January 31, 2005

How oral is your family?

I recently read Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. The basic premise of the book was a young man grows up with no real knowledge of his family’s rich heritage. He goes on a life-changing journey to find this family’s roots and discovers they have a fascinating oral history. It wasn’t until the end of the book that I really came to appreciate one of its most basic messages – that oral traditions of a family can be important. Since I come from a long line of verbose storytellers, I realize I have taken it for granted that all families pass down stories. I grew up hearing Civil War tales from my great-grandmother that had been told to her by HER grandfather. When I was little, and couldn’t sleep, my grandma would tell all sorts of stories, long into the night, about exactly how life was for her when she was a little girl growing up during the Depression (Only 2 pairs of new shoes a year?? Only the radio? Only the Sears-Roebuck catalog? “The madness!”, my 7-year old brain screamed.) When the family is together, we of the younger generation laugh right along with my grandma and her siblings as they tell the same silly stories over and over – we have heard them so often by now, it’s as if we were there, also.

One of my grandma’s brothers (the “baby” of the family) passed away on Saturday. He was only 68 and as my family tends to live well into their 80s and beyond, we are in a bit of shock – with the overlap of generations my great-uncle was not much older than my own father and in fact, his son is my age. It’s all starting to become clear that the older generation will not be here forever. We’ve been so incredibly fortunate to have lost so few, but frankly, the writing is on the wall. Since we aren’t the Kennedys (our Irish surname is certainly less illustrious. Buh-lieve you me.), one of my cousins and I are afraid that many of these stories will be lost. Therefore, over the next few months, we are going to work on documenting as many of these stories and memories that we can.

While many of my posts this week may be family-oriented or slightly philosophical, don’t be surprised if there is some humor in them as well. My family can’t resist telling a good off-color joke or relating a funny memory. Even at funerals. Although they are a little repressed and they’d rather remember only the good times and pretend the bad never happened, that is just the way they are. They grieve the same way, too.

And I am glad for it.

January 28, 2005

Can you do the Shuffle, again?

My iPot, er, iPod is toast. Oh, it's fixable, don't get me wrong. However, it's to the tune of $149. OUCH.

So, I did go ahead and pick up the iPod Shuffle. So far, so good! If you already have iTunes, it's a cinch to set up. You install the iPod Updater from the CD, restart, then plug the damn thing in. It's basically Plug n' Play which is par for the course with Apple (Rancid Tangent: as a relatively new Mac user, this still creeps me out sometimes - I mean, you can plug something in and it's like the iMac is an overeager hostess greeting the new device with a cocktail saying "Hi! Welcome! Come on in! Glad to meet you!"). Anyway, the Shuffle is exactly what you expect - very teeny, tiny and portable. The sound is comparable to a regular iPod (it's cuh-razy that this is only Flash!) I can't wait to get this puppy to the gym tomorrow.

However, I would still like a regular iPod because I use the Browse and Playlist functions so frequently. I am just not sure if I want a regular iPod or an iPod Mini, therefore the Shuffle is perfect for the interim. Hmmmm, my birthday is coming............ No, X doesn't read my blog (sob!) so unfortunately it's not as if I am hinting.

Anyway, I have a sad, difficult weekend coming and this is certainly a bright spot in it. MAN!! A Gadget Purchase is really a sort of high.


Mutter Much?

Fitness Center Observations: I have been enjoying the great spectator sport of watching New Year’s Nitwits who have no business lifting weights try to do exactly just that. It horrifies me to see people throwing their bodies to and fro in the obvious attempt to lift as much weight as possible, not realizing the ramifications of inertia and centripetal force. Dude, you’re about 50 lbs. past high school. No one is impressed. I would laugh at this if I wasn’t so occupied just trying to get on a machine. There are inconsiderate persons out there who think it is acceptable to place a towel on 2 different machines so they can go back and forth between them. And what happens when 2-3 people are doing this? You do the math. The Towel Save is not cool, people.

BBC Affliction: I think I may be watching too much BBC. I was typing an email to a friend and referred to my nephew as a “little bugger”. The minute it came out of my fingers, I hesitated, then cringed (Note for non-Anglophiles – bugger is the Brit equivalent of the F-word). Talk about a conflict of emotion. I did erase and change the word – all the while knowing I am a FREAK.

