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June 30, 2009

This is so me


Do you ever have those moments in life where something happens that is just *so* quintessentially you? I mean, you can't deny it, just has "that's totally me" written ALL over it.

This happened last evening when I came home from work. I found two packages waiting for me. Items I'd ordered separately had managed to arrive on the same day.

And it was Karen-day a'go-go.

The first item opened was this:





It's *fabulous*. A pretty pink CZ sparkler of a cocktail ring. I loooove cocktail style rings, the bigger, brassier and more obnoxious the better. Yes! I'll wear the rings others will eschew as "too big."

Plus! I got this one on a killer deal. I mean, an amazing sale at an already discounted site! This thing is full of fire and pizzazz and I totally have the outfit to wear it with this weekend.

Total girl-type "squee!" action when I opened this up and slipped it on and it winked at me and fit perfectly.

So satisfying.

Then, ready to move on, I opened the other package. And it was this:





That there's my new Buck knife. Not the first Buck knife to come into my possession, only the latest. I bought one of this same model (in gray) for The Good Man a couple birthdays ago, and have been lusting for it since. Compact, fits into that 5th pocket you got in your jeans. Small but powerful blade. Love. It!

Plus, got it in rockin' red! Oh yeah, baby!

And as I sat there, giddy, with my new pink ring in one hand and my new Buck knife in the other, my loving husband remarked, "That's my girl!"

That's just Karen being Karen.

June 29, 2009

Manny being Manny


Got lost in the MJ kerfuffle, but...a repost from NewMexiKen.

"Manny Ramirez’s assignment with the Albuquerque Isotopes amounted to two games, eight innings total, four appearances at bat — two ground outs, a strike out and a walk. Big deal."

(video from ABQJournal.com here.)

Big deal indeed. I'm still chapped he got to play any sort of professional baseball before finishing up those last 50 games suspension.

Ah well, his return means that the very red hot Juan Pierre will likely sit.

And my "I think I can" SF Giants are only seven games out of first.

Remember when the Dodger fans greeted Barry Bonds with boos, cat calls of "cheater" and hucked batteries at him? Will they do the same for their own returning cheater?

Hmm?

Oh yes indeed!


Another idea The Good Man had first, but wasn’t fast enough to capitalize on:

Shoes from a vending machine

To be fair, The Good Man's idea was more along the lines of "you know, you should buy a bunch of cheap flip flops and leave them in all our cars...."

This after me whining, *again*, about aching feet.

I remember "back in the day" when I could wear bangin' shoes all day long and not have trouble. Ah the continued joy of becoming a cranky old fart (it's only getting better!).

I *totally* think that these Rollasole people could do a flip flop version too!



**this post brought to you by the girl who totally wanted to wear her Fat Babies under her wedding dress...but got veto'd down by the skinny harpies at the place who made the gown. Feh!

June 27, 2009

Rethinking....


A fresh perspective regarding Twitter and Facebook, from the eye of a writing teacher....

WE ARE ALL WRITERS NOW

Great article, interesting viewpoints. It's got me thinking...and rethinking.....

Discovered via @TatteredCover

June 26, 2009

So...let me get this straight...


You schtupped an Argentinean woman, thus cheating on your wife and kids.

You are a governor, and you disappeared without a word to anyone in order to get the schtupping done.

But your plight is much like that of King David?

"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford...said King David 'fell mightily, fell in very, very significant ways, but then picked up the pieces and built from there.'"

oooooh kaaaaay

Link here.

Oh thank you...


God bless the Las Cruces Sun News for running only a regular sized and tasteful headline about the media event of yesterday. You know, the one that is blowing up all over the media and crowding out all the rest of the regular and essential news?

I'm already tired of hearing about it.

June 25, 2009

Strange days, indeed.


What the hell is going on with this day?

First Farrah and now Michael Jackson?

Wow.

Well, it's a sad day, indeed.

Inside the Blogger's Head


: cue Inside the Actor's Studio music :

We begin our interview with a series of questions first posed by Bernard Pivot. (Riffed off of a personality quiz called The Proust Questionnaire.)

Supposed to give insight into one's personality and all that....

So here we go:

What is your favorite word?

Simpatico. You know it when you have it.


What is your least favorite word?

Any word spoken with a condescending intent.


What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Hearing a beautiful song, seeing a gorgeous sight (like an amazing painting), perfect lighting, something that is quite the pleasant surprise (like the discovery of apricots in my side yard), riding a horse, the laughter of any one of my godkids.


What turns you off?

People manifesting their deeply held insecurity on me. Shows up in lot of ways, none very fun.


What is your favorite curse word?

Just one? Man, my favorite curse word changes. Some days a good "oh balls!" will get it done. Sometimes an f-bomb is really necessary. Can I just say I love cursing, enjoy it immensely, and do my best to rein it in around my mother. Not always successfully.


What sound or noise do you love?

At AT&T Park, when the Giants win a game, they play the original Tony Bennett version of "I Left my Heart In San Francisco". You'd think I would get tired of hearing it. I don't.

Also, the sound of the garage door opening when my husband is coming home. Yippee!


What sound or noise do you hate?

Anything terribly high pitched. Like the backup sound on a garbage truck. It physically hurts.


What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Motivational speaker. I'm not kidding. I always wanted to travel around, giving presentations, getting people all fired up, helping them learn and change their lives. I absolutely adore giving presentations, especially when you have a great crowd eager to learn.


What profession would you not like to do?

Registered nurse. I am so much of an empath that I couldn't get through the day. Human suffering just destroys me. Ok, animal suffering too, so this extends to vet techs as well.

I am way in awe of the people who do that work and do it well.

Whoa.


If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Good job, kid. You get an A+.

Now get over to the barn. Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys are warming up. Plenty of cute cowboys to dance with. Oh, and they are serving homemade green chile chicken enchiladas for dinner.

And in heaven, calories don't count.


