Monday, March 30, 2009

Mover and Shaker

Big week here in Nashville…well, that is, if you’re me – if you’re not me, I can’t say for sure how your week will be. Or whether you'll be in Nashville - take charge of your own destiny on that!

Today and tomorrow at the office, we’re wrapping up the quarter, which means we’re packaging content – I won’t go into the boring details, but suffice it to say, we’re at risk for repetitive stress injury from using the mouse for eight hours non-stop. On the bright side, my boss is bringing in pizza tomorrow. If I'm up to it, I may bring in dessert. Just to be nice. And so that we have dessert.

Tonight, I have Zumba. I am looking forward to shaking off some crunchiness in my shoulders (see above for cause). Once I get home, I get to watch a brand new episode of How I Met Your Mother. And then they’ll go into reruns for a bit, then…MAY SWEEPS!

Tomorrow I need to focus in on getting the house in shape and laundering, folding and putting away clothes with wild abandon. It’s also payday! Yeah!

Wednesday is normally a 10-7 but not this week, so – I may try to run an errand at lunch and find my mother a birthday present as she turns 65 this week – which means in no time at all, Matt and I will be turning 35. Ouch. I still think of myself stuck at 27. Why 27? Why not?

Thursday, we interrupt my regularly scheduled Zumba for something enormous – in several senses of the word. I’m getting a haircut. I finally narrowed the date down – I haven’t had one since December. I’m sure my stylist wouldn’t approve. But with the haircut comes the all-critical scalp massage. I’m thinking of asking her to cut my dreads into a wedge, which sounds dated – a la Dorothy Hamill. But the fact is, I have a picture I want her to use, and miracle of miracles, it’s actually a photo of my hair, taken within the last 12 months. So! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, naysayers!

That brings us to Friday, where I suck it up and work my monthly ration of a Friday 10-7. As bad luck would have it – right after the schedule got made, I received notice of a meeting up in the mountains. So Friday AM, I'll pack up the Echo, head to the office and finish up my five day grind. Then late Friday, I’ll make my way over the river, through the woods and across these many miles to get to Atlanta – scheduled arrival around 1AM ET. I’ll sleep in, get up, breakfast with the folks, then get back in the car, head over the river and through a different set of woods to get to the cabin. We’re meeting at 3:30 PM ET, and once we adjourn, I’ll get back in the car, head back through the woods, over the river and to my parents house again. Dinner with them, sleep and then head back up to Nashville, where I will wonder where my weekend went. To say nothing of the tread on my tires.

Don’t get me wrong – it’ll be good to see my parents, given that I haven’t seen them since the first week of February. It’ll be good to harass their pugs by giving them what I like to call “The Grapefruit Squeezer” – wherein I use my hand as though it were holding a half grapefruit and I use their faces as the juicer. It’s fun. They seem to enjoy it.

It will really be good to get to the mountains. I haven’t been since our vacation in October, and I’ve missed it. Although, it ends up being nothing but sitting in a meeting – to be fair, it’s better to sit in a meeting on Alan Pitts’ porch than in a conference room, but as they say – it is what it is.

It will suck balls to drive what ends up being easily 700 miles in less than a 48 hour period. I may take myself to the mall for a treat – mama needs a new pair of shoes. Actually, Mama needs several new pairs of shoes, but is willing to settle for one…black sandals. Badly needed – mine for the past three years are badly worn and don’t need to see the light of day this year.

That’s the week as I see it. I need a nap!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I got plenty of nothin'

Even when I don't have anything especially interesting to share, I can usually pluck something that's blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

Today, I can't think of a damn thing.

Well, I will tell you that Easter may end up down in the ATL after all. Mom and Dad have realized what a hassle it is to get here (no, really?) so we may take Lola and go there. Which would completely f up my dinner party plans, or maybe delay them a few weekends, sans parents.

Had fun at a baby shower for a co-worker this weekend - the hostesses did a great job - it was very girly and fun - and I mean that in the best way. I only wish I had worn something cuter and was fifty pounds thinner.

Ran into a Zumba buddy at the library today - looking forward to the 7:30 with Cacilda tomorrow. Lorenza is great, but I need my Bossa Nova "warmdown" to get Monday started.