New Party Trick: My latest hobby (obsession) is I recently discovered that on each dollar bill, there is a code that tells you which of the 12 Federal Reserves released it into the wild. Now, whenever I receive change back, I CAN’T STOP myself from looking at the damn thing and figuring out which Fed released it. I am sure there are cashiers all over the metro gnashing their teeth at the girl* who painstakingly “counted” her change.

The Big Burper Update: Unfortunately, snorting has been added to her repertoire. And she does this when she is cracking HERSELF up. I wish I could record it and share my misery with the world. I’m telling you, she is shameless!

Strange Cat Behavior: While I can’t compete with Rozanne’s recent kitty story , my own cat, H., has been doing something lately that is pretty funny. When I get home and am unloading the car, I have to be careful that he hasn’t jumped in the car while I wasn’t looking. It seems, he likes to hop in there now and hang out. Granted, we did go through a period last fall where he was riding in it 2-3 times a week. (full story, if you care, are in some of the archived posts here ) However, you would think that he had gotten burned out on the whole experience. Oh well, at least he hasn’t hitchhiked back to the old house again. Then again, maybe that’s what he’s waiting for - a free ride.

Wallpaper Guilt: I have mentioned that I knew the previous owners (POs) of the New House before we bought the house. In fact, I have known them for quite a long time as I have worked off and on for the husband over the past 9+ years. I have also mentioned that I have been removing an extensive amount of wallpaper that was included as a “bonus” with the house (the POs made a point of telling us how much they spent on the interior decorator). This stuff was bright, flowery wallpaper. Loads and loads of flowers**. Well, my friends, these 2 worlds are about to collide. The POs are coming this weekend to pick some things up from the house (their new house isn’t done yet and we let them store some things in the meantime). There is no way they can avoid seeing the kitchen – which has the unique distinction of being both the worst of the Wallpaper Offenses in the house AND the brightest of the color changes we initiated (Dahlia Orangish-Yellow). It’s one thing to redecorate; it’s another to completely rip out someone else’s hard work, thus saying “Your taste was crep.”

Even the Best of Vacations Can Wear Thin: Much like my sister got sick and tired of living in Hawaii, I am sick and tired of X being gone. I want someone besides the cats pestering me for food and attention. I am tired of snore-free nights. Come home, X!

*Yes, I still refer to myself as a "girl". I am a patron, not a matron. Get over it.
**I do not, nor have I ever discriminated against flowers. Rancid Raves’ le Manse maintains an open-door policy to flowers of all kinds. Just not on our wallpaper, please.

January 27, 2005

Are you listening?

I am not a huge audio book buff, but I have become addicted to certain types of books on tape. For example, although I have already read the Harry Potter books several times over, I have recently been making my way through the audio versions. While I could never recommend audio books over text, the audio versions of HP are a completely different experience than the written ones and make a great extension (i.e. I would never “listen” to them before “reading” them). The narrator, Jim Dale, is a mastermind of voices and performs remarkable renditions of the characters. In fact, he is so proficient; he could give Sally Field a run for her money. I find myself in the car getting chills down my spine in certain parts and laughing out loud in yet others.

I also found that listening to the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy book was so enjoyable that I can’t imagine actually reading this book. Since it was narrated by the Queer Eyes themselves, the book was equally entertaining as it was informative.

David Sedaris’ new book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, is waiting for me at the library in audio form. I did check out the written book, but I think Sedaris’ writing style lends itself to narration – in print, he comes across as very dry. He is amusing, but I have heard his audio books are superior to his written ones and I can’t wait to find out.

So, while I don’t think I could ever get “all up into that” with audio books, I do think in the future I will be selecting certain types of book solely for listening – in particular, humorists, some non-fiction, and a few pieces of children’s lit that I have been wanting to re-read.

January 26, 2005

Can you do The Shuffle?

Yeah, my iPod is iPoop right now. I will be sending it off to be examined at iPod ResQ based on a recommendation from the Apple Store “Geniuses”. I am very hopeful because I do think it is simply a bad headphone jack (I could even tell on the newer iPod models that the headphone jack had been modified so that it was tighter fit.) While at the Apple Store, it was hard to shake off the sad looks of sympathy from said “Geniuses” as their eyes swept over my 1st Generation (read: old, outdated) machine. I will say this: there is no incentive to buy a newer model - I thought it was interesting that there is very little difference between my old iPod and the new ones – the newbies may look a tad sleeker and have bigger hard drives, but they actually went BACK to the original design with buttons surrounding the Click Wheel (which was a smart move). Additionally, I am not close to using all of my 10Gs yet so there is no real incentive to buy a new one. My Old Guy suits me fine for now.