June 24, 2009

Want some cheese to go with that whine?


Lord knows, I've been prone to giving over to a deep, hearty kvetch about living here in the Bay Area, and these marine layer weather patterns this Flower of the Desert must face.

Ok, fine, I own it.

However, today, I'm here to say that all the wet weather actually *does* have some benefits. Occasionally even *I* can find a place of gratitude for all of that goddamn rattin' smattin' essential rain.

See, The Good Man and I are renters, and as such, aren't required to take care of our yard. Good thing, too...cuz we'd have grass a mile high.

My landlord and his son do yard work that's mainly limited to cutting the grass every few weeks and chopping down nice trees that never did nothing to nobody. But that's another story.

So over on the side of our humble abode, we have this:





It may be hard to see, but that's a little spindly tree.

I mean...it's pretty sad. Look at this puny little trunk:





What you should know about that little tree is that no one really does much of anything with it. We don't water it. We don't prune it. We hardly look at it. It's just "that tree" over by where we store the trashcans.

I've occasionally photographed the tree when it puts on white flowers, working on my macro skills. But other than that, it goes totally ignored.

Well. This year, the little tree that decided to get noticed.

This year, that son-of-a-gun put on a crapload of fruit. Apricots.





I've lived here five years. That tree has never, not once, put on fruit. It would flower, halfheartedly, but that's it.

For some reason, even in a fairly dry Bay Area winter, that little spindly tree got enough water and sun and nutrients to fill its skinny little boughs with fruit.

Wow.

And it's tasty fruit too! VERY delicious. Boy, I do love a good juicy and tart apricot in the summertime.

I remember my college roommate's mom would put up a fantastic apricot jam...that she'd serve on top of homemade biscuits. Oh my.

So ok, I whine. I jump up and down. I tantrum. I complain that I am a convection-cooled device (a human swamp cooler) finely tuned to the high desert and cannot possibly be expected to properly function in this humidity.

Then I bite into a ripe, juicy apricot and I think, "Hey, all that rain is not so bad!"


June 23, 2009

From a salad to the wayback machine


In two easy steps.

Today, I was at my work's cafeteria, and there I am, standing in line, waiting on the lady in front of me as she crafted her salad.

I personally think how someone makes their salad bar salad speaks volumes about personality, but that's another study for another day.

This lady in front of me had taken a small container, and was packing, shoving, and cramming salad items in there.

I've noticed this a lot lately, not just at work. The general need to take an itty-bitty container. It's a guilt thing. You convince yourself you are saving money and calories with a "small" salad, then you shove a "large" amount of salad in there.

We pay for salad by the pound, but whatever.

So while I watched this fabulous bit of engineering, I thought to myself, "Wow, this lady needs a geometry lesson."

Which is really ironic for *me* to say.

Because I personally *suck* at geometry.

And why is that?

Come, step with me into the wayback machine.

: cue wavy lines and hazy focus :

The year was 1986...or maybe 1985...I can't recall.

At that time, I was matriculating at good ol' Del Norte High School. Yup.

That year, I was taking a geometry class that was going fairly well. I was learning, it was coming along, I was carrying a high B...until that fateful day.

Oh yes, that day...when our regular teacher introduced our (cue dramatic music...dun dun DUUUUUN):
Student Teacher.

But, not just any student teacher, no.

This gentleman was a student at UNM. But not just that...he was a basketball player.

Ok, now this goes back a lotta years. You have to be a Lobo fan or at least an Albuquerque resident from way back to remember these names...

This guy played under Gary Colson, who was the UNM savior after the misdeeds by our ol' friend Stormin' Norman Ellenberger.

(god, this is going back, NM style....bonus points if you ever ate or had a drink at Stormin' Norman's restaurant)

So, recovering from the scandal, UNM ended up having a *really* good team. The main players were pretty well known, kind of local celebrities.

There in my very classroom, next to my portly, middle-aged math teacher, stood none other than Alan Dolensky, UNM basketball player, that guy I saw on the news, Adonis.

Let's be clear...in the vernacular...this guy was *foine* I'm not gonna lie to ya, I'd had a bit of a crush on him anyway, and then he shows up as my teacher.

All youthful, he had to be what? 20? 21? athletic, tall. Wow.

Well. It wasn't long before that high B in geometry dipped to a low C.

I would *love* to blame the poor teaching skills of Mr. Dolensky (and did for many years), but that would be highly unfair.

I'll just agree to two things...I *might* have been a bit....uh...distracted (c'mon, I had hormones!)....and I might also never have really owned a good math gene (much to the dismay of my engineer father).

So I spent a semester with languishing grades and an emphatic crush. Which *obviously* was never returned.

When report cards came out, I was *mad*.

My C got me flak from my folks, but it was enough to pass, and on I moved to the next course.

But...and I have to be honest, I have never really grasped the foundation of geometry, and it shows. I can't mentally gauge spatial items very well. I am terrible at packing a full truck (thank GOD for The Good Man. He rocks this department!)

And the worst of it came when I had to take the Graduate Management Admission Test for graduate school. It was *heavily* weighted toward geometry (a fact I understand was later acknowledged and fixed...too late for me, however).

So, I'd done ok grade-wise in high school, but in college, I rocked the house. I got my undergrad with a *smokin'* GPA.

Desperate to get out of New Mexico, I appealed to my parents, who said they'd spring for in-state school. Out of state, I'd have to get a scholarship or a grant that would wave out of state tuition.

(Let me aside here to give it up for my parents paying for my edjumacation. I'm a lucky soul.)

Admission to a university is based on GPA and GMAT score.

So, obviously, a lot was riding on my GMAT score.

On which I scored terribly.

I mean, really, just above "who is this idiot?"

Undeterred and against the advice of the Dean of the Business College, I took the GMAT again. And scored even lower.