We went bowling down in Franklin last night with some of the young people - had a great time. I do love my social life here in Middle Tennessee.

And that's really that.

I am hoping that Mom and Dad will come here for Easter, especially since I have combed the entire metro area for chenille chicks to put on a cake:
I currently have three sizes and four colors. I must have a cake or I forfeit the right to use the chicks til next Easter. Look at those sad, beady little eyes. I can't hurt them... I just can't!

Oh well. Patience.

On second thought, I guess I did come up with a little something after all.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Perspective? Never heard of it.

So, once again, last night at Zumba, attack of the clueless.

These four sweet young things - college-aged, thin, tan and oblivious walked into class -which was PACKED to begin with, five minutes late and inserted themselves in front of me. Directly in front of me - and proceeded to laugh at their dance moves, chat with each other, block my already limited view of the instructor and GET IN MY WAY for 40 minutes. One of them hit me while flailing, and apologized, but then got right in the way again.

What I kept thinking is - these girls are in shape and healthy, and they're impeding my progress - and my life depends on this class - not just emotionally, but physically - as the daughter of a diabetic heart patient, it's critical that I get moving and keep up my heart rate. They're just going to head back to the KKG house and polish their pearls, eat a pizza then barf it up.

Ok - that's not fair and I know it. KKGs aren't bulimics - that's the Chi Os. I kid, I kid - all houses have girls with eating disorders*.

I was grumbling to one of my pals in class who found them as annoying as I do - she's a nice young woman, aged 17 - she and her mother do the class together - her Mom looks so young, I thought they were roommates when I met them. Anyway, Dylan, the daughter, was right there with me bitching about these girls. It's not that their youth pissed me off - it's their basic ignorance that was killing me. I finally confided to Dylan that I must be prejudiced against skinny people and she laughed. Dylan is awesome.

But that's really not it. I don't begrudge anyone their physique - what I hate is people who are so self-obsessed that they forget that other people are sharing the planet with them.

I fully acknowledge that I MUST CHILL - but at the same time, come on!

It's like the people who talk during movies, the officemates who leave their cellphones ringing at full volume (with cheesy 80's ringtones), and people who don't flush in the bathrooms.

I guess part of me is jealous because I'm so self-conscious. I would never think of walking in late, or if I did - I'd slink apologetically to the back of the room.

On the upside, I got a killer workout, got to see lots of folks - and I realized that I have lots of cool workout buddies. But if Caitlin, Ansley, Libby and Marissa** get in the way next time, I'm going to....

Probably bitch about it and do nothing. Ah well...

*I have no real bias against sororities, having been in one. I will tell you that Chi O cut me right away (and I hear their skit round was LAME) - I went back to Kappa Kappa Gamma second round, where they used summer as a verb. And since I summered in the express checkout lane at Harry's, that was that. Their skit was pretty awesome though.

**Not their real names, as far as I know...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where do we begin?

When I need a little pick-me-up from the rigors of daily living, I find that show tunes offer a good cure.

In fact, they’re sort of the ultimate feeling of positive reinforcement.

When I was in Middle School, I came to a theory that at the beginning of most musicals – there is what I called “the complaint song” – a song that outlines the “problem” that will be resolved or at least, addressed within the confines of the show.

This theory isn’t exactly rocket science and of course, I came to learn that good stories have a conflict and resolution. At the time though, I thought I was a freaking wunderkind.

So anyway, the showtune has become my way of acknowledging challenges and assorted bullshit.

Specifically, I draw frequently from Avenue Q – and not just the complaint song - “It Sucks to be Me”, which features the following verse:

When I was little, I thought I would be/
A big comedian on Late-Nite TV/
But now I'm thirty-two and as you can see/
I'm not. Nope. Oh well/
It sucks to be me. It sucks to be me/
It sucks to be broke and unemployed/
And turning thirty-three/
It sucks to be me...

Maybe I'm revealing a little too much of myself with that one - it's great, but equally good are
"There’s a Fine, Fine Line” and the completely perfect “For Now”.