However, I am looking into purchasing the iPod Shuffle. Despite Goofy Girl’s best attempts at convincing me otherwise, the iPod Shuffle is not a viable substitute for an actual iPod. Besides not including a display and having minimum capacity (it is just flash memory, after all), the Shuffle doesn’t offer any Playlists or Browse functions. Also, I like the option of carrying my entire Library with me. Nevertheless, the little guy is ideal for my gym quandary and for all the yardwork I am "looking forward" to this spring. In the meantime, I am musicLESS while on the go and it is killing me (softly?).

January 25, 2005

Have you got Classical Gas?

As you may know, I have recently moved to a new cube (well, truth be known it's not really THAT new since I moved FROM it almost exactly a year ago.) I recently posted about The Big Burper - my new neighbor. If only she would keep her bodily function noises to BURPING, all would be tolerable. To make things worse, she's got some music going and I SWEAR TO GOD ALMIGHTY ON MY KITTY'S HEAD, I just got to hear the full rendition of "The Chicken Dance". What gives? I thought it was against the law to play that outside weddings. Folks, an elevator just called and it wants its music back!

Oh, dear Lord. She's got "Love is Blue" going now.............

The scariest part? She's not playing the radio.

Do you like to putter?

Sorry for the lack of posting. These past few weeks have been fairly uneventful. This is a good thing and I am trying to enjoy the quiet time. I am on Husband Vacation again this week and frankly, it is starting to lose its cachet. However, I guess that would be better than being excited as he heads for the airport, eh?

The weekend was great – I was in cooking frenzy and X probably gained a pound or two. I made pea paneer and spinach paneer (paneer = Indian soft cheese). Hell, I even made the cheese from scratch. I also made sole, chicken curry, breakfast hash. And, there was much knitting. I am trying to finish up a hat and backpack before my Knitting Splurge comes next week. (I am taking a mitten class, a sweater class, and a slipper class - all in February). I had a slight knitting emergency as well. I made a hat for Older Nephew. A very cute hat. Unfortunately, it fit Younger Nephew instead. So, Older Nephew is upset that Younger Nephew is wearing HIS hat that Aunt Cagey made for HIM. Yikes. Can’t have that! So, I am furiously working on an adorable Noro Kureyon One Skein hat that is completely opposite to how I have knitted a hat before (Note: the color scheme for the hat in the link is different than the colors I am using.) Usually, I start out big on circulars and decrease to the top of the hat. However, this hat requires me to start out small on double points and increase to the brim. It is an interesting combination of frustration (had to frog the damn thing TWICE already) and exhilaration (Wow! This is COOL! I’m learning something new!). I am very proud of myself for all the frogging, though. My normal MO (in life, as well as knitting) is to just keep going and learn to love the mistakes.

Anyway, despite the lack of drama these past few weeks, my iPod did decide to stir things up and went on strike (it must be threatened by all the new models that popped up over the holidays - it is one of the original ones, so I imagine some day it will be called “vintage” or “classic”.) The headphone jack has gone bad – much like "a kitty box left unscooped" bad. I am frantic because my iPod is integral to my gym routine. – I had to work out to the local news this morning and frankly, it wasn’t that inspiring. I like to use things until they crack n’ crumble apart so I am hoping it can be fixed. I’ve only had this thing just over 2 years – damn it, it better have a lot of mileage left as I certainly don’t need an iPaperweight.

January 21, 2005

Mumble much?

My life is so exceedingly lackluster right now that I don’t even have ample posting material. I need some drama, people! No, actually, I don’t. This has been a pretty peaceful week. I labored for Big Al, went to the gym, finished a cool ribbon scarf, hung out with X, finished the 1st season of The Wire (X hadn’t seen it before. I should mention that The Wire just completely rocks on DVD. I understood so much more the 2nd time around – seeing 2-3 episodes at a time really made things more clear. It just blew me away). Basically, not much happened this week, but it wasn’t stressful, either. How could I complain? Therefore, I won’t.