Still undeterred, I made an appeal to an out of state school, got a "provisional" admission based on my GPA and a good word from the president of NMSU, but "provisional" meant no scholarships, grants, or ability to wave out of state.

Deflated, I surrendered. Goddamn geometry.

I ended up staying on at New Mexico State to complete my MBA.

Which, honestly, in hindsight, has been fine. I really got a great education in Las Cruces and wouldn't trade it for the world.

But I often wonder where I would have ended up if my schlumpy but effective math teacher had continued to educate me rather than that awfully distracting virile young man.

DAMN YOU ALAN DOLENSKY! : shakes fists :

There you go, from a salad to an angst.

By the by, I can manage to fit an appropriate amount of salad in a small container...and I can also park straight in a parking space...so I have that going for me.

In other news...I'm also hopeless at chemistry. In the course of my entire education, I was never once required to take a chem. class.

Isn't THAT something.

Or not.

Oh well, back to my management job at a Fortune 500 company, because, you know, things turned out so poorly....:)





Photo by Khadejeh and found on Flickr.

Oh heck no!


Ya know, my boss and I may not always agree, but I don't get smacked around for my troubles.

Report: Violence common among Scientology managers

The article makes it sound pretty awful. A little perspective for my workday.

June 22, 2009

I have a conflicted


This whole social networking thing, I've been reticent about it. Then on further examination, I acquiesced a bit.

But I have a reticent again.

As you may know, I've joined the folks who are using Twitter. Sure, yes, I tweet.

Banal stuff I tweet, I admit. But I enjoy the challenge of 140 characters. Plus it's fun to see what other's can cram into such a small space.

Often I read stuff on there makes me sigh and shake my head. Example: a local sports broadcaster takes to Twitter to describe the quality of his bowel movements. A regular man, seems to hit him daily about eleven a.m.

*sigh*

Then there's some good stuff, too. Local SanFran author Christopher Moore has the best tweets of my follow list, bar none. Example: "Steve Jobs had liver transplant. Glad he finally acknowledged the value of cut and paste."

So okay, there's fun stuff out there, it's not all bad. I rather enjoy tweeting, heck, as you know, I even recently participated in a twitter story writing contest. So I'm on board!

Only, this weekend, I might have hit a wall.

I follow Ann Curry on Twitter. She's been Tweeting pretty hard about what's going on in Iran. I personally have tried very hard to keep a distance from all that. It's horrible, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families, but I have a neurotic worry gene (thanks, Mom) and if I let myself follow what's happening, I will lose my grip.

So, yeah, I have been reading Ann's tweets, even though I'm not sure this is the best way for the news to travel, I read them to keep up to speed, a little, on the progress.

That said, on Saturday, Ann tweeted quite a bit about the escalation of the protests in Iran. Scary stuff, here's some examples:

"Credible source was eyewittness (sic) to pepper spraying of about 100 protestors #iranelection"

"Iran state tv claims explosion at tomb of revered Ayatollah Khomeini. Would incite anger against protesters. Is it true? #iranelection"

"More reports of police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands #iranelection"

Yikes. I was taking all of this in, feeling that familiar fear and dread...and then moved on to read more tweets on the same page by other twitter folks that I follow.

Here's where my train derailed.

Along with scary stuff from Iran, here's what else I found on the same page:

"just getting up, still drunk I think." (from a local journalist for the SF Chronicle and a prolific author)

"Destroyed by dim sum and good friends." (from the rather successful owner of a small business)

"I'm thinking of something like this for (my second house), so perhaps I'll go to C&B and see how it looks in person. (furniture item, link redacted)." (from a blogger and editorial writer for one of Seattle's independent newspapers).

So, look, I'm not following Buffy the Wonder Ditz on Twitter, I have thoughtfully chosen which tweets I see, but still, I was startled by the juxtaposition of the uses of Twitter.

Actually, The Good Man pointed it out as he read over my shoulder. I didn't even see it. Perhaps I'm so twitterheaded it didn't look strange.

I think Twitter can be used pretty well as a marketing tool. Heck, when I tweet a link to my blog, I can count on about 10 to 15 extra eyeballs that day. So that's good, right? Blog traffic is really nice.

But is all this self-focused, self-absorbed social networking really meaningful? (asks the self-focused, self-absorbed blogger)

I don't know, something changed for me on Saturday. I like Twitter, enjoy using it, but then think...what am I *doing*?!

I don't have the answers, I'm really just talking it out here. But last week, I was kind of into Twitter and enjoying it. Now, I'm not so sure.

Anyhow...just some pondering for a Monday.


June 21, 2009

It's all downhill from here


Happy Summer Solstice! Today, the longest day of the year.

Oh fine. The days start getting shorter. It gets colder. Winter is nigh.

Bah!

Oh, and Happy Father's Day.





I'm not really cranky, honest!

June 18, 2009

Call me Jade


This morning, I was listening to the radio, and there was random blather about how the son of David Bowie has a new movie coming out. They discussed how the young fellow has changed his birth name, Zoey Bowie, to the more normal Duncan Jones. (for obvious reasons, they say).

Which led to a conversation about David Bowie's real name, David Jones, for those who don't know. He changed it because, at the time, Davy Jones of The Monkees was popular, and so to avoid confusion... (now, in hindsight, could anyone *ever* confuse Davy Jones with David Bowie? I think not.)

Plus, Bowie is a more "sticky" word (as they say in advertising). I mean...you could say, "wow, the music of Jones..." and one might wonder "Quincy? Tom? Norah? Davy?" right? But say Bowie, and you know...ol' Ziggy Stardust himself. (Total aside...for some reason, Ziggy Stardust is one of the top keyword searches in Google that gets people to my blog...because of one random post where I named checked his glam self. So this oughta really bring 'em around!)

So, as I took this all in, I had a thought...you know, those rock star names work!

John Mellencamp? John Cougar!

Curtis Jackson? 50 Cent!

William Bailey? Axl Rose!