How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying? Well, from that show, my self-validation song is “I Believe in You”. Sung as often as needed. The day I resigned at Best Access, that played on the radio when I got in my car to go home. I sang that one a lot when I was at Imagination. My favorite lyric, “…and when my faith in my fellow man all but falls part – I’ve but to feel your hand grasping mine, and I take heart…I take heart.”

La Cage Aux Folles provides me the following affirmation, “Life’s not worth a damn, til you can say, ‘Hey world, I am what I am!’”

The two that keep coming to mind these past few days are from the same song in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: “Life is random and unfair. Life is Pandemonium” and “Where do we begin? The best spellers don’t necessarily win.”

From Wicked: “It's not about aptitude, it's the way you're viewed, so it's very shrewd to be, very, very popular like ME!”

There are others I love – from Annie Get Your Gun – “I Got the Sun in the Mornin’ and the Moon at Night” – the Ethel Merman version, of course.

From Into the Woods, “I Know Things Now” and “Any Moment”.

From Caberet, “Don’t Tell Mama”.

Everything from Drowsy Chaperone and South Pacific…

I miss the Broadway Channel on Sirius – we gave that up last year – but Pandora does a good job replacing it. Although – for GOD’s sake – not everyone just loooooooves Phantom of the Opera and Rent. Sheesh!

That’s all. For now…

Everything in life is only for now.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring has Sprung

It's that time of year again. I completely blanked on the Vernal Equinox - the illustration at the top of the Google homepage is what finally clued me in late yesterday afternoon.

Today marked the first day of a season favorite of mine - the bunnies at Phillips Toy Mart. Last year, our plans to make an outing of it were thwarted by my snowphobia and then by our delayed arrival on their last day at the store.

Every year, for the benefit of kids and kids-at-heart they do a display featuring live bunnies and each year, it has a theme. The first year I saw it, the theme was Hillbilly Bunnies. It featured a large front porch with a still which claimed to make carrot juice. Great fun. Last year, the theme was Mexican, and the bunnies had a huge wooden sombrero to climb in and out of.

This year, it was set up like a fireworks stand - advertisting carrot bombs, romaine candles, etc. Sebastian and Alex joined me and Matt for some fun with bunnies.

We then had a late lunch, a quick browse through FYE and then off to Las Paletas for a little frozen goodness and finally to Sevier Part for some badminton and frisbee time.

Basically, a great way to start Spring with friends.

And thankfully, my friends are willing to go along with my folly.
I also announce with much joy, that we have our own wild bunny hanging out in our backyard. Lola has yet to notice.
Life is good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wow, that's go on!

So much to tell you, and none of it all that interesting.

I went to WalMart yesterday in search of cheap work clothes. I ended up buying cheap Zumba clothes instead. Well, really - I needed them - I got a pair of workout "Bermuda Shorts" courtesy of Danskin - they're black, boring and will show off my pale legs with all their scars glistening in the fluorescent studio light. But they'll also be cooler, and as the warmer months approach, they'll be good - enough coverage of the parts I need to conceal, but with enough ventilation so I don't pass out. I also bought two t-shirts - one for work, one for workouts - the workout shirt has a bright floral/paisleyish pattern crawling down the side and seems like something Carmen Miranda would have picked out. Assuming that Carmen was a full-figured 34 year-old WalMart shopper. With a limited budget.

I need to stop shopping there - I've read and watched so many stories about how terrible they are. And I know...I know. They don't deserve my business. But Target has stopped carrying things I can actually wear - the size isn't the issue - it's that the quality and asthetics are pitiful. K-Mart is a mixed bag, and Academy Sports doesn't carry workout gear in my size - which means if I want something, I shop in Men's - which is counterproductive - I am learning that if I wear stuff that isn't baggy and floppy, I can see my movements better and I just feel better altogether. And I stop perceiving myself as baggy and floppy. Frumpy is overrated.

To that end, haircut time is coming soon! I have an appointment for April 2nd - 7PM. Right before I drive down to Atlanta for the weekend - which means I will have killer hair for our club meeting at Soque. And that's critical. Because if my hair's a mess, the fact that I actually know Robert's Rules of Order is for naught.