Aimless Mutterings for the Week:

The Big Burper: At work, I am moving today to a new floor and a new cell. Well, not exactly “new”, truth be told. I am packing everything up so that I can move to the VERY SAME cube that I moved FROM a year ago. Furthermore, I will be sitting again next to a lady (Note: as you will see, “lady” is used in the loosest of contexts here) that has a predilection for um, the polite word? Noisy bodily functions. Yep, I am next to the woman who burps, farts, sneezes and hiccups at will (or so it seems considering the frequency). She also calls all the non-technologically advanced people in her life (mom, brother, friends) so that she can READ ALOUD her email jokes to them. Ah yes, the joy is all mine.

Reproduction: My co-worker commented this week on our lame job situations (Hers is really bad, actually. Mine is just boring and not very motivating. She, on the other hand, got $crewed and her career is completely derailed). Anywho, she told me "you should just have your baby now and Big Al can pay for it. Then you can scoot outta here.". Ha, ha. Yeah, I'll get right on that. Look at me, sitting here on my lazy a$$, not making babies. Too funny (I actually did think it was amusing).

Food Fight: This week, X and I argued again over what seems to be the recurring theme in nearly ALL of our fights. Food. Yes, my friends - FOOD. It's a daily complicated dance to the tune of Compromise and Comparison. Take-out or cooking? Veggies or meat? Chicken or fish? Red tuna or salmon? Indian or Thai? Rice or Naan? What to get and where to get it?

Food is a major topic nearly every single day and the discussion starts early afternoon (my man loves to eat). But seriously now. How LUCKY am I that FOOD is the most serious issue in my marriage? Very.

January 20, 2005

Where have all the sitcoms gone?

This certainly won’t be a profound post – I know this topic has been covered in so many other more qualified venues. However, I can’t resist expressing my sadness at the severe dearth in quality sitcoms as of late (also, there is a dearth of remarkable topics happening in my life right now, resulting in a dearth of interesting posting material). I need to get it out of my system, although I know I don’t much new to offer. Of all the shows I watch regularly, only 5 of them are sitcoms and of those, a few have dubious lengths left in their lives. Although I realize that "reality" programming is usurping sitcoms, I do like some reality shows (The Amazing Race, Apprentice , Survivor - but even those are getting tired now). Anyway, here is what I watch and as you shall see - several of them won't even live to see that elusive TV life form that's nearing extinction - syndication.

Arrested Development - One the cleverest shows running - written in the guise of a stupid show - is doomed to die a painful death. Despite it having won the Best Comedy Emmy last year, it is simply too sharp for the general populace. To “get” the humor, you need to pay attention, listen to every line of dialogue, remember the line, process the likely double entendre and then actually remember what may have happened a few episodes past (a similar problem for The Wire viewers). Thank goodness for TV DVDs. This show will inevitably die, but one salvation is that it is even better with subsequent viewings.

Joey – He was always my least favorite of the Friends and this show proves why. He just was never that interesting of a character and I certainly don’t rush home to watch this program (in fact, I am 2 weeks behind on the DVR). However, his TV nephew, Michael, is pretty funny and since he is the brightest character on the show, the writers tend to throw him the wittiest comments – which he delivers quite effectively. When Joey fades (My guess? one more season – tops.), I hope someone finds this kid a show.

Will & Grace – This show is clearly on its way out, but of course, NBC will have to flog it deader than dead. Furthermore, NBC has nearly spun this show off into The Jack and Karen Show – at a minimum, the network should at least find those two a room.

Committed – I had such high hopes for this weird, quirky show. The premise is that the two main characters are insane. While every 5th joke is Guffaw Quality, is it worth sitting through the other 4? Not unless it improves mightily in the next few episodes because that is how many lives it has left on my DVR.

George Lopez Show – This show was a surprising Just Flipping the Channels Find. This show is your typical sitcom, through and through. It is replete with the goofy husband, sensible wife, bratty kids, obnoxious mother, and obtuse best friend. But it’s Hispanic. And Different. I really like this program! It’s a cute show, but it still has a little bite to it. This show pokes gentle fun at stereotypes that other shows simply would not be able to get away with.

See, I told you. Nothing profound to be had here. Those are just the 5 shows that help get my sitcom grieving out of my system. I didn't realize how much I missed the traditional sitcom until last night, as I was watching the Lopez show. I really enjoyed watching the episode all the while knowing that it isn't even a groundbreaking sitcom. Certainly not in the style of Seinfeld or Frasier.

