My Mom used to save all kinds of stuff to give to me when we would get together again. Maybe magazine articles, feathers she found, little items she picked up in her travels, etc. Didn’t matter what the pile contained, Mom called it her A Drive. When we would get together the first thing she had to do was “dump her a drive” and give me everything, telling me about each item. It usually drove me nuts because there was fun to be had and dammit she was slowing us down. Now? Wellllll, I miss it desperately. Which, of course, means that I am now picking up where she left off…prepare to be dumped upon…
The other day the fantastic Heather (Coal Miner’s Granddaughter) wrote a post about breast milk cheese and cooking with breast milk. Human breast milk. I kind of surprised myself when I realized that I wasn’t all that grossed out at the concept. Not really grossed out at all, actually.
So while washing the dishes (I don’t have a dishwasher, I *am* the dishwasher) my mind started off on its own. That is usually a dangerous thing, but I tend to do some of my best thinking while doing dishes or showering. Maybe it is the water, maybe it’s the solitude with no tv or music. Ount know. Point is I started thinking of stuff that grosses me out. The highest on the list? Someone else using my toothbrush or me using theirs. BLECH! Even if I were on Survivor and the gorgeous Colby Donaldson offered to share I would have to turn him down. I’d rather use a branch and gnaw on that for a bit than share a toothbrush. Just can’t handle the idea. (Although Colby, if you are reading, I’d fuck you even without the toothbrush…call me.)
I read about a guy who is going to be in the hospital for a long time and how his friends are trying to get him lots of mail. Immediately I grabbed a card and had coworkers sign it, addressed it and dropped it in the mail. Over the coming weeks I plan on sending this dude all kinds of silly stuff. You should consider it, too. Read about it HERE.
On a totally different note, soon I will be on a plane to drink myself into a gutter for the HHD (High Holy Day = St. Patrick’s Day). My early AM flight will have me hearing the crack of dawn the morning of the 17th, but I plan to sleep the whole way to Alabama. The completely awesome Kim (from Live at the 205) will pick me up at the airport and then Birmingham should just look out because we might drink our faces off. The next day, once we find our faces, we shall drive south to Florida. I’m really looking forward to the getaway. She is truly an amazing woman and rumor has it other bloggers will also be joining us. Should be terrific. BUT, I’m not taking my laptop so who knows if I will be able to post. Sure, she is bringing hers, and it is a coveted Apple(!), but since I don’t know how to work it you might not hear from me for a few days.
Also, I can’t find my bathing suit so please send names of nude beaches.
So, my friend Earl posted a video that cracked me up. Seems his friend made it. They want others to see and enjoy. So here ya go:
And if you have a blog, maybe consider posting it?
I think that is it for now. Happy day. Enjoy it.
Hi. It’s me. No, not hellohahanarf. I’m a friend. Or rather — she is. She’s lending me out some blog space semi-anonymously, and I appreciate it. This is the second in a series of posts about my journey as someone who is being let go from a job which I’ve had for the past ten years. You can find the first post here.
First and foremost: thanks to all of you for your support thus far. It’s a bit of a struggle for me, and I truly am in a good place with some wonderful family and friends both online and in the flesh. You’re helping to make a tough time for me not so tough.
I used to be a huge fan of “Wayne’s World.” No joke. I loved the sketch on SNL the first time it aired, and I tracked them through the making of and release of the feature-length movie — which I saw the weekend that it opened in theaters. I laughed out loud at the revolutionary notion that the narrative could poke fun at itself. (“Garth! That was a haiku!” And the scene with Robert Patrick reprising his police officer facade from Terminator 2. Among others…) It used to be the coolest thing in college to sing Bohemian Rhapsody and start head-banging after the choral part.
So — when the local Paramount-branded theme park decided to open up a new roller coaster called “The Hurler,” I was intrigued. Excited. Especially since the surrounding area would be themed with Wayne’s World attractions — such as Stan Mikita’s donut shop. When I went through the queue for the coaster for the first time, I was amazed: the ongoing video monitors were all Wayne and Garth patter about safety on the ride. Everything looked like Wayne’s basement. It was bliss.
It was similar to the sensation I felt when I walked into the interview for my current job. It started a bit awkwardly: I had spoken with the company recruiter, Dan, on the phone. I entered the lobby and called him; he said he’d be down to greet me shortly. Moments later I heard someone call out my first name; I exchanged a handshake and followed him. His voice sounded different on the phone than it did in person. We walked down the corridors as he talked a bit about job responsibilities that had absolutely nothing to do with anything I had put on my resume.