So, in reality, I have two weeks to decide what I want from this haircut - which, at the end of it, will probably look like every haircut I've had for the past, what, three or four years? I can't help it - my hair is tricky, I don't like spending time on it, and ultimately, I need enough of it to have a decent hair/face ratio. I have been able to wean myself off the headbands, which means I have to actually work out ways to keep it out of my face. Today, it's a barrette. It probably isn't gorgeous, but the ability to see my computer...worth it.

Tonight is the Zumba class with Lorenza. She seems to be most popular with the uber-thin, ultra-hip twentysomethings - she's part fly girl, part drill instructor - her class is big on cardio, light on samba. I've decided that Mondays are for pleasure, Thursdays are for pain. But - either way, I sweat profusely, so it's all good.

We had a particularly good CrockPot dinner last night - I added chipotle peppers packed in adobo and it totally worked. We'll do that again soon!

And that, is that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Move it or Lose it

As a woman of size, I am constantly aware of the space I occupy. On planes, at sporting events, in restaurant booths – I am just sensitive to the fact that I take up a little more room than skinnier people. I confided recently to some female friends that I often walk into a group setting and assess whether I’m the biggest female there, only to find I’m not alone in that behavior. And these women are medium-sized, so you can only imagine how ridiculous we are all being.

All that to preface my experience in Zumba class last night.

The class wasn’t especially overcrowded, so I took a spot in the second row and right of center. In walks a new student and creates a new row for herself between me and the front row. I understand that when you’re new, you’ll want to be near the front of the space to see and copy the instructor, but she was completely in my space. And since she didn’t know the moves, I was constantly on the verge of mowing her down or taking her out with a broad stroke arm movement.

Every time I moved back to give her some room, she seemed to follow.

Again, as a larger woman, I am always conscious of my place in the universe, but I felt like a planet with a moon in my gravitational pull. She was an indecently skinny woman, in, I’d guess her mid 40’s. I don’t have anything against skinny people – but she was kind of skeletal and brittle looking. And say what you will – fat though I am, I do have a good sense of grace and movement in the class, and I was definitely getting the choreography last night. This woman looked like she was a Rock’em Sock’em Robot – and a vaguely defective one, at that.

Add to that, she was probably a perfectly normal looking woman until she decided to henna her hair. You know the color I’m talking about - it turned her probably normal brown hair into an unnatural and unattractive magenta. Yes, magenta: – normal enough to wear in a workplace, but definitely not a color found in nature. I really wish that if women felt they had to dye their hair, they’d at least take into account their skin tone, and the hair colors complementing that tone. She was a very pale woman, and so the magenta was definitely wearing her – she wasn’t wearing it.

During a water break, I confided to a friend in my class that if this woman got up in my space ONE MORE TIME – I was going to start throwing elbows.

Of course, she continued to stumble through the moves and get sucked into my orbit. It was still a good class, and I guess the effect of dodging incompetency added a few more calorie burning steps into my routine.

Still, if she’s in there next Monday, I’ll be on the other side of the room. And if she follows, I'll politely tell her that if she gets in my way, I will not be held accountable for any damage.

Big girls have to look out for themselves, too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Miscellany

1. I desperately need a haircut. It's getting ridiculous. But at the same time, I am not feeling much like spending money on something that banal and fleeting. Too bad we can't get Matt's clippers out and give me a nice short summer cut. Well, we could, but... I wasn't meant to wear a buzzcut.

2. Great weekend with the cousins-in-law. There is something kind of fun about showing people around Nashville - as I explained to them - Matt provides facts, I offer color commentary. Add to that a few great dinners and you have a successful weekend. It didn't hurt that they seemed to really take to Lola. She has mellowed into a nice little family dog.

3. Because we had family coming to town, Matt and I gave the place a thorough cleaning and it looks great. Which is good - Easter will be here soon, and the tribal elders are allegedly going to grace us with their presence. I am starting to dream up a dinner menu for their visit. One thing is certain - devilled egss will be involved.

4. In re: #3 - we've had company two weekends in a row - and both times, one of the guests has described our home as "warm". Granted, we do put the heat up a little if others are coming over - but they meant more emotionally warm than physically. I'm glad - because that is certainly what you hope for when you put your lebensraum stogether. Maybe it's a hodgepodge, and for sure we need more seating, but it's definitely a home and it feels like us.

