yes, I am at work as usual), I decided to see if Scharffen Berger had any new offerings. And this is what I found! A whole bucket of nibs! I can hardly contain myself.

07:03 on March 9, 2002 image
Happiness in Small Things

Do you remember the night we went to the Reserve? The air was crisp, filled with the damp smell of earth and green. We followed the path, our boots sending solid thumps through the wooden walkway. We stopped to rest on a bench at the edge of the pond. You held my hand as we looked up at the stars, both of us hoping to see a ufo. We watched in silence, until we were shivering with cold.

We hurried back to your apartment and made tea. We sat close together, our hands wrapped around the steaming mugs to thaw our fingers, as you told stories about wonderful, secret, mysterious things. We laughed about how late we were going to have to stay up to finish studying. And we laughed even harder thinking about how tired we would be come morning.

How fortunate we were back then. We had everything, everything in nothing. Everything that mattered.

04:03 on March 9, 2002 image
Long Days, NO Pay

Still at work, 15 hours so far today...but I will be here a few more before I can go home. Have to come back in tomorrow and Sunday too. Too much work for one person to finish.

Work smells. 18 hour days smell even worse.

I also smell. Our apartment had no water this morning, meaning no shower. I should be used to this by now, we have no water at least one day a week.

I am surly. I am tired and sore. Plus, I am starving, no time to eat today. Maybe tomorrow...

I just want a bath, my bed and 8 full hours of sleep. That's not asking too much is it?

Salary = Slavery

11:03 on March 1, 2002 image

Every day I work at this job, I become increasingly less intelligent, less interesting and certainly less happy.

Did you know that the last time I was able to draw, paint or otherwise express myself in an artistic or creative manner was November 11, 2001?

I find this significant because I was hired on November 12, and started work on the 13th. Good thing I'm not superstitious.

I need my life back. I am an illustrator. I need to make pictures. I must. I am suffocating in this lab, day after day, night after night.

There is no room to advance here, we are but 2. And mostly it's just me here, since Jennifer is always playing sick, getting her hair done, and going to the dentist to have her teeth whitened. Of course all that really means is she's too hung over or too lazy to come in to work. There is no place for me to go beyond this position. At least not here.

It's depressing really. To know that no matter how hard you try, how many long nights you stay, how many meals you miss, no matter what you do.... you will never be anything but a lowly lab tech. A lab tech on a pitiful salary. Which means they own me, 14 - 18 hours a day, and I don't even get overtime. Actually, I don't even make minimum wage if you consider the hours I work and what I get paid.

Why doesn't someone hire me to make beautiful drawings, so I can leave this place and find happiness again?

06:02 on February 27, 2002 image
It Has a Tiny Keyboard

OOOHH!!! I must have this!


01:02 on February 10, 2002 image
I Saw the Ocean

I am beginning to forget what home is like, I've been traveling for so long. Orlando was pretty boring, but I did get to see the ocean. Even if it was at 10:00 at night. The air was a lot colder than I thought it would be, so I didn't venture to stick my toes in the water. High tide was coming in and the waves were crashing in, it was really wonderful!

05:02 on February 3, 2002 image
Unexpected Travels

I don't even know where to begin, so much has happened the last 2 weeks. Maybe I should just start at the beginning, or at least the beginning as well as I remember it.

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 9:00 am

One of the VP's enters the office. He gets right to the point, "We need to you go to Paris on Sunday."

Like an idiot, I mutter, "But I don't have a passport." Yeah, brilliant!

He instructs me to find a way to get one, immediately!

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 10:00 am

I located a passport expediting service in Chicago, guaranteed in 72 hours, even on Saturdays. This is good. There is a chance I can do this. Trouble is, I don't have a certified copy of my birth certificate. I begin to make phone calls.

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 10:30 am

I talk to Joyce at the Registrar of Deeds. I have to pick up the certificate in person. It can not be FedEx overnighted, nor can it be sent any other way. I tell her I have to talk to Peter, to ask permission to leave work immediately. It takes 6 hours to drive there, and the Registrar closes at 4:30 pm. Fortunately, Joyce arranged to leave it with the Sheriff if I didn't make it in time.

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 10:45 am

I explain the situation to the CEO. He replies, "We don't have time for that!" I think to myself, "I'm not going. I had a chance to see Paris and now I'm not going!"

Then he says, "Let me make a call, I will get back to you."

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 11:00 am

Our CEO enters the lab, holding a sheet of paper. "I have you on a chartered plane to Menominee, Michigan out of Meig's Field."

I am in shock. Partly because I have never flown, but mostly because he was able to arrange this on such short notice.

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 11:15 am

I call Joyce and let her know I will be there at 2:30. "I'm flying to Menominee and a taxi will be waiting to take me to Marinette." All she says is, "What kind of company do you work for?"

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 1:00 pm

The plane, it's a tiny little thing. Six seats, including the pilot and co-pilot. I was expecting something larger, and I was certainly expecting other passengers. I hadn't realized that this flight was for me alone. I have a million butterflies, and not just in my belly.