Turns out that my first name is a pretty common first name. And that the person I was following was not, in fact, Dan. Or at least the same Dan I had been talking to for days before. We both had assumed we were someone else. Oops…
Anyway — I rushed back to the lobby and found Dan. The real Dan. We had a good laugh about it as he gave me the tour of the place. This was a telecommunications company in a flashy, new building that had just been built. It was the turn of the new millennium, and the place had the feel of the next one.
He brought me to an alcove on the third floor. There was what appeared to be a whiteboard next to us. He flicked a switch and the alcove lights dimmed. The whiteboard switched transparent — and I saw the network operations center below. It was beautiful. It looked like NASA’s mission control — great big screens in the front of the room with graphs and information rolling by. I recognized CNN and the Weather Channel taking up some of the real estate. Behind it were rows of engineers at state-of-the-art workstations — two computers at each desk. People were collaborating. This looked like a great place to work.
And after two days of interviews? I was offered a job. I worked in that very network center at one of those flashy workstations. In fact, I work there now.
I went back to visit that theme park a few years ago. Since then, the Paramount name has been stripped off of everything. The Hurler is still there, but any and all references to Wayne’s World have been removed. Who can blame them? The movie certainly didn’t stand up to the test of time. It contained too many references to icons of a static moment of time. I suppose the expectation was that it would last forever. But going through that path to get on the coaster, barren from any indications that made it any different from any other sleazy looking carnival ride, was a bit depressing — in that I had seen it so differently a decade earlier. Sure — there was no line this time around, no forty-five minute wait to get on. But then again — there was no line. Nobody wanted to ride the Hurler.
Which is how I see my very own network center. In 1999, this was state of the art: Giant video screens up front. New computers — UNIX and Windows — with screens embedded in the desks. Television monitors suspended from the ceilings in the back. But since then, technology has evolved and the corporate climate has receded. Tough, financial times for the company coupled with internal company politics made it impossible to keep those video screens on in front without footing an enormous bill — one which nobody was willing to pay. The televisions still hanging from the ceilings are old and outdated and show everything with a tinge of green. (Some of them have been removed, the empty brackets still hanging there.) The hardware that was built into the furniture had been so outdated that it was simply abandoned, new screens simply having been placed awkwardly on the desk in front of them.
Worst of all — when I started there, the center was full. Every desk was occupied at all times of the day. With so many reorganizations, cutbacks, layoffs and people voluntarily moving on, most of the seats are empty. There had been rumors of renovating the entire place and upgrading it with new equipment, and we were in the dark as to where they would move us for the time being. We now know the answer to that — our group will be long gone before that ever happens. Ultimately they’ll scrap the place, rebuild it, and probably find another group to fill it. That could take months. Years even.
But the depressing part is the memory of what this place looked like ten years ago. The possibilities. The flashing lights. The notion that I could work in that room and feel like I’ve entered the future. The room, however, hasn’t grown with us. It’s been stagnant. It has decayed. It’s no longer relevant.
The problem is — I can’t help but feeling the same way. My job is moving to a different place for cost-cutting measures. To keep the company competitive. The notion of using us — the existing group in our area — is too expensive. Not lean enough. Hence — stagnant. No longer relevant and no longer needed.
I watched “Up In The Air” this week. Not a smart move on my part, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who has very recently been let go. Perhaps I thought that it would be more of a comfort for me, the camaraderie of many people who are fired by George Clooney in the film. (Interestingly enough, many of those who played employees losing their jobs in the film were actually people who had recently been let go from their jobs.) Their reactions to that meeting where they’re all told, point blank. that they are being terminated prompts many familiar responses. “Why? What did I do wrong?” “Can I have another chance?” “What am I going to do?” “Fuck you!” “This company will fail without me!”
For me, I suppose, the sticking issue is relevance. I’ve spent ten years amassing a great deal of knowledge for a very comprehensive job. I am, in no uncertain terms, a “go-to” within my workplace. A subject matter expert. And I know that I can pick things up rather quickly. I’m useful in my job. I’m missed when I’m not there. Hell, I carry a work cel phone for the times that my expertise is required when I’m on-call.
But I’ve just been made less useful. Even if I enter a new position in the same field, I’m not going to be the subject matter expert, the veteran who can help others out. I won’t be as impacting. As useful. There’s a scene which accentuates this is “Up In The Air” where George Clooney’s character finally sees himself as someone who, on some levels, is not useful. Who doesn’t have that same value. Whose services and talents really are not needed. And it’s the worst thing in the world.
Perhaps there’s a bit of narcissism in the way I feel. I am good at my job. I like that feeling of being the one people come to for help. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, but it hurts to think that for some reason that’s being taken away from me and from my group. I fear that I’ll be the person who really doesn’t need to be there. The one who doesn’t make a difference. And that I’ll fade away into the background — even within the confines of a new job.
I don’t want to become the roller coaster with no line.
So the other day, on my beloved cousin’s birthday, I happened to mention finding a photo of her in which her hair was all WOW. But instead of saying her hair was all WOW and oh my fuck, I wish I could rock that, perhaps I said something in the comments like it was all “Edward the vampire” and totally adorable. Regardless, Janie was oh so not impressed.
Let’s not fight with her over the validity of the Twilight books and movies. Instead, let’s discuss whether or not she was 20 years ahead of Edward’s hairstylist:
(Yes, that is Janie on the far right. Be nice, she is my cousin and friend. I’ve been known to throw punches in her honor. (She doesn’t know about them. Shhhh.) Also? How could you not be nice to a crazy teenager in the 80′s? She is damn cute! (Fuck. She probably hates the word “cute” and yet I’ve been drinking so FUCK IT, I’m hitting publish, even with all of the commas and parenthesis, even without a proofread. COZ I CAN! God bless America. And the Internet.)
The other day I posted a poem that I first read in high school. It has been on my mind a bit since then, mostly because of the one line:
Did you look for a rose
Or just gather a weed?
I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I do, in fact, gather weeds. But not the way the poem makes them out to be negative things. Quite the contrary, I find certain weeds incredibly positive. Specifically dandelions.
Yes, dandelions. I think they are beautiful. Simple and pretty. Yet just because they are hearty and desire to grow anywhere people hate them. If they were fragile and rare, people would lovingly care for them in greenhouses. Instead the dandelion is sprayed with poison and cursed.
When I first bought my little house I did what I thought was the right thing and hired a company to come spread chemicals on my grass in order to make it green and lush. Towards the end of the first year of monthly chemicals my grass was gorgeous. I called the company to make a payment over the phone and I happened to mention to the lady on the phone that my “boys” (boys = dogs) were already out rolling around and playing on the grass. She got very nervous and asked if they were wearing shoes. Of course I could honestly answer no and I was immediately told that I shouldn’t let my children play shoeless on the grass.
Well what the fuck? I can’t put shoes on my dogs. And what about my beloved robins…those happy little hunters who were eating worms right out of my gorgeous grass? Was I accidentally poisoning my dogs and favorite birds? Fuck that. I canceled that company’s services right there on the spot. Keep your fucking chemicals, bring on the brown spots and weeds.
It was a little while after that when I realized that I actually prefer my yard to have dandelions. Dandelions are welcome at my home. They remind me to be tenacious, to bloom wherever the hell I want, regardless of what others think. Some might call dandelions weeds, but I call them flowers. I have a collection of small bud vases and in the summer I will actually pick dandelions from my yard and bring their sunshiney happiness inside, just the way I did as a child, before someone told me they were weeds and pests.
Actually, I have a little of their brightness inside all year long. This watercolor hangs in my kitchen, on the door:
So do me a favor. Next time before you get angry when you see a dandelion in your yard, ask yourself why it bothers you so. Ask yourself what is so wrong with a small flower fighting to survive and show you the color of the sun. Try to see the beauty in the simpleness of the dandelion.
I just ask that you pause to consider beauty in a manner that is slightly nontraditional. After you take that moment, I won’t be terribly upset if you don’t see my sweet little sunshine in the same way I do, but I will truly appreciate that you gave the dandelion a chance.
Today I wore a tank top under a sweatshirt and jeans to work. (Yay for casual winters!) Getting dressed took practically no time at all, which was a good thing because I was running late as usual. When I run late it really isn’t much different than when I am on time…I don’t spend a lot of time fussing in front of the mirror. So long as my teeth are brushed and I am wearing deodorant, so long as I remembered to put on pants and shoes, I’m content enough to head out the door. So this morning was no different and out the door I went.
Around 9:30 it started to get pretty damn hot at my desk (our HVAC unit is the worst) so I unzipped the black hooded Maker’s Mark sweatshirt rather low without even thinking because I always have a tank top or t-shirt under hoodies.
About an hour later I looked down. Damn, my boobs looked great. Turns out the tank top was a Yummy Tummy brand tank and it pushed the ole girls together in all the right ways. Later in the afternoon I realized I had been distracted all damn day by my boobs. I don’t know how you men do it when beautiful breasts are around. Honestly!
Anyhow, I sent a message out on Twitter that said something about being distracted by my boobs. Instantly I had a few replies about sending a picture to TwitPic or saving a good picture for HNT. One of the folks who replied was Marty and I told him I was pretty much done with HNT, but he could guest post for me. Didn’t take too much before I received an email…
Your HNT needs some boobies, even if they are covered up by coconuts.
It cracked me up that so many people immediately think of HNT when I mention my boobs. I figured what the hell, I’ll try to capture an image like nothing I have ever posted before. Thought it might be cool to show the view I was having when I looked down all day. Problem is my Blackberry was oh so not cooperative. It just wasn’t doing the view justice. So I snapped a photo like you are accustomed to seeing:
Nothing too out there, but still a little flashback to my HNT days. If you want to see folks revealing a lot more, head over to where it all started and check out the comments. Happy day!
Tuesday after work I went on a photo hunt. Through OLD albums. See, a wonderful invisible internet friend, Kristy, started a fun little site called Promtacular! and she’s eagerly accepting everyone’s prom pictures. Of course I found a massive amount of non-prom pictures, but only two that were taken on prom night and neither is with my actual date. (So yeah, sorry that you have to wait a little longer, Kristy. I’ll find em, dammit.) Regardless, if you have those fantastic prom pictures that you wanna share with the internet, please upload them to the site. Also? Check out Promtacular! (Some funny stuff.)
But back to me. I started thinking about high school and all the angst, drama and hormones. Even dealing with it all I remember being a fairly happy individual. Sure there were days that the parents did something parental that I didn’t agree with (translation: I didn’t get my way) and I cried as though I lost my favorite puppy, but for the most part my days were filled with happiness. Going through those photos a piece of paper slipped out. I am pretty sure Zwehla wrote the wonderful little poem out for me, but it might have been Lia. (Let’s be honest, I have killed *many* a brain cell over the years and does it really matter who did the scribing?) There is no name written down on the paper so I have no clue who the actual author is.
Somehow I have managed to keep this well over 20 years. The paper isn’t as white as it used to be, but I love it all the same. Hope you enjoy…
Have you made someone happy
Or made someone sad
What have you done with the day that you had?
God gave it to you
To do what you would
Did you do what was wicked
Or do something good?
Did you hand out a smile
Or just give a frown
Did you lift someone up
Or push someone down?
Did you lighten some load
Or some progress impede
Did you look for a rose
Or just gather a weed?
What did you do with your Beautiful day
God gave it to you
Did you throw it away?
The words came rushing back and I practically spoke them out loud from memory, yet I was reading a paper I haven’t seen in years. And tonight that simple little scrap of paper made me smile knowing that even in high school I was trying to look for the good in the situation. I don’t always succeed, but yay for reminding myself to lift someone up instead of pushing them down.
Happy Wednesday, internet. Hope your day is tremendous.
A friend wanted to go to the museum and I was oh so excited to join her. LOVE This town’s museums. Pittsburgh is truly blessed to have had Andrew Carnegie love this place enough to present to us quality museums. His gifts to the city bring me great joy. (Say “great joy” out loud. Does it make you smile the way I do EVERY time I say it?)
This trip was a quick one, though. The gold medal hockey game started at three so we picked the top “must sees” and wasted no time getting to them. (I know, I know…it was like picking your favorite child or meal: damn difficult.) We saw the “new” dinosaurs, the whale exhibit from New Zealand, the Egypt exhibit, the birds, the North American mammals, the Hall of Sculptures and the Hall of Architecture and Casts. I’ll have more photos later, but I wanted to show you something.
Yes, I went to the museum and what am I sharing with you? A photo of my red hair that no one believes is redder than before. You have to be able to see it in that photo, right?
And yes, I was totally horizontal on the floor of the Hall of Sculpture. The ceiling is cool and I was trying to get a decent photo. Finn would have walked away with spectacular images. Me? I failed. Exhibit A:
Failure Exhibit B:
All the photographers of the world breathe a sigh of relief that I am not out to take their jobs. Yeah, I know I suck, but at least I have fun with it. Like laying on my belly and taking this shot:
Photo might not be great, but damn did I enjoy taking all of these from the floor, even if my friends did think I was crazy, laying there and taking pictures of myself. And perhaps giggling a bit.