Friday, March 28, 2008


Cow is having some radishes for lunch. Trying, anyway.

Not really sure why she bought them but since they were there they became part of the lunch bag.

They're nasty. About the only good thing you can say about them is they're crunchy. And brightly colored. Why does anyone eat these things?

Maybe the trick is to put so much dressing on them you don't taste them.


Thursday, March 27, 2008


So Cow has a job offer in a place that is only accessible by boat and by air. She's not sure yet if she will take it because trying to moooove the animals up there is waaaaay complicated.

You can drive for about a week to get to the harbor, and then take them on the boat. It would take about 10 days. Plus you have to find pet-friendly hotels every night to stay in. Many pet-friendly hotels restrict you to one small animal. Cow has Four Felines.

You can fly with them in the airplane. But you are only allowed one in the cabin with you per flight. That would mean four flights.

You can fly and check the pets as baggage. But if it's too hot here (over 85 degrees) or too cold there (45 or under) they won't be allowed on. And only two per passenger anyway are allowed.

Cow has made a little spreadsheet trying to figure this out.

Four trips with the pet as carry-on in the cabin (round-trips). Ugh.

Or, two round-trips with one carry-on pet each, with a friend strong-armed to come (Bunny, are you there?)

Or, one trip with friend coming, so each can check two pets as baggage (limit two each). But too hot here, can't go. Too cold there, can't go.

Or, drive for about a week and then fly the rest of the way with the pets as checked baggage and a friend along to be able to take four.

Cow's head hurts. Good thing the neighbors are taking the raccoons!


Everything is blooming!

Spring really makes Cow have second thoughts about mooving..
Everything is blooming, the new floors are in the back bedrooms, and it all looks so pretty.

The trail running through the yard and the backyard are the raccoon trails from the woods behind my house up to where I feed them. Cute, huh?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Cow is cramming for the second interview coming up in two weeks, so posting will be spotty.


Cow promises some spring pictures soon. See, there IS a silver lining!


Monday, March 24, 2008


Cow saw the blue heron, and the white heron this morning. And stuff is blooming all over the garden. And trees that looked dead now have little leaves coming out.

Where oh where is Cow's pretty picture for the blog for all this springtime magnificence? Why, waiting for Cow to get batteries for the camera, of course.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Comfort versus Change

Cow is very comfortable where she is. A comfy chair, a comfy routine, a job like a comfy pair of house slippers: not going anywhere, but not pinching either.

That's the dilemma. Stay in these meadows, or decamp to others, perhaps more rewarding, but new. Unknown. Full of unseen perils or, possibly, great rewards.

Cow used to change jobs the way others changed aforesaid footwear. Has laziness crept in? Because now Cow mostly thinks about how much work it is learning a new job, a new bunch of co-workers, a new neighborhood.

Could, in fact, everything in the New Place be tickety-boo? Or could it be Dunderchunderville?


Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Different World

Cow has another interview coming up...and a chat with a company about their benefit package left her jaw on the floor.

Cow expressed some misgivings about selling her house....not to worry, this company buys the house from you after averaging together two appraisals. Then they pay you a percentage of the selling price as a bonus, pay your moving expenses including packing, pay all closing fees and realtor commissions on your new then they pay you to work there.

Cow may not get this job, it is stepping outside her little area a trifle. But hearing these benefits made her think she should have checked far pastures sooner for their greenliness.

And, to update Cow's faithful readers: Cow turned down one job, was turned down for one, is still pending on two and as for the non-English-as-a-native-language folks who attempted to get her transferred to their team: they were shot down ignominiously.

That's life in the Land of Topiary. Moo!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ugh...need more sleep.....

Rumble rumble rumble.


Rumble rumble rumble.

Yes, it's 4 am and a storm is nearly here. Blearily turning on the tv, Cow sees wide-awake, neatly dressed weathermen standing in front of the radar map, hears "tornadic circulation" or something, pulls on her boots, grabs a cat and goes out to the shelter.

Cow is really, really grateful for these weathermen. Do they stay up all night when a storm is coming, do they sleep in the station, or are they just masters of getting dressed and awake really, really quickly? Cow is always really reassured to see them, with their pointers, and maps, and the new Tornado Rating system of 1-10. Their nice voices telling you what to do, giving you wind speed and probable path.