Declan McManus? Elvis Costello!

Patricia Andrejewski? Pat Benatar!

The list goes on. More here.

So then all the cogs and gears of my own mind started working overtime (ignore the smoke).

I need a rock star name.

Sure, those two years of (now defunct) guitar lessons might pay off! My rendition of Red River Valley is *flawless* and I can swing an acoustic axe with the best of the third graders.

Truly. My plain jane name needs a makeover.

So what's a normal named soul to do? Why take to the internets, of course!

And find and use a Rock Star Name Generator.

I'll admit, the first suggestion amused me not. Ellyn Carnes? No.

It doesn't have that "I trash hotel rooms" sound I'm looking for.

So I went again, and there it was.

My rock star name.

Perfect.


June 17, 2009

Stumped.


Well this kind of sucks.

I went to my random word generator, seeking blog ideas.

And it gives me a word that not only I don't know, but the Dictionary application on OS X doesn't know either.

The word is: eyne

Apparently, an archaic word meaning the plural of eye, oft used in poetry.

Or...a spot in France. But I think the word generator means the first definition.

The "complexity" chooser is set to "common". I wouldn't call eyne common.

Oh well.

Here we go:

But what do mine eyne see, but the fog of June gloom falling over me.

I can't seem to buy a sunny day here in the Bay Area. And it's depressing me. Today is windy and *cold* and, being of the desert, am not amused.

Then I keep reading NewMexiKen's top lists of books, and find I've only read a few.

And then this whole eyne issue.

Not one of my better days....


June 16, 2009

When they let me rule the world


You know, I'm sure those people in power are doin' the best they can, but I think...there could be improvements.

My "to do" list when they hand me the scepter and carte blanche to run the universe.



  1. Butter, heavy cream, sugar, simple carbs of all stripe and marbled red meat will become health foods. Vegetables, fruits, and fiber will be "forbidden" and will make you pale, wan, and cranky.

    On this plan, I will be supermodel skinny.

  2. Supermodels will be made illegal.

  3. Legal disputes will be handled using parenting styles from the 1950's. "Shame on you for punching your brother and shame on YOU for telling." Both parties get a swat on the 'tocks and are sentenced to digging postholes (or digging trench, judge's discretion).

  4. Teachers will make the salaries that current professional athletes make. Professional athletes will make the salaries that current teachers make.

  5. Joe Buck will get a sense of humor. Also Joe Buck and Tim McCarver don't get to call any more games. Ever. Any game. Regardless of sport or level. Ever. And I get to be the one to fire them. On the air. In the most humiliating fashion possible. And then they both have to go dig postholes and string a mile of barbwire fence.

  6. The knobsack at work who uses the Sharpies in the supply room, thus dulling the tip, then slips them back into the stack with the new pens will be *severely* chastised, up to and including termination. This is unacceptable behavior.

  7. The media will be held responsible for what they report. Fear mongering, blowing things out of proportion, and more than one mention of Brangelina (or similar) in a single day will result in severe disciplinary action.

  8. Work weeks will be two days long and weekends will be five days long. And we all get all the holidays off work. Cinco de Mayo? Yup. Yom Kippur? Indeed. Secretary's Day. Of course.

  9. If people need to take a sick day, they can take a sick day. No harm no foul, only support and backup. People are expected to take the time to take care of themselves.

  10. Wars and world disputes will be fought and decided by lining up plastic green army men behind dirt and sand "bunkers" on a playground located in neutral territory. Battle will continue until 1) all army men are lost in the sand, 2) the players are tired and hungry, after which a designated "mom" will make spaghetti for everyone and there will be a sleepover, and/or 3) both sides erupt in giggles and decide instead to play flag football.

  11. "I agree to respect your beliefs if you agree to respect my beliefs" will be the world religion. This will be mandatory.

  12. Anyone who is hungry will be able to eat. Anyone who is broke will be able to find a job. Anyone who is a knobsack will be ostracized until they can figure out how to treat people with respect.

  13. Cancer will be cured. HIV won't exist. Parkinson's will be dunzo. MS, over! Lou Gehrig's gone. COPD and Pulmonary Fibrosis, fughtettaboutit. And all other debilitating, unfair and unkind illnesses will be at thing of the past.

  14. Everyone gets a slice of cake, every day. With real buttercream frosting. And anyone who wants a corner piece can have it.

  15. This list will be subject to revision and change, by me, at any time, with no prior notice by the party of the first part, this agreement supercedes all previous agreements, Force Majeure is in effect, caveat emptor, ad hominem, e pluribus unum, carpe diem, and let's all have some fun, ai'ight?


June 15, 2009

Cranky pants!


Umpire ejects entire crowd during baseball game

I didn't even know Blue could ring up the crowd!

Wow, some of the stuff I holler at the umps during Single A San Jose Giants games shoulda got me run a LONG time ago!

Didja ever...


Have a meal so good, you actually missed it when it was gone?

Yesterday, The Good Man and I spent the morning on house clean up. We're still going through boxes and boxes of "combined home" items, getting rid of stuff, repacking, cleaning up storage, all of that.

By lunchtime, I was sweaty, my back hurt, and I was hungry. I had a hankering for a tasty sandwich, and remembered that a local spot, Max's, has a good offering.

I'll spare you all the gory details and cut to the chase. Max's serves up a very, very nice Reuben. I mean the kind with the perfectly toasted rye bread, melty cheese everywhere, tart sauerkraut, delicious salty corned beef and thick thousand island.

Oh yeah, baby!

Served with cucumber salad on the side, TGM and I dove in with gusto. So delicious.

When the feeding frenzy was over, bellies round as we pondered the world around us, the TGM said it, "that was good....I wish I'd eaten slower...I kind of miss it now."

Truth is...today, I still kind of miss that sandwich.

Now that there is the sign of some good eats.

I'm *certain* we both worked hard enough all morning to justify the outrageous calorie consumption...right....?