5. I am so tired, it's all I can do not to close my eyes at my desk and take a 2 hour power nap. After work, there's dinner, laundry and Zumba, and after Zumba, there's a shower and some more laundry, How I Met Your Mother and then, glorious, lovely, spectacular sleep. If I didn't desperately need to get laundry in order, I'd skip that, and TV and a shower and just throw my sweaty, post-Zumba carcass into bed.

6. The weather continues to confound and irritate. I need some sunshine and warm weather. Stat.

7. I also could use some clothes. It's that time of year - I just need a few tops and a pair or 2 of pants to get through the next few months.

8. My husband continues to impress me with his generosity and kindness. Yesterday, while hanging out in Hillsboro Village, we started chatting with a homeless man - when he revealed he didn't want money, but could use something to eat, Matt walked over to Domino's with him and bought the guy a sandwich (that's all he wanted...a sandwich). Matt is a good man - and not that I wouldn't have done it and not that I'm surprised Matt did - but it's just more proof what a good life we have and how lucky we are.

9. Confidential to Jennifer Aniston - two thoughts - one; take a little break from the dating scene. Please. Two; when you come back ready to date - don't pick a celeb. Pick an average nice guy who will treat you like a princess. Sure, Brad was a fool, Angelina is driving me nuts with her amazing technicolor offspring, but I'm tired of seeing you on all the tabloid covers with your dating-life disasters. Pull it together!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Go away!

It's raining, sleeting and spitting the occasional snowflake today. I'd give anything to be piled under some eiderdown with a warm beverage at the ready.

My throat hurts, which is what happens when the weather goes from 81 to 35 as the high in a matter of 24 hours. Plus, it's a job hazard, but I talk a lot. Like... a lot. Yesterday, 2 sessions at two hours apiece - and another today. It starts to wear on you - especially when you have to carefully choose each word and when you lose you place you can't say, "Aw, fuck! What was I saying?"

And today, I get this inane e mail about how someone microwaved something stinky in the front kitchen and please don't do that.

I think e mails like that ought to be outlawed - but that the ones telling you to get your scummy coffee mugs out of the sink are OK. Mostly because food smells don't bother me but scum water is skeezy.

Hell, at Harry's, back in the day, I rang up things that might make mere mortals heave. Assorted fish heads, par exemple - in a bag of drippy ice.

I'd like to leave those on Mr. Anal-about-Smells' desk. Oy vey.

I did not end up with any hamantaschen, but I did get to tell all the good Baptist folk in my office about Esther yesterday. They need a little more exposure to the OT.

I've been trying to live the Carmen Miranda Lifestyle - aka - the South American Way - and it's moderately easy, though, let's be honest - I have no desire to take the 6:30 Zumba tonight - as it's very largely hip-hop and makes my shins ache.

And the weather is crap, and I'm tired. So...tonight, it's dinner with the man I love, watch a little Netflix and early to bed - I have the 7AM duty tomorrow. Ouch.

Even Carmen had her limits.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Escolha sua própria aventura!

In taking my own advice, I read the book of Esther last night. And one correction – she was a Queen - not a Princess. Mea culpa.

Also, she and all the other ladies in contention for Xerxes’ affection were treated to a year-long beauty ritual which involved a special diet and six months of massages with myrrh, another six month of massages with scented oils. Personally, I kind of like the sound of that. It almost sounds like the Old Testament version of “The Bachelor”. Esther got the final rose. Well, there is nothing new under sun, or so says Ecclesiastes. And no, I’m not turning into some religious scholar, but it is kind of interesting, n’est ce-pas?

In other thoughts for the day, I’ve decided to adapt Zumba into a lifestyle – in other words, would Carmen Miranda eat McDonalds? Probably not – it would interfere with her chicka-chicka-boom-chick. Would she eat chocolate? Sure, if it was really good and not just crappy Hershey’s kisses or something. Would she cha-cha down the halls at work? Yes. Wear bright pink lipstick? Affirmative. Eschew dull boring clothes for something flashy? Of course! Stand up straight and shake what her mama gave her? Indubitably. Wear lots of flashy beads and big earrings? Sometimes.