Damn. I miss a really good sitcom.

January 19, 2005

Have you reached Nirvana?

I was listening to Nirvana the other day, trying to get the big mystery of what is so extraordinary about them. What’s so special about Kurt Cobain? I don’t understand it. I am not trying to be disrespectful; I just really don’t get it. The band consists of guitars and a drum – every song sounds sort of the same. Where is the variety? I mean, they have some good songs, but I don’t understand the obsessive fans throwing themselves over his grave. What am I missing here? (why does anyone give a hill of beans about Courtney Love – I partly get Cobain, but Love? Um, not so much. Somebody must still care about her because all the celebrity rags still print news of her latest escapades (or escapes). Not that I read that crep. Nope. No sirree. Not me.)

I know I get odd looks when I claim my undying devotion to Pink Floyd, but they were PINK FLOYD – they are classic. It still hurts me that David Gilmour and Roger Waters haven’t mended their broken fences (Dudes – for the love of all things hemp, just kiss and make up already. ‘kay?)

Anyway, if there is anyone out who can explain the Mystery of Kurt Cobain for me, I have a half-eaten Girl Scout Cookie for you……

Rancid Tangent: Since when did Hindu things become so stylish? Is Nirvana responsible for this? Surely, it wasn’t Dharma and Greg. How did the marketing folks happen upon this new trend? Is Richard Gere responsible for the new chic-ness of Buddhism? Isn’t it somewhat disconcerting to see Buddha figurines sold in TARGET? At a minimum, disrespectful? I’d ask X, but he’s Catholic. Why isn’t it hip to be Catholic? We drink. We can hang. I guess latent guilt isn’t as marketable.

January 18, 2005

Is it Friday yet?

Well, X came back on Sunday – Husband Vacation has come to an end. The feeling of ice cold porcelain on my bare butt this morning was a stark reminder.

The one beauty of working for a quasi-governMENTAL agency is that you get all sorts of holidays. Yesterday, despite being a member of the Majority, Big Al told me I didn't have to come to work because it was Martin Luther King Day. (Ironically, my slightly bigoted father thinks it is unfair that he doesn’t get the day off for St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate HIS heritage. Therefore, he consistently pulls my younger siblings out of school to celebrate – it’s a day chock full of cabbage, kilts, Guiness, and squabbles with Hibernians. Oh yes, the post I will have for you, dear reader, come March 17th.)

Last week, I called my doctor to ask a simple question. Since I am trying to initiate a DNA Project, I have concerns about taking one of my prescription medicines. Of course, the carefully worded website of the drug company assures me this medicine is safe, but let’s face it – the industry isn’t exactly a stellar example of efficient testing methods, is it? This one simple question led to 3 hours worth of appointments yesterday that included a weigh-in (Post-holidays! Grrr), blood-letting (3 vials worth! Ouch.), waiting (zz), more waiting (zzzz), yet more waiting (zzzzzz). Fortunately, I am in the middle of a semi-entertaining book, so that helped matters. UNfortunately, I ended up with a huge headache afterwards (blood-letting, perhaps?) and spent most of the rest of the day laid up on the couch.

January 14, 2005

I had a bright, cheery (sarcastic) post planned for today, but I didn't have the heart to write it when I saw today's headline in my local news. I couldn’t even come up with a title for today’s post. My state is proposing a same-$ex marriage ban. Sigh. I am so saddened by this and ashamed of my state for the 2nd time in my life (the first being the ban on teaching evolution in schools). I just don't understand it. What is so criminal and salacious with two people loving each other and wanting to build an emotional and financial life together? (rhetorical question. Please don’t answer.)

What we really need is a ban on 55-hour marriages and in particular, Mexican divorces for American marriages.

Yes, I will return to meaningless nattering next week, but today it seems trite when there are others who simply don't have the same basic rights that X and I have.

January 13, 2005

How fresh is your underwear?