Didn't make the cut


For those wondering, I did not make the final 25 stories in the Tweet Me a Story contest finals.

No worries! It was fun and thanks again for all the votes!

And as they tell school children these days, EVERYONE is a winner!

It's just that *some* of us are, you know, less winner-y than others.


June 12, 2009

There's an art to it


One of my coworkers, a friend, actually, has been on an epic year-long journey to launch a new, company wide system. This is huge stuff...stressful, hours of work, and it went live yesterday.

That meant he had to stay at work very, very late last night to see this thing through with all the IT folks. A long night.

Being the kind, supportive coworker that I am, on my way out the door at 5:00, I stopped by and said, "Hey, *you* have fun tonight! Me? In about a half an hour I'm going to be drinking Sangria over a really good dinner."

My coworker looked up from his computer, and, peering over his glasses said, succinctly, "up yours," then turned back to work.

You know, you don't really hear a good "up yours" anymore these days.

In those two words, he told me off, steered clear of HR violations, and conveyed months of exhaustion.

Well done!

I think people have lost the talent of telling someone off. You get too many rambling diatribes ("you know what you are? You are a bunch of......"), too much eff word use ("effing muther effer eff eff eff"), too many attempts to make it into a deep insult ("yo mamma!")....it's all just unoriginal work.

I feel like the tell off is a lost art.

A clean, simple, well spoken "up yours!" conveys quite a bit.

As with many things, simplicity is elegant.


June 11, 2009

Random Sarcasm Generator


You know, when I was growing up, my mom always told me, "boys don't like girls with smart mouths."

Luckily, mom was wrong.

Plenty of boys liked me just like I am....most notably, The Good Man. (And yes, TGM, can show me a thing or two about being a smart ass).

So, feeling especially cranky today and still wiped out creatively from the latest round of the Tweet Me a Story contest, today, I'm going to continue to rely on a creative crutch.

Using the random blog idea generator from yesterday, here we go.

Random Ideas: The smart ass edition:

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Depends on where I'm looking.

Define faith.

While on an airplane, that moment just after you hear "whump" but right before the pilot says, "everything's all right folks."

10 things I'm pessimistic about

*sigh* I don't even think I could make it through three much less a list of ten....why even try?

Why do you feel you need to change?

Because I have sand in my shorts. I can *definitely* feel that. : tug :

Something that I enjoy doing for a friend...

Pointing and laughing.

10 things I learned at school *not* on the curriculum

My mother reads this blog. I can't tell you that.....

Plus, I streamlined most of my brain cells with the assistance of beer, so it's not like I can remember anything I learned anyway.

What was the question?

If you could follow someone around for one day (unseen), who would it be and why?

The police cleared me of those charges. I don't have to answer that.

Injustice in the world makes me feel...

Like the plotline to a bad superhero movie (take your pick, there has been so many in recent years).

Why should I be responsible?

I dunno. Wanna go get a beer?

10 things I believe in

I believe...I'll have a beer. Not sure I can get in 10, who's with me? (I'm looking at you, Emmett)

Do you feel underappreciated?

Only by the ungrateful.

I am going to make tomorrow different by...

Isn't tomorrow, by definition, different from today?

How have you changed recently?

Back to that sand in my shorts....


You know....I could do this all day.....


June 10, 2009

More blogtastic random fun


Well, the dearth of good ideas continues.

So instead of a random word today, I found a random blog topic generator.

Ok, so here's my assignment: "When I'm on top of the world..."

Well. So. Yeah.

Ok, here we go, a trickle of an idea, like rain on a dry riverbed.

Yep, here we go.

A memory.

When I was a kid, my folks owned land in Cuba, New Mexico. If you don't know where that is, go toward Jemez, and keep going.

The piece of land was rather undeveloped, up in the mountains, bumpy washed out dirt roads that required four wheel drive to get there. But get there we did.

Lots of camping in that Apache Pop Up Trailer I've spoken of before on these pages.

Good stuff. Cold fried chicken and marshmallows toasted over a piƱon wood fire. Very pretty and truly the beauty of the mountains of New Mexico.

Inevitably, we'd go hiking, plucking small cactus balls off pants legs the whole way. We'd do our best to hike to the very top of a pretty decent sized hill, then we'd sit on the ground and rest, eating gorp (for you young uns, that's what they used to call trail mix).

Being a brat, I'd always pick out the M&M's and raisins and leave the rest.

My mom, dad, brother, sister and I would sit and take in the view of the valley floor below, feel the wind across the sweaty brow, eat the gorp, and then, being the goofball I'm so proud to be, I'd usually begin a rousing chorus of...

Wait for it...

I'm on the
top of the world looking
down on creation
And the only explanation I can fiiiiiiiiind
Is the love that I've found
ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

(How much do I love The Carpenters?)

So, when I'm on top of the world......I sing. Badly.

There you have it!





(had to recycle that image. I love it so.)

June 9, 2009

The Password is:


Passion.

Ok, so today I found myself without a good idea for a blog entry.

Sure, I've been thinking a lot about the NewMexiKen post that said, essentially, that 5% of the active blogs out there have not actually been updated in the past 120 days.

That the vast majority of the time, people tend to start a blog and then abandon it.

So when I started this crazy thing on the suggestion of The Good Man, I made myself promise I'd keep up with it, and if I didn't, I'd shut 'er down.

Now, two years and over 600 posts later, I'm still doin' it. And I'll let you in on a secret...I like it. A lot.

Sometimes I read a post I wrote and I'm *diggin'* it. Of course, the ones I think are rock star posts are the ones that gain zero comments. Such is life.

Those times where I'm in the flow, where I’m making it work...yeah, I feel the passion, sure.

But this week I'm having a failure of ideas. It happens. It will pass. This is something I've learned. Let it go, it will return.

Today, I'm just not in the zone. So searching for inspiration, I decided I would hit a random word generator, take the first word it gave me, and make that the basis for a post.