What would we do without weathermen?

Monday, March 17, 2008


After just complaining the raccoons are more tame than the feral cat, last night instead of running off after eating dinner the feral cat came up to within a foot of Cow and sat down.


So, after two years, kitty has decided Cow can be trusted.



Visited a friend's church to see their production of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (condensed into two hours).

The play was presented with energy, verve, style and southern accents.

Cow, being a denizen of far lands, may have been the only one in the audience to think THEY had accents. Usually people here think COW is the one with an accent.

Cow has to admit that the Pastor's son who had the starring role was so handsome Cow is seriously considering joining that church. And she put an offering she could not really afford into the basket.


Friday, March 14, 2008


This book was an interesting find as Cow contemplates changing jobs. Although it's intended for employers to help them keep valued employees from leaving by heeding "warning signs" they have disengaged from the workplace, it is also helpful to Cow.

Because by discussing the most common reasons for leaving a job, it helps create a framework for making the decision. Which is extremely useful for those such as Cow who can't ever decide what to do. Go? Stay? Move for a new job? Stay in town but at a different job? Just stay at the same job? Decisions, decisions, all so world-changing to Cow's little universe, and no "right" choice.

The book discusses the cost to organizations of hiring the wrong people for the wrong reasons such as favoritism or nepotism. Not only does it take time and effort to get rid of them, but even when you do get rid of them, you are left with all the people they hired, who also aren't probably right for the job.

The other book Cow is reading is "The Wisdom of Crowds" which is similar to "The Tipping Point" in that it compiles research on a topic and then presents it for a general audience.

So far Cow has learned if there's a crowd, to get out of the way.


The Art of Topiary

This blog seems to have veered very far away from the overriding theme of Topiary World Domination.

So, to refresh everyone's memory, this "Before" pathway is an example of why the World is crying out for dedicated Topiary trimmers, wielding sharp shears.

Just as Michaelangelo trimmed away the excess marble to reveal the form within, so do the legionnaires of the Guild of Topiary Trimmers allow the creature to hop out.

"After" on right.

Have a great day, everyone!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Un-neutered males

Cow means no disrespect to Doghouse, Lord Musgrove and His Supreme Highness Gorilla Bananas, much less to a certain author finding Hope and Whimsy.


By restricting the custom of neutering to dogs, cats, horses, etc., we are essentially crafting a world based on the view of un-neutered males.

A world where doing stuff is used to impress females (huge bridges, buildings, skyscrapers, unneeded dam projects) . A world where the males are always showing up bloodied and injured from fighting over territory. Where males have a short life-span because of their mate-attracting actions. A world with uncontrolled overpopulation.

Were human males neutered upon attaining adolescence, or after freezing some sperm so more children could be put upon a world already groaning from too many people (ooops, Cow's view).

Instead of a world where things are constantly torn down to build more roads, more buildings, bigger ships, faster planes, so men can impress women by doing stuff, driving stuff, flying stuff, building stuff...we might have a prettier world, a nicer world, a less-violent world, and a world a little less teeming with the most rapacious species and more friendly to other living denizens of the earth.

Okay, this world would be less fun for the women. Cow admits it. And less fun for the men. Okay. Okay.

Cow now returns you to your normal Topiary blog.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


So Cow has been feeding the feral cat for several years now. Finally got him coming in the garage, out of the rain and cold. But despite the heating pad Cow set up for him, he runs away as soon as he's eaten dinner. Despite the silly here-kitty noises Cow makes.

Raccoons, now. Cow puts food out on the driveway for them but if she's late they come scratch at the door and wait for her. She has, on occasion, nudged them with her foot to get them outside the garage to the food. They have no fear whatsoever and would happily come into the house, or live in the garage, were she to let them.

There's one elderly raccoon who's a little slower to move, who is always first there for the food. Used to wait till dark to come out. Now he's waiting in the driveway when she gets home from work.

And no, there is no rabies in raccoons here, Cow checked with the folks in the lab. This is monitored carefully, usually, by trapping raccoons, cutting off their heads and sending them to said lab for analysis.

