Wednesday, August 31, 2005
- Garbage Men (not too uncommon, but extremely useful nonetheless)
- Milk People (yes, my parents actually had people bring milk, egg, and diary products straight to the house. How cool is that? Especially when 90% of the stuff you get at the grocery store is your favorite diary products? Yea, I'm a diary junkie)
- schema's People (raise you hand if you had a schema's man. These were awesome people. Outside of tilters, these guys brought the rest of your groceries).
Yes, that was one reason why it rocked to live in the bondage. Other than that it wasn't that great to live in the country, but let me tell you, having people knock on your door every Tuesday morning with fresh groceries is a major treat. Honestly, if it weren't for shampoo and toilet paper, my parents would have never had to leave their house. That's pretty cool.
Monday, August 29, 2005
FED Files - Volume IX
Few things in this world can rouse up a normally inert FED like getting a new boss. Nothing provokes more emotion or unpredicted outbursts of anger than the new boss's rules. After years of sitting in the same office with the same people and drinking out of the same coffee mugs, these people will give up everything (but the aforementioned coffee mug) for a position in a different office with a boss that they've known since kindergarten. Once the office is gutted from all the experienced employees, the directorate then offers lateral movement (and sometimes - though rarely - upward movement) to the rest of agency. Within days other disgruntled employees disman their previous posts to fill the openings in the newly gutted office, whereby gutting their own offices. If a large enough office gets a new boss, this can cause such an upheaval as an unplanned reorganization.
For several years now, my office (the hazardous waste disposal branch) has been a peaceful office where everyone knows everyone else's birthdays, children, and coffee preferences. They've all sat in the exact same location since the last planned reorganization several years ago. Their only struggles are putting up with Marny* who talks nonstop to her crazy girl friends about her crazy life, and Kevin* who has the tendency to be a bit bossy. However, a new boss was introduced to the hazardous waste disposal branch. She has implemented new time and attendance rules which no longer allow for the 'come whenever, leave whenever' policy we've been accustom to.
Since hire (in the middle of July), our new boss has managed to whittle down our once large office of eight permanent employees and three interns down to a lean three permanents, three interns. Here's the demographics for the five that abandoning ship:
- Two females
- Three males
- Four are married
- One widowed
- One is retiring
- Two are laterally moving into a new position within the building
- One is joining our agency's contingency support team in Iraq
- One is transferring to one of our Asian locations
So, our large office is down by five warm bodies. The want-ads are sure to fly. Five openings can cause a raucous across the building. Probably nearly 100 people will see the want-ad and will be reminded how much they dislike their current positions and will not only apply for the opening in our office but also any other openings that will provide them an "out" of their own offices. You can plainly see how this could have a domino effect.
My opinion is that it's a conspiracy. After our last reorganization (followed by a RIF - Reduction in Force) our work-force is a little exhausted of being "forced" into new positions by management. So now management is getting smart. They no longer "force" their employees into a reorg, nor do they "force" their employees to transfer, but they sure have a knack of making them willing to go.
I'm certain that they had a meeting a couple of months ago and said, "How do we implement a new reorg without looking like the bad guys....." And then someone had an epiphany. "Ah! I know! Let's hire someone mean for one of our biggest offices. Those people will then bail and we can get new people in there, and then we'll get new people for those openings, and so-forth and so-on until everyone is doing a new job." And that's just what they've done.
*Names have been changed for the privacy of the above parties.
Motivational Posters For The Rest Of Us.
One meeting where I work will convince you of this in a hurry.
This could have been my theme in college. :)
Thursday, August 25, 2005
- Once school starts (even though I'm no longer in school) I wear winter clothes no matter how hot it is. EX. Today I'm wearing black pants and a long-sleeved button up. Very winter. The temperature is 85 degrees. Yet, I'm wearing winter clothes.
- Since the Fall months of September, October, and November are meant as a warm-up to Winter, I may or may not listen to Christmas music (I know, it's weird not to mention pathetic, but sometimes I just need the emotional hug that Christmas music seems to provide).
- I start wearing flip-flops in March, even if it's really cold, because March is the beginning of Pre-Summer.
- Winter angst sets in no later than November first and doesn't subside before April first.
- There are three events that signify the end of the warm-up to Winter, and the actual season. These include: leaving the heat on all day, the end of Day-Light Savings Time, and double shirting (this is when it is no longer warm enough to only wear one shirt at a time).
- There are three events that mark the end of Pre-Summer and these include: the end of the academic school year, foliage on the trees, and nights were the temperature doesn't drop below 50 degrees.
- Pre-Summer is the bane of my existence since it is also called "allergy season" and may look more like Post-Winter than Pre-Summer.