So I did. (In case you need a random word for yourself, you can grab one here)

The first word I got was passion.

I cringed, I winced, I wanted to go back and grab another word, but then...that would be cheating.

So...passion.

A blog post about passion.

A Google search yielded the expected...couples therapy, some sex toys, and way too many entries about a Mel Gibson movie I never saw (and won't).

So I went over to images, and found the one at the end of this post.

And there you have it. It ties in both passion and blogging.

How tidy. THAT appeals to my OCD!

And that's how you keep that blog passion burning. Boom, baby!




Cartoon found at gapingvoid.com (good stuff, I recommend!)

Thank you!


To all who voted for my stories in the Tweet Me a Story contest: a huge, sincere, and humble

THANK YOU!

I made it to the finals round!! 100 writers comprise the finals.

We write again on Wednesday, judges will pick the top 25 stories and voting begins on Thursday.

I have my work cut out for me! This finals round will be tough.

I seriously appreciate the votes and the help and the friendship and I'll keep you posted if I manage to make it into the final voting round.

Woooot!



June 8, 2009

Monday awaits


A quote. It suits me for today. A rallying cry, I think.

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too; "

-- If: A Father's Advice to His Son by Rudyard Kipling

Read the rest here.

June 7, 2009

How you view the world through your own eyes


Lately, there is a lot going on in my life. Starting with some insecurity about where my job stands, given the merger. Yeah, the place where I spend most of my weekdays is like standing on shifting sands.

Then there is the economy, as I warily look at the balance of my retirement account.

Turning 40, and looking at what this next era in my life looks like (along with looking at the balance on my retirement account, ay yi yi!)

And a lot of at home personal stuff, too.

So lately, I've become like a broken record. I say to The Good Man, "I'm overwhelmed" when presented with a new problem. "I'm overwhelmed" when I have to make a big decision. "I’m overwhelmed," when we try to sort out our calendar of all the events and friends and appointments and to do's.

I had kind of a bad week last week, and by Friday I was not in a great mental place. Saturday morning, I'd had a good night's sleep and things were better, but I was still on the verge. A couple tears over my morning pancakes and some heavy sighing over coffee.

On the way home from breakfast, The Good Man and I went to the local drug store to pick up a few items.

I was completely in my own head standing in line, just desperately wanting to get through the store and go home, be away from all of humanity. Just...shut down.

The lady in front of me in line was having some conversation with the clerk that wasn't going anywhere, and so there I stood, rolling my eyes, waiting, tapping my foot, etc.

I listened in trying to figure out what the problem was. This elderly lady was waving a piece of paper at the probably nineteen-year old clerk, "My son needs these things, this is what I need...." she said, desperately.

The clerk was looking at her like she'd sprung a second head. "Did you call in for that?"

She replied "my son...he wrote this down just now....I need these things!"

The clerk looked at her list, "Coffeemate, that's over in the freezer section," he said, waving distractedly and shooing her away.

She shuffled off, muttering, "I need these things...."

I paid for my stuff, and as I left the store, I saw the woman pleading with another clerk, and getting more frustrated and disoriented.

As we walked to the car, I told TGM, "I'm worried about that lady."

He asked me if I wanted to go back and help her.

I waffled. Sadly, most of the time, it's better not to get involved. Best to just go on about your day. But something about this woman really got to me.

We went back inside. I didn't see her immediately, so we went over toward the freezer section. She wasn't there, either.

So we turned and walked a few aisles.

I found her, standing in another aisle, completely lost, eyes wide, and she was frantic. She looked about like I did the first time I entered Times Square, only way less excited and eight times as scared.

She held out her piece of paper to me and said, so plaintively, "Can you help me?"

"Yes, I can," I said, and she visibly relaxed.

TGM and I helped her get the items on her list while and got her to the cash register. Then we took our leave and went on about our way.

But the rest of the day, I couldn't stop thinking about that lady.

She clearly needs help, needs not to be wandering out in the world alone. She's reached that point in her life where she can't do it herself anymore.

I have been saying so much lately, "I'm overwhelmed," and I am, but I'm not so overwhelmed with my life that going to a neighborhood drug store in the suburbs makes me feel wide eyed and frantic.

Maybe, seeing her terrified eyes (honestly, the look on her face is a memory that will never leave me), was like looking in a mirror for me, but it was also a wake up call.

I'm not downgrading what I'm feeling, what's going on inside me is real, but sometimes, and this is a weird feature of human nature, having a comparison to know that one, you are not alone, and two, you could be in a worse spot, is healing.

I sure do hope that lady found her way home ok.



June 4, 2009

Office Archeology


You know, you work in an office environment for forty hours (or more) a week, and you start to become immune to your surroundings. Same gray walls, same tan carpet, same beige cubicle wall fabric.

However, when you are new, you tend to notice the odd stuff laying about, but being new, you don't say anything for fear of sticking out like a sore thumb.

So you go along to get along...but you wonder. Oh you wonder.

Today, I had all my afternoon meetings wiped off the ol' calendar, and found myself with some time on my hands (a very dangerous thing for a mind such as mine).

So I went on a walkabout to document some of the more puzzling items I find about my new office environment.

Put on your Indiana Jones hat and join me, won't you, as we engage in an office archeology and sociology expedition.

Let's just begin with the number one item that perplexes me on a daily basis.





It's a pair of keys that go to a cable that secures a laptop against theft.

They are lying atop of a bank of filing cabinets that line a well-traveled thoroughfare at work. Meaning, these aren't in a cube, they are actually far from anyone's cube home, laying by the main doors to our floor.

I always ponder...WHO owns these? Do they know they are missing? Is there a laptop somewhere that is forever shackled to a piece of modular furniture with no means of escape? OH THE FUTILITY!

Seven months I've been here and these keys haven't moved a centimeter. I often wonder how long they were there before I found them. Every day, there they sit.