But point is, how come with years of genetic imprinting and breeding of cats to be pets, raccoons are quicker to become tame? Just seems strange.



The interview went well, because these folks really want me, apparently.

Unfortunately, most of the "interview" questions were about the process of transferring me and my position funding to their department. They seemed flummoxed by the process.

The good: this job, being a transfer, wouldn't require crating up my cats.
The good: since they are English-as-second-language folks, I could be very valuable just correcting their grammar even if I never did anything else for them.
The bad: lack of the killer instinct required to pry an employee and their funding from one department to their own.

I wanted to recommend the words "I'll rip your throat out unless you let Cow come work for us" as being effective, but was afraid to frighten then.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The question again?

Oooh. Have another interview this afternoon. Last minute scheduling.

Leaves me time only to try to think of answers to the questions I blew last time.

What is your 10 year goal?
A: A position of increasing responsibility allowing project development of greater complexity.

Is that better?

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and best wishes. Hope I do better on this one.



Topiary was doing a teensy bit of research. About moving with pets.

Airlines restrict the total number of pets allowed in the cabin on a flight. Even if you buy them all seats. Even if you buy them First Class Seats all for themselves.

So, if you show up with an animal, but somebody before you in line had animals for that flight, they won't let you on.

Now, to this humble Topiary's mind, animals in carriers would be much less disruptive to a flight than many people are. Guaranteed they won't get drunk, have sex in the bathroom, request special vegetarian meals, or insist on window seats. They won't insist on carrying-on big luggage.

So, if animals can't come into the cabin, they have to be checked as baggage. Topiary has three. You're only allowed to check two. So, you need to bring somebody else for the third pet-in-a-crate.

"Hi. Can I buy you a ticket to Timbuktoo, so my pet can be checked as your luggage, and then when you get there, turn around and come back? I'll stand you dinner."

This may be a severe test of Cow's friends.


Monday, March 10, 2008


So Cow has been working on this project. There are four department heads "officially" assigned to do it.

So, those four have meetings and then come back and tell us, the minions, the ones who actually do the work, what they want.

Needless to say, nobody is getting it right.

I saw one of the other minions in the hallway the other day and joked that we should have our own meeting. Doubtless everything would go faster if the people who DO the projects were included in the meetings.

But then the managers would have to acknowledge to themselves and to others that they don't do this stuff, they just assign it down.


Questions, questions

Topiary has had three job interviews in the last couple weeks. To say that she is looking for a new job is an understatement.

She has found it's really true what they say about interviewing being "good practice." Practice for hari-kari, presumably.

On the factually-based questions, what experience have you had doing x? the humble Cow always does fine. It's those others:

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Well, ugh, I am lucky to get through today.
What are your long-range career goals? To keep working at another meaningless job...
How do you deal with co-workers who are "difficult?" Well, by looking for another job?
Why are you interested in this job? Uh, it was open and I qualified for it?

They never tell you what you really need to know: is the boss insane? Are your co-workers bundles of attitude and determined to "get" you so they can have your better-paid position for themselves? Will you ever be considered for a raise or are those reserved for the secretary since she gets the boss lunch every day, or childhood friends of the boss?'

Cow is just hoping maybe she didn't do as poorly as she thought, or at least that maybe she will improve...


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Crest Pro Health --- Watch out!!!!

Cow was attracted by Crest Pro Health's claim to be alcohol-free, so she tried it.

This product causes stains on your teeth just as if you were a coffee drinker. Horrible. There's no warning about this at all on the package.

Cow just had her teeth cleaned and after a short time of using Crest Pro Health mouthwash they are now stained like they've never been stained before. Apparently it is some chemical in the mouthwash.

So, apparently the dentist can polish most of it off unless it's damaged the enamel. To learn more just google it. And if you have your receipt save it because Crest should not only refund your money but also pay for the cleaning. Of course they won't though because they're in full denial and "blame the consumer" mode.

Cow thinks CEO's of companies should be forced to use their own products for a few years first before inflicting them on unsuspecting consumers.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It's Spring!

And remarkably, the web-blocking is down. Who knows why, or how, or for how long?

Cow is seizing the opportunity to post with abandon.

At left, image of Paris by Eugene Atget, ca 1910.