This morning, as I smoothed my damp locks into my old friend, Hair Band (hey, there was no time to blow-dry, after all -- it was a gym morning), I pondered an episode of Oprah where 4 daughters unleashed upon their mother, the Big O’s team of camera-wielding minions (imagine the tragedy of that for a minute). The Minions completely went through this poor lady’s home, filming her idiosyncrasies and bad habits of keeping razors (for a year), dish sponges (for months), and hamburger meat (for a decade). They even filmed her safety-pinned underwear - the horrors! It left me thinking “what would induce my family to parade me in front of North America like that?" My damn hair band, which has made more than its fair share of fashionable appearances over these past few years? (Did I really just use the plural form of year?? ) Or would it be my foul mouth that rears it ugly head after a minimal amount of alcohol or minor injury (I swear I do love a good curse word.). Or would it be my “I must be right and always correct and never wrong” attitude when it comes to any sort of disagreement or trivial sort of question? (In my defense, I AM usually right. Just ask X or my Canasta group. They know.)

Think long and hard about this, my friends. Banish all bad habits and for goodness sake – upgrade your underwear selection! Oprah’s tentacles travel far and wide – even those of you North of the border ARE NOT SAFE.

Hello? Anyone there?

Critter update:
I have spent the majority of the evening upstairs - I even took a long, leisurely bath catching up on the Pitt Quit n' Split in the very bathroom I first heard the suspicious scurrying. I have yet to hear a peep, squeak, or chirp.

Keeping my fingers crossed......

January 12, 2005

Mumble much?

A. If I am jaywalking across an empty street with a green light and someone pulls an illegal u-turn to come back my way – who has the right of way?

B. I realize I have dated a few more than my fair share of foreigners, but should it creep me out that so many of the terrorists in the show “24” look like guys I have dated?

C. Eyelash yarn is a be-yotch, but the results are gorgeous. Will it be like childbirth where I forget the pain and get pulled again into its wispy grasp?

D. I suspect there are critters living in my attic. I hear suspicious chirping or squeaking when I am in my master bathroom. The Non-Bathroom Cat, P., is starting to go crazy in there. The usual Bathroom Cat, V., is equally anxious. Are they birds? How do they get in? Could mice get up there? How the hell do I evict these delinquent tenants?

E. I have a dentist appointment and yet again will have to face my lax flossing policy. It’s not laziness – rather, there is something just WRONG about sticking anything between my teeth. It makes my skin (and gums) crawl. Am I the only one?

F. Do you watch the Amazing Race? Can you even tell the contestants apart? The only ones I can distinguish are Jon/Victoria (Psycho & Snivel), Lori & Bolo (Melons & Meat), and the Devilboy couple (what are their names? Too focused on those damn horns to notice.). I still love the show, but man, what a lackluster season.

G. Is it “Out of sight, out of mind” or is it “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” or is it a little bit of both? Regardless, I miss X.

Update: re: Critters -- My co-worker said that it is most likely mice. Makes sense because birds don't generally rustle around at night. I guess I will be trucking off to buy mousetraps and cheap peanut butter (those vermin aren't getting any of my good all-natural stuff. No way. Hydrogenated oils aren't going to follow them to the Big Cheese Wedge in the Sky anyway). I just wish the damn things would come INTO the house because the cats would take care of them for me. I HATE attics. Too creepy.

January 11, 2005

No $hit?

Part of the fall-out from the “Reorganization” last Friday (read: kicking us in the shins and saying “howdya do?”), is that now we are all gradually meeting with our “new and improved, didn’t even know these people ‘til last week” upper management. We are reviewing our current project lists and discussing the forthcoming changes in responsibilities. On Friday, I was told that I would be leaving Group A to work for Group B (for the manager who is a bit of a jerk). Today, I met with the new upper management and decided that what the hell, this chick has NO freakin’ CLUE what I am capable of doing and has no idea of my skill sets. Therefore, I decided to enlighten her and gave her a brief history of my Careers Past. She couldn’t even control her surprise. The result? For the time being, I am staying in Group A and it looks like I will have a newer direction for my responsibilities. Am I happy? Mmmm, not necessarily “happy”, but “happier”. It is definitely better than what I was previously destined for this morning. Hell’s bells, I may even consider staying here (not really). At a minimum, it will make the time here less painful while I search for another gig. Who knows?

While I feel slightly better about my own situation, I do still feel Survivor’s Guilt. It is unavoidable to feel that, I suppose – unless you are the Tin Man. I have some co-workers that were so $crewed by this ordeal and have had their careers derailed and/or utterly eliminated. The sadness emanating from the cube next to me is palpable. And this is from a co-worker who toiled 3 times as hard as my sluggish a$$ did last year.