Along the same lines of "something left on a bank of filing cabinets", we have this:





I hear you saying, "What's weird about that, Karen? It's a stapler!"

Yes. Yes it is. A high capacity stapler. Yup. You could affix about 50 to 75 pages together with that big guy.

It's sitting on a public thoroughfare, on top of cabinets that are at least chest high (and I’m fairly tall), so you can't even get good leverage to push the handle to make the staple.

And the location is very, very far away from any copy room, copy machine, printer or other such device (it is right outside of a conference room, actually).

I mean, one of these high capacity staplers sits in every copy room. I've checked all the copy rooms on the floor, they all have one, so this guy isn't lost or misplaced.

I have never seen a single person use this nice stapler.

There it sits. Lost and forlorn, unable to be useful for anyone's stapling needs.

All alone. Maybe I should introduce it to the keys?

Ok, on to the stairwell. I happen to sit a floor above my boss and the rest of my team, so this stairwell is very, very well traveled.

Wait, what's this?





Let's go in a little closer, shall we?





Oh, it's just a bit of rubbish, right? A bit of a Heath bar wrapper. Yup. What's odd there?

One of our coworkers had a bag of mini-Heath bars in his office that was descended upon by office vultures. Sure, no biggie. Janitorial will just get that when they sweep the stairwell.

Trouble is...we haven't had Heath bars in the office for TWO months. At least. Maybe longer. And I guess janitorial doesn't sweep the stairwell because that bit of wrapper has been there for those two months, not moving a hair's breadth to the left or the right.

Plus, I think it might have been me that dropped it, I'm not sure. I do remember a bad day where I was madly unwrapping and gobbling mini-Heaths as I stomped up the stairs, mad at my boss.

I keep thinking this wrapper will go away, but no, it's become part of the landscape. (I know, I know...I *could* pick the damn thing up myself)

Ok, from the stairwell, let's move on to the copy/supply room. Nothing odd there right? Paper products, binder clips, sticky notes, highlighters, and these:





Big deal, right? Simply those Vis a Vis dry erase pens that you use for overhead transparencies. No big deal, an office necessity, right?

Well...except that every conference room in the building has the kind of overhead projector where you hook up a laptop, not the old fashioned push a slide on there and write on it kind.

No one uses clear transparent slides anymore. As far as I can tell, they haven't for some time here.

And we have a full stock of pens.

So you say, "oh fine, those are just leftovers". Sure, I agree. No big deal. I took a couple packs for use at home (nice fine point pens! Yes!).

And this week, I notice the stock has been replenished.

For pens that no one uses.

Hmm.

Ok, big finish.

Despite the fact there is MUCH more that I could document here, I'll draw to a close with the piece de resistance, the coup de gras, and some other French phrases I can't think of but are probably fitting....

We have to go to the thirteenth floor for this one.

Here we go:





It is probably hard to see from the crappy iPhone photo, but that there is your standard office environment exit sign. But on the left of the sign is a clingy sticker thing that portrays...the bones of the human foot.

Now sure, we are a biotech company and interested in medical things...but we don't do anything that involves feet. At all.

I have NO idea why the foot is on the exit sign or what it means? Is this some puzzle from employees past? Are they telling me to beat feet for the exit? Are they saying, "walk on!" Am I being told to think on my feet or I'll be made to exit?

WHAT!?! What are you telling me? Speak to me, wise ancestors! I have to knooooooow!

Ok, I'm getting whipped up, so that must mean that's enough for today's scientific analysis.

Join us next time when we'll explore "that stain on the cube wall" and "storage room, from dust bunnies to gold".

Thank you, and good night.

June 3, 2009

Overheard on the elevator


Two women talking, one noticeably pregnant.

First woman: "I'm telling you, get the massage oil, have your husband rub it on your belly. It's very relaxing and helps with stretch marks. Plus, you know, it's very bonding."

Pregnant woman: : cynical laugh : "Oh trust me, we're not bonding."

Yikes!

Stages: Circling the Drain


If you've worked in a corporate environment, you've no doubt had the opportunity to watch one of your coworkers go through the progress of becoming ever more disenchanted and eventually leaving.

Things are pretty wacky around my own employer these days. Times are strange since the merger, so we're seeing a lot of bad behavior.

There is the coworker who, on Friday, was in the employee directory, and on Monday, wasn't. No one knows what happened. After sixteen years at this company, he was just...gone.

There was also the senior manager guy with a whole set of direct reports who suddenly no longer has direct reports. He is listed as a peer to the people he once managed.

Weird.

Right now, I have a good friend, mentor and coworker who is going through the "stages"...he's on the path toward "I've had enough!"

So with that in mind, here's my unofficial, opinion oriented, based on experience, stages of the descent of a corporate minion.

Stage One: Grumbling.

"This place is so strange, I don't understand why (boss) has to manage like that." This stage is characterized by a slight uptick in the complaining about the job. I mean, we ALL complain about the job, but this is taking it to a new, higher level, with some unconvincing, "I should find a new job" statements thrown in.

Basically, the disenchanted is still in the game, still meeting deadlines, still doing the work, but is starting to think about doing something different. This is like picking at the edge of a scab, really. Just picking and picking but not serious about it. The grumbling stage includes a lot of thinking, "Can I make this work?" and "I've been here a long time" and "Maybe things will improve."

Stage Two: Misbehaving.

If the grumbling progress continues, things ratchet up and become tinged with a bit more emotion. Anger, frustration and acting out become obvious. Could be an, "I can't believe he said that" comment from a meeting where the disgruntled shot their mouth off on something, could be missing a "mandatory" all hands event, could be missing a deadline. Enough to get noticed, but not enough to get fired.

At this stage, the disgruntled begins thinking seriously about looking for another job. They usually start by looking at other open jobs within the same company. May even go so far as to navigate over to Monster.com and Craig's List to see if there is even anything interesting outside the company.