I will continue to drink beer every now and then, even though she didn’t drink. Ok, so she didn’t drink, but she also stayed married to an abusive husband – she’s human people. That means I can occasionally imbibe – and maybe less beer, more Cuba Libres. Also, I think I’ll stick with my sweet, non-abusive husband. I’m just kind of crazy like that.

Nothing too worth mentioning other than that. My spring is starting to fill up, socially. My department has challenged another department (Content Development) to a game of kickball in a few weeks. We have named ourselves the Pop-Up Blockers and I am pretty…scared. I haven’t played in several decades, and let’s face it – I wasn’t good then, I won’t be now.

On the up side, I’m the one who came up with the team name, so, mad props.

That’s all from here for now.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Little triangles of cleverness!

At what point did my life become so predictable?

It’s Monday, which means – go home, take the dog out, feed the dog, start dinner, take the dog out again, eat dinner, clean up from dinner, set the DVR to record “How I Met Your Mother”, get dressed for Zumba, go to class, go to Trader Joe’s, debate merits of buying dried fruit bars, buy dried fruit bars, come home, watch “How I Met Your Mother”, shower, take pills, figure out what to wear for Tuesday, take the dog out, lock up, and go to bed.

Tuesday is pretty much the same, minus TV and Zumba. Add in watching a movie, maybe a trip to Target or something.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Honestly – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

We spent some time with our young bachelor friends this weekend, and as funny and exciting as their free-wheeling, free-loving exploits sound, there is something to be said for falling asleep next to Matt every night. Even if sometimes he snores, or I snore, or one of us steals the covers. There’s nobody else I’d rather wake up next to.

We’ve had incredible weather for about 3 or 4 days running – and all of a sudden, the trees are in bloom, I’m seeing daffodils, and of course, the stores are all decked out in Easter Madness. I saw a great Passover card the other day at Borders which looked like a giant matzoh and wished you Unleavened Happiness at Pesach.

Speaking of Jewish holidays, Purim starts at sundown tonight. Purim is a Spring festival celebrating the Jewish peoples’ deliverance from being exterminated by Haman – a Persian King. They gained their freedom because of Esther, a Jewish woman who became Princess and outwitted Haman. The story is told in the book of Esther, which to me is an interesting book of the bible in that it is the only one that does not mention God.

Just because I’m not religious doesn’t mean I get to be a complete ignoramus on these things. One of the traditions of Purim is the making and eating of hamantaschen – little triangular cookies filled with usually prune or poppyseed filling – although, it could be filled about any kind of preserve. Personally, I like prunes, so I’m in luck. Assuming someone hands me a plate of prune hamantaschen, which hasn’t happened yet, but I keep hoping.

So my homework assignment to you – read the book of Esther (also known as the whole megillah – seriously) and report back to me.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Working for (and during) the weekend.

Do you know the difference between a violin and a fiddle?

A violin has strings, a fiddle has strangs.

Spring cleaning today - what a difference a few hours can make! I still need to put the dining room back together, and of course, laundry, laundry, laundry.

We're possibly having dinner guests tonight - I'd like that very much, but it's still undecided - we're going to grill out regardless. Terrific weather today - I cannot complain - seventies and perfect.

I may need to start pulling out some of my warm weather clothes and packing up the wool soon.

I have been waking up recently lying on my back with my arms over my head in a position that is half "I surrender" and half "We are the Champions". Given that I sleep on my side, a little odd. I think it's Zumba.

Beyond that, no news is no news.

Off to the grocery store, maybe out to lunch...

Amuse toi!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Holy Mackerel!

This time of year, you see many a Friday Night Fish Fry at the local churches. The Pope lifted the ban on eating meat on Friday years ago, didn't he? Ah, well - it's Lenten Season.

I will say, when I was in Seattle, I couldn't get enough of the Fish n Chips at Ivar's. I also like fried shrimp. I'll eat both fish and shrimp in more healthy forms, but who doesn't love a little batter dipped seafood thrown into hot oil? To say nothing of hush puppies. Grawwwr.