Regardless, take a page from my book, dear readers (all 3 of you!) and DON’T UNDERSELL YOURSELF. Feeling down? Make a list of your skill set – even if it includes “damn good knitter”. Believe me, you will feel better. Because, well, $hit. It’s true. If you don’t damn well have faith in yourself, no one else will.

January 10, 2005

Will I miss him?

X is out of town this week –a Husband Vacation of sorts. Basically, I am looking forward to 8 CUH-RAZY nights in the Rancid Raves le manse. Cheese and crackers will be acceptable dinner options now. The bed will be made every morning – correctly, not by merely throwing the blanket over the bed to and fro. Dishes will not be allowed to become scary exercises in the many life stages of mold. In fact, dishes will bypass the sink entirely and proceed directly to the dishwasher. Gasp! I am going to knit and make jewelry to my little heart’s content – to the tune of Oprah and Dr. Phil (with no one in the background shaking his head disbelievingly at the seriously unhealthy public out there and my own bad taste in eagerly watching them). I will happily blast Madonna and Pink Floyd through the rafters. And finally, I will pound out Chopin’s Funeral Marche at Midnight, if I so desire. I better get to work – I have a lot to accomplish!!!!

Oh, and the answer to the question? I already do. Sigh.

January 7, 2005

Am I next?

We have known for 6 months that Big Al will be clearing house. We just didn’t know exactly when. Well, today is the day. I encountered one clearly upset co-worker outside waiting for the shuttle with a sheath of papers in her hand. It didn’t take long to register what had happened. After a quick hug and few “I’m sorrys”, I headed inside. To wait.

I’ll be frank. I am conflicted. I don’t particularly care for this job – it’s pretty boring. However, it allows me to have a nice house and to maintain my expensive hobbies (yarn, beads, clay). The sick and twisted thing is that I cannot get it out of my head that IF I GET LAID OFF, I GET TO LEAVE FOR THE DAY. I GET THE DAY OFF. How pathetic is that?

Update: I still have a job, but I have been "realigned" into another area. An area that is even more boring than the one I am in now. I will be reporting to someone that is okay socially, but I have no respect for professionally. In fact, he is the sort of the guy that leaves his people not only out to dry, but to HANG. Basically, I will have no one covering my back. No one. Of course, the nice thing is that I will still be receiving a paycheck while I hunt for a new job. So, overall, I can't complain. And I do know that I am blessed to have my health, a wonderful husband, and a great family.

After all, I can't lose sight of the big picture and what really counts in the end.

January 5, 2005

Why not?

1. Working from home makes boring job more boring.
2. Working from home doesn't make it less easy for co-workers to find you (damned home network!).
3. Husband does not believe that gouda cheese with crackers, Grandma's homemade peanut brittle and chocolate make an acceptable lunch option.
4. Husband really DOES work from home - I haven't seen him all morning although he is just across the hallway in his office.
5. Felines really do NOT do much during the day but sleep.

On the rocks or neat?

Ice, ice baby. An ice storm has blasted its way through our metro. Luckily, my supervisor is a big believer in Personal Safety - we all planned yesterday to work from home and packed accordingly (ah, blessed home network!). However, working from home is over-rated. At work, I have a difficult enough time resisting the siren call of my Favorites links. At home, the temptations are far greater. I have an adorable orange fluffster gnawing on my laptop (must need food now, will desire attention next). Mr. X. will soon wake up demanding coffee, food and then attention, also. On the coffee table there is a beautiful, half-finished scarf with a deadline looming (sister’s birthday). Half-finished jewelry haunts me in the dining room (must re-stock store inventory next week). A dusty piano sits accusingly. Harry Potter sits poised to challenge the dragon (yes, this will be a third reading for me, but IT IS ALWAYS SUSPENSEFUL. Every single time.) SIMS is on the home computer, beckoning me to CREATE them, their friends and their homes (Christmas present I haven’t had time for yet). And then there are Blogs. Glorious Blogs. I have plenty of reads on my own Blogroll to contend with, but since I am leisurely reading from HOME with an entire day rolled out before me, I could actually give in to temptation and start exploring THEIR Blogrolls. And you know what happens from there. Sigh. Isn’t discovering a new Blog sort of like meeting a new friend?

It’s high time I expand my social circle…………..

January 3, 2005

What is wrong with this picture?