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 1:15 pm

...So beautiful, the clouds, the sky....I have never seen anything so perfect. I notice my cheeks are wet, but I dare not take my eyes away from the sky, for fear it may not be there when I look up. The plane skims over the clouds, so many colors, so rich, so soft. I am melting, falling weightless, floating, more tears, so many more. I never knew anything could be.....

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 2:30 pm

I am running out to the cab. A few minutes later I'm at the Registrar. I open the door and everyone is looking at me. I step up to the counter and ask for Joyce. Everyone is still looking at me. I'm getting uncomfortable.

"Here it is, I was just making it up for you. We heard your plane come in," Joyce informs me. "We all wanted to meet the girl from Chicago!"

My cheeks are awful hot right about now! I forgot how tiny Marinette is, and that a plane landing, or even going overhead, is not a common thing. I guess I created quite a commotion.

Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 5:30 pm

The flight home was just as emotional. The sun was setting as we neared Chicago, painting the sky with every color... I have never felt such colors, not even in my dreams. We flew between two layers of clouds, the sunlight rippled in, a molten gold disk, sitting at the end of a sea of color. I have never seen such a sunset. Not in all my days.

Friday, January 11, 2002

The CEO has to make some calls to get my passport in 3 hours. It turns out that the expediting service wouldn't get it to me until Tuesday. So I go to the Federal Building and a man walks my passport though.

I pick it up two hours later.

I am going to Paris. I am so totally going!

Sunday, January 13, 2002

I am here! I flew over the big water! Paris! Oh, I love it! The buildings are so beautiful. The food is so fresh, the coffee, the cheese, the bread.....oh, I am going to die of flavor....

- to be continued -

04:01 on January 26, 2002 image
What Did I Do

Ugh! It's one of those days where everything is just going bad. It's getting to the point where I find myself laughing. And I don't even know why. Maybe it's a self defense mechanism, so I don't go running madly down the street screaming and frothing at the mouth.

First thing this morning some kid hurls on the train. NASTY! So I was late getting to work.

I put on my lab coat and gloves, then I open the fridge to get out my specimen. Next thing I know, a bunch of cardboard slide folders come crashing out. Slides are everywhere. Broken glass too. Turns out some genius pulled one of the boxes these were sitting on out from underneath. So they were just tottering there, waiting for me.

Next, I go to resupply the 1000uL pipette tips, and find that someone took the entire bag without telling me, so I have none. I had to use 200uL tips to dispense, 5 times to make the 1000uL. People kept coming in and asking me stuff, causing me to loose count. I kept having to toss out the ruined slide, label a new one, and prepare it for the specimen. Then someone else would come in and I'd have to start over again.


While the specimen was spinning onto the slides, I went to clear off the hard drive so I can scan. And of course, the burner is only spitting out coasters. And the network is flaked out, so I can't transfer.

And it's only noon! I can't wait to see how this day ends.

12:01 on January 9, 2002 image
Heat Wave

It doesn't really feel like January. I didn't even need a hat or gloves today. I find this odd. And I really can't believe that we haven't had any snow yet. Ok, there have been a few flakes here and there, but nothing that stuck.

I keep thinking back to when I was a kid. It snowed like mad! For a good 3-4 months out of the year. Even if that memory is distorted, I know it snowed a lot when I was in high school and my early college years to some extent.

I know I am not imagining the bitter cold -70 degree days where your eyes felt like they might shatter if you blinked too hard. Or the mounds of snow that impeded my timely arrival to class. Or the icy roads and sudden, unexpected blizzards that seemed to come from no where at all.

If I hear one more person talk about how lovely the weather has been I am going to freak out. Big time. Did it ever occur to anyone that this is not normal? And it implies that something is terribly wrong.

Of course not.

They're all too busy laughing at the people down in the south who are getting the all the snow. Snow that should have fallen here. And it's not just the U.S., Russia is experiencing horrible blizzards, and it snowed in Damascus for the first time in 10 years.

Snow days. I don't think we will be having any of those this year. And that's really too bad, because who doesn't love staying home, cozy, drinking hot chocolate and doing all those things you never have time to do otherwise.

12:01 on January 8, 2002 image
Doing the Unthinkable

I finally broke down and got a cell phone. I swore I would never own one. NEVER, EVER!

But here it is.

I intended it to be used solely for emergencies, like if some scary creep-o was bothering me on the train and I was alone, or if the car broke down. You know, emergencies only.

Instead, I find myself geeking out with it. And what's even more alarming is that I can't stop. It's not like I don't have a nice speedy connection on my PC to play with. Why on earth would I want to view the web in plain text again is beyond me.

Yet I do.

I think I have read every headline, looked up movie reviews for movies I don't even want to see, and read the horoscopes for all 12 months.

If it wasn't for the fact that I wore out the battery playing with the phone all day, I would probably still be sitting there, eyes glazed, unblinking, starring at that fat, 10 line, indiglow screen.


And with that said, I must now try to sleep before the beast recharges and I end up glued to it once again

12:01 on January 7, 2002 image