Nothing big planned so far this weekend, though I'm attempting to lure people over with the promise of dinner. Who knows - mostly, that is incentive for me to get the house good and cleaned up - which I need to do for the cousins' visit next week.

Dad was telling me last night they're thinking of letting their male pug, Dude, get a little procreation on before they neuter him - a friend has a female who she wants to breed for puppies. Men - always wanting to spread seed and leave without facing consequences.

Dad then told me about a birthday party at his house where his dog and a neighborhood dog started screwing in front of all the horrified kiddies, and that his mother took a long time getting the hose out to break up the action. Tell me that's not a scene in a movie. Or that at least, it shouldn't be!

Other than that, it's Friday, and I'm glad of it. It's been a long week, and I'm ready for a little time away from phones, e mails and spreadsheets.

Blogging doesn't count. It's for play!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Whither Clarence?

Good news: as it turns out, I am not so much Eddie Haskell, but more Lumpy Rutherford. Which is to say, nice, friendly, dependable and average. My review was neither stellar nor horrifying. A safe, middling mediocre. I'd be upset, but I realize that if you only have run of the mill funds to distribute, best to write reviews that match.
I attempted to talk with my father about this, completely forgetting two things - that because he's a man, he feels that any time I talk about a problem, he should offer a solution or critique. And because he is spent 35 years in management, he is not only a man, but "the man", he's not going to side with me on matters of employee/employer relations. Instead, I get a lecture.

Which, given that he's been out of the managerial workforce for a decade, and never worked in a technology environment, kind of makes less of an impact and merely annoys me.

What I was looking for was a completely partisan affirmation of my worth and "the man's" inability to correctly assess said worth. Instead, I was reminded how lucky I am to have a job and a paycheck. I'll point out that my father actually makes more money to NOT go to work than I make for showing up to the office and putting in my five day grind. Pensions. Feh!

Enough of that, though. On a pleasanter note...

The weather is starting to give me hope that Spring is coming… This weekend we have the time change, and that’s never a bad thing, though given a choice who wouldn’t prefer falling back to springing forward? That said, I’m starting to enjoy all the fun, happy Easter displays I see in the stores. What is it about holiday candy? The maple cream eggs – that Russell Stover fellow is an evil genius!

I remember once in a Weight Watchers meeting, they talked about that there is roughly six months running throughout the year that has “theme candy” – and shouldn’t that convince you that it isn’t special at all? Um. No – I still get excited by it.

So, we start with the pumpkins, bats and eyeballs in October, which segues into hollow chocolate turkeys at Thanksgiving (if you can find them) – everything under the sun is Christmas themed, and by the time they’ve cleared that out, the stores are full of heart-shaped boxes, conversation hearts, and heart-shaped lollipops.

That leads you into Easter – bunnies, eggs, more eggs and bunnies – and occasionally, chocolate crosses. Which always kind of turn me off. Eddie Izzard has a nice schtick on this, should you be so inclined. During the summer, you can usually get Red, White and Blue M&Ms – which is nice, but it’s not a peanutty, nougat filled Uncle Sam, now is it?


That’s it from here. Reporting live from here, back to you, over there.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Look, Sam...

I’ve spent the last 24 hours worrying about my review, and apropos of nothing, as I was washing my hands a few minutes ago, I figured out why.

Two years ago, in a review for a different company, my boss told me he’d gathered feedback from people who worked with me throughout the year. Which he then presented to me anonymously. They comments were not especially positive. The one that sticks with me is that someone called me an Eddie Haskell. Meaning, I suppose that I was slimily pleasant but essentially insincere. Or, that I have curly hair and I am a weasel?

Since I don’t know who said it, I’ll never know what they meant. There were a half dozen or so that basically said I was all style, no substance. And a few that said I was polite but inept. It was brutal. It was character assassination.

I’m sure I cried in my boss’ office, but it happened so often, who can remember specifics? That job was a bad fit. I was bad at it, and my boss and I were both too stubborn to surrender. Because he liked me and I liked him. The job…I hated.

On the day we chose to "end my time with the company", I was terrified, demoralized and thrilled to be cut free from misery of what had become a vaguely abusive relationship (with the job itself, not the boss).

I should have had the sense to leave when someone anonymously called me Eddie Haskell – because that’s the kind of thing you should have the balls to say to my face. Or in this case, ovaries.

So here’s the thing. This job is a good fit – it’s something I enjoy, and I’m good at it. So if the new boss calls me an Eddie Haskell, I won’t cry. I’ll simply stand up and in the words of Woody Guthrie, say, “So long, it’s been good to know ya. And by the way – that’s a very lovely dress you’re wearing Mrs. Cleaver.”


Forward March!

Call it a cliché – that’s what it is – but, where does the time go? It seems like yesterday I was putting away the Christmas excelsior and resolving to accomplish the same goals I list every January.

And here we are in March. Where does the time go?

Last night was Zumba, where I was delighted to not be the fattest participant, nor the least coordinated. What is it about my twisted mind that causes me to constantly compare myself to others? Maybe I should just measure my self-worth against…me? Hmm. I’ll have to think about that, get back to you on it. Regardless, I had a great workout, and I feel 100% better. They’re starting a new evening Zumba on Thursdays – a different instructor, but I’m still going to go. I love, love, love it – and my body loves it too. My lungs are the final holdout, but even they can’t complain too much.

My annual review is today. Three weeks late, but who’s counting? I already know what my salary increase is, so for me the review will cement whether they’re just being conservative with the dough, or whether there is something less than exemplary in my performance that kept the number low. My boss has indicated that there will be no surprises and that the review is “solid”. Does that mean solidly bad? Solidly mediocre? Solidly good? Oh well, it’s all a day late and a dollar short (or, you know, several dollars short) – so at this point, it’s all academic. I will say that the fact that I learned the dollar amount before the reasoning behind it is something I will never do to an employee, if ever I manage again.

I’m starting to think ahead a little. In a few weeks, Matt’s cousin and cousin’s girlfriend, plus his daughter and her daughter are coming to Nashville. They’re checking out the law school at Vanderbilt for the girls. I briefly had a fantasy where I’d go to Law School and study copyright/intellectual property law. But then I got a job and decided that if I ever went back for post-BA education, it would be for a Masters in Linguistics, or something equally useless. I keep hearing these ads on the radio where Belmont U. is offering a Masters in Education – in about a year. That is tempting, but… teachers make even less than Customer Servicey types. Although, in my fantasy, I am a French teacher who spends the summers selling beer at Sounds Games and making killer good tips because I keep my section afloat in lager.

Where were we? Ah, yes…the weekend after the cousins, I think we’ll take a quick jaunt down to Atlanta. Then a few weeks later, it’s Easter - and Mom and Dad are coming. We’re going to have a nice dinner party and invite anyone who is in town. I can’t wait.

Plus, the bunnies are coming! Yes, it’s true. As I found out two years ago, every Easter, Phillips Toy Mart brings in live baby bunnies, puts in a themed display and allows you to come and gawk. The first year I saw it, the theme was Hillbilly Bunnies – they built a front porch, a to-scale pick up truck, a still (that made carrot juice) and other such props. And then they filled it with bunnies. As I was on an unplanned sabbatical (which is to say, I had left my job quite suddenly without anything lined up to replace it), I had plenty of time one afternoon to go and take dozens and dozens of pictures. At the time, I also had two black eyes, so the mothers kept their kids at a distance. For what it’s worth, they were self-inflicted as a result of forgetting I’d just put a bike rack on my car. You try going to interviews looking beat up. It’s interesting at best. Notably – the first interview I took once they had healed was the job I ended up getting offered (and taking).

The next year, I tried to make an event out of it – but we chose to go on the final weekend, and by the time my friends and I arrived, the bunnies had left the building. The display had been a large sombrero which the bunnies hopped in and out of. Sort of a Mexican Hat Dance Theme. We made the best of it, though – we bought some toys, went back to the house and I cooked a dinner that couldn’t be beat.

Happy times.

So no matter what I hear in my review today, I am not going to get upset. I am going to take the wheat, discard the chaff, and sign off on the goods with my patented lawyer-recommended reply: “No Comment”. Thanks, April Stone, Esq. – wherever you are!

Have a fine and kind day.