Mr. X rented movies on Saturday from Blockbuster – a company that is proudly advertising the “end of the late fee” that just started this past Saturday, 1/1/05. Is this really the start of a new era? Is it one we even want? Let’s examine this more closely, shall we?

Scenario #1: You rent a movie and return it within the 7 day grace period after the due date.
Cost to you: Initial rental fee

Scenario #2: You rent a movie and return it after the 7 day grace period but before 30 days.
Cost to you: Sales price of movie minus initial rental fee. However, you can get this price credited back to your credit card, but you will pay a re-stocking fee AND you have to do it in person (i.e. no more jumping outta the car while still in your pajamas to shove the thing back into the return box– you ole lazy butt).

Scenario #3: You rent a movie and return it after 30 days.
Cost to you: Sales price of movie minus initial rental fee. There are no returns in this scenario. That puppy is YOURS. Such a pretty blue and white box, isn’t it?

Scenarios #1 and #3 are obviously common sense. It was #2 that made me choke on my edamame (not such a lovely shade of green after all). No late fees? Whatever. I didn’t MIND paying late fees. If my lame ass was too stupid to get to the store on time, then I DESERVED a late fee (previously, you just got dinged for another rental period until you returned the damn thing). This new setup doesn’t save me any money and now just makes things more complicated. The problem is that Blockbuster is pretty much a monopoly – there are few competitors in this area. With Bush’s Boys constantly all up in Microsoft’s biz’ness, why can’t they show Blockbuster some of the love? Hollywood Video is just hobblin’ along! Show ‘em some pity.

Mortimer’s Mom can check out DVDs from the freaking STREET corner– like an ATM machine. Hell, with global warming just around the corner and Celine Dion firmly planted in Las Vegas, Canada is looking better and better. Lucky dog, that Mortimer.

Do you have “that friend”?

I had a very nice weekend. A high school friend, T., was in from out of state and we met for lunch. T. is the sort of friend that I see very occasionally – maybe once a year, but usually it’s more like every 2 years. One of the things I enjoy most about meeting with her is that I never, ever feel pressure to impress. It doesn’t matter how much weight I have gained, the make/model of my car, the increasing line of wrinkles on my forehead. It is always an absolute joy to see her and catch up. Always. Of course, I couldn’t help but notice our conversation now covered more about charter schools, and real estate purchases than the old fun game of “Well, who is so-and-so married to now?” While I miss the old fun of gossiping, it is rather nice to be all grown-up.

Saturday evening was relaxing. I worked on my sister’s birthday scarf which was frustrating. (Note to self: no more knitting requests!) Everyone LOVES eyelash yarn! Well, I admit I would too, if someone else was knitting it. Sigh. I spent more time unraveling, and then rewinding that ridiculous yarn. The scarf is a beautiful mix of Berocco Hip Hop and eyelash, so it will be worth it. It does help that my sister is an artist and will certainly appreciate a hand-knit item – makes it all worth the while then.

Mr. X. and I also managed to scoot through 2 excellent movies – Super Size Me and Maria Full of Grace (and he even picked them out all by his lonesome!). If you have read the book Fast Food Nation, then Supersize Me will not come as a big surprise, but you will find the movie infinitely more entertaining than the book (while educational, still a tad dry). Anyway, the movie only served to stiffen my resolve to avoid fast food giants whenever possible. On the other hand, Maria Full of Grace was a heart-tugging, “thinking” movie about a Columbian girl who comes to America as a drug mule. The movie provided fascinating, non-sugar-coated details into the experience of a drug mule. With all the melodrama on TV nowadays, it was refreshing to watch a movie that felt "real".

Sunday was an odd day. My jewelry business partner came over to teach me a very cool technique I hadn’t tried before. I am very excited to work on this technique this week as we work to increase our inventory for one of our stores. I then did some laundry. The odd part started around 5:00 where I felt like a MACK truck had bull-dozed over me. I tried to suck it up and get through the evening, but gave up at 7:30pm and shuffled off to bed. This is very odd because usually I have to force myself to hop into bed before Midnight. I usually have to sneak into the bedroom as to not wake Mr. X. so the role reversal threw both of us for a loop. Oh well, I guess all the fun of the weekend had caught up with me.

I apologize for the lack of wit in this post. I guess I am still out of sorts from my odd evening yesterday.