At this stage, the disgruntled usually stops just short of actually updating their resume and, usually, aren’t happy with job opportunities found elsewhere, so they decide to hang in there a bit longer to see if things improve.

Stage Three: Actively acting out.

Characterized by coming in late consistently, leaving early, disappearing for large parts of the day, distracted in meetings, more impassioned discussion of looking for another job, and complaints about "this place," followed by mentions of actual job openings at other companies.

Resume has been pulled up in Word, updates are being made, daily searching the job sites. Asking friends for leads. Making rumblings among close coworkers that he's looking. Trying to find allies that are also looking, or trying to convince others to join him in the job search.

Pretty serious, but yet, could be convinced to stay with a little management intervention, a little love, a little promise of something more.

This is usually where the disgruntled invites a trusted friend to lunch offsite and runs down a list of grievances and confesses they have had it. They are looking for a job. The case is laid out, discussed, asked "do you think it will get better?" Lots of "this is ridiculous" statements issued.

Sometimes, this is where the disgruntled will receive a surprise bonus or promotion or similar, and this puts them back at state one or less...at least for a while.

So this is the stage where my friend is hovering. Actively looking, actively disgruntled, been to several offsite lunches, discussing the merits of job opportunities at other companies. Then again, we are actually due for a mid-year review and bonus, so we'll see.....

Stage Four: Stealth.

The disgruntled is not only actively looking, he's got a few leads. Maybe even calling in sick here and so they can go interview. Something may be happening, so it's time to pipe down. Many people (especially boss-type people) often confuse stealth with a move back to stage one. Easily confused, certainly.

The disenchanted person may be coming in on time again, but if you look close, they aren't really working that hard, aren't volunteering to take on new projects, may be handing off work to coworkers. They want to leave on a good note and are feeling optimistic that something is about to change. Mood has improved. Complaining a bit less. Laughing at all the boss' jokes.

Stage Five: Poking the Tiger.

Not everyone gets to stage five. Many people get to stage four, find another job, and leave. They leave on good terms, shake hands with the boss and go off to a new gig with a fresh look of optimism in their eyes.

Those that can't find another job or aren't motivated enough to find another job move into the phase where they start stirring the sh*t. Oh yes, they are too timid to actually *do* something themselves, they want someone to do it for them. Passive aggressive.

So they start actively missing deadlines and meetings and coming in late and not even pretending like they care about the work. They may even speak insultingly or say stuff that's not cool. They openly challenge people to say something. They aren't just picking away at the scab, they are making new wounds.

At this point, the boss may actually realize they have a performance problem on their hands, and put the disgruntled on a performance action plan. This either spurs the disgruntled to find another job...or, bad attitude continues until the end of the performance plan and the inevitable happens.

Or, some powerless bosses still won't take action, and they let the employee keep flailing away.

Often the employee will finally just up and quit. Sometimes in a blaze of glory "this is part of company folklore" kind of way.

Sometimes, the disgruntled poking-the-tiger guy gets weary, still lacking any self-starting behavior, becomes stuck in place, and they just pipe down and keep doing the job. These people become the "retired in place" completely useless employee, the guy who just can't get fired and just won't quit, so he sucks down company resources until retirement.

We've all known one of those, haven't we?


June 2, 2009

Rock your Vote!


Hello party people! I could use a bit of your help, please.

I participated in something called "Tweet Me a Story" contest from the great group of folks over at NYCMidnight (they do film and story contests and are a lot of fun).

This is how it works, there were 500 writers placed into 25 groups. We were all assigned a word that had to be used in a 140 character story. Each writer was allowed to enter three stories.

Judges chose the top 15 stories from each of the 25 groups, and then posted those stories online for voting.

I had the amazing luck to have two of my stories go through!

To help me out and cast your vote, go HERE or cut and paste this link:

http://www.nycmidnight.com/2009/tweet/firstround.htm

I am in Group 3 - flying

My stories are 7th down and 11th down on the list.

Or to go straight to the voting page for my group: here

You are, of course, welcome to vote for whichever stories you like...

The stories that get the top 5 votes are able to go on and compete in the next round.

Every vote counts and thank you in advance!




I am Karen Fayeth, and I approve this message. This post sponsored by the Give the Girl a Chance campaign!

June 1, 2009

That is a very bad day


"A car traveling on a motorway in Switzerland lost all four wheels simultaneously..."

Needle in the haystack


Hoo boy, today is going to be a long day. I'm in a *freak out* mode at work.

I'm still pretty new to this job and I've been asked to "throw together a slide deck" to present to the senior leadership.

"Throw together"....uh, sure.

I *think* this is a chance for my boss to get me in front of the big bosses. So that's a good thing, yeah?

However...the content of this little ol' presentation hasn't been well defined. Actually, I think it's a bit of a test, let's give the new girl some vague thoughts, make her run a bunch of reports and see what she does with it.

Ugh.

This is a VERY numbers oriented company. My last job wasn't; they were all about the "gut feel." I am rather anxious to make a good impression, but rather nervous about all these data points. I mean I *can* do a numbers analysis...I'm just a bit out of practice (at my old job, I "had people" who did this for me, fer goodnesssakes!).

And the hell of it is...I am not sure exactly what I am looking for. I have 12,000 lines on an Excel spreadsheet that I could cut a thousand different ways.

So I'm soothsaying here. I'm trying to intuit what, exactly, my senior management wants to hear.

Oh hell, I'm sure I'll get it wrong. I should just embrace that and move on.

Maybe once I've got some iffy content on there, I'll choose instead to make the PowerPoint pretty, full of graphics and cool twirling transitions and flashing images.

What's that ol' marketing saying? "Sell the sizzle and not the steak."

Meanwhile, I continue looking for that elusive needle in the haystack.

Ugh!


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Creative Commons License
All content of Oh Fair New Mexico by Karen Fayeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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