So, if you're wondering why I periodically listen to Christmas music in October, it's because it's not Fall, it's Pre-Winter. Or if you're wondering why I can wear flip-flops on a 45 degree day in April but not an 83 degree day in September it's because April is Pre-Summer, and September is Pre-winter. And when you're gearing up for Winter, you certainly don't want to be wearing flip-flops, now do you?
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
- Sleeping every second I physically can.
- Eating everything in the apartment (which right now is apples, cucumbers, microwave dinners, milk, and tomatoes - how's that for threatening? - Oh! And I have Smart Start too).
- Not showering.
- Wearing my PJs to the library to blog and check my email.
- Watch an hour or two of really bad TV.
- Soak in the bathtub for an hour and a half.
- Lay in bed for two or three hours to ponder the world and all of it's problems.
I love days like today. I remember when I was in high school you were allowed 20 days of absence per year and I always took about 19 and a half. Don't give me lee-way and expect me not to use it. :)
Monday, August 22, 2005
I Finished It
Wa-ow (pronounced "wow")!
It was so incredible that I had to reread (actually I had to relisten since I got it on CD) to the last 4 chapters a second time and rent the movie when I got home from Indiana last night. I was bitterly disappointed by the movie, and already have started casting my own version (which is always my first response to a bad movie since I believe that many bad movies are bad because they weren't casted correctly). Also, I'm not sure that I approve of the portions that the movie hacked. The whole second half of the book was summed up in 25 minutes in the movie, and it left me wanting more since the story of Hareton and Catherine was the answer to the story of Heathcliff and the other Catherine. It seemed less complete somehow.
So, here are some ways that Wuthering Heights will impact my future:
- My firstborn son will be named Hareton who has just won a seat on my "Favorite Characters Of All Time" list (because even though he had been degraded, he was still noble and because Hareton is better name for a romantic lead, or second lead in his case, than Heathcliff).
- When I produce the movie "Wuthering Heights" I think I'll make it a PBS special (like "Pride and Predjudice ") so that I have an excuse to make it six hours long and not leave out any detail.
- I will never (under any circumstances) dig up someone's grave, just to check how they look after eighteen years (but I guess that's the difference between me and Heathcliff).
- I will not starve myself to death because my husband and my lover got into a fight that I encouraged by locking them into a room together and throwing the key into the fire.
- I will not leave any of my nephews to fend for themselves (at age 6) with their drunk father, abusive landlord, and obnoxious man-servant (of course none of my nephews have a drunk father, nor an abusive landlord, nor any man-servants).
- I will teach more people how to read (if they don't know how).
Over all it was a great book, it's not exactly beach reading, but it was incredible, and managed to get up there on my list of favorite stories. I declare it a MUST READ and receives two enthusiastic thumbs up. My quote is that "Wuthering Heights is an intensely dark and passionate story filled with all the sweetness one might expect when a family rises above chains of oppression." And you can quote me on that. :)
Friday, August 19, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
A Fit Of "Girl"
- Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" on CD to listen to on my commute.
- William Makepeace Thackery's "Vanity Fair" in book form to read during the breaks of the class I'm in this week.
- "Anne of Avonlea" the video, to watch yesterday evening.
After the library I went to Meijer (my favorite place) and got groceries, and went home to veg in front of Anne for the duration of the evening. And veg I did until 12:35 this morning. I learned some things that I hadn't noticed before in Anne of Avonlea. And I think I now realize what is out-of-place in my life. Perhaps it's not that I have a crazy hectic job that may move me to a different part of the country at any moment, or that I have a car that is more stubborn than me (and insists on breaking down every six months on the dot), or that I have a ridiculously long commute to both work and to church. No, these aren't the things that are wrong with my life. I have been schooled by Anne on what is truly wrong. And here is a list:
- I don't live in a place that has enough mist. (Have you ever noticed how pleasantly "misty" Avonlea is??)
- I don't throw wild theatricals to solve my problems. (Wouldn't the world be a better place if we used plays to solve all of our problems??)
- I don't use everyone's full name when I speak to them. ("Anne Shirley!" and "Gilbert Blythe" and "Marilla Cuthbert"....)
- When I get myself in trouble it's not endearing. (I mean, if some guy caught me dancing with, and talking to myself, he'd probably think I was a major nut job - not propose marriage practically on the spot.) :)
- I don't use monstrous adjectives. (I could actually work on that. Maybe I'll start incorporating more brilliant and tremendous adjectives in my daily speak... How was that??)
- I don't have absolutely huge, red hair. (I mean, how could you not like a person with wispy red hair?)
So, these are some of the things that is wrong with my life. As a disclaimer, I actually love the stories of Ann with an "e". They're great, I just thought this was funny.
Monday, August 15, 2005
A Declaration Of War
It is not shocking that I do not plan to step neither toe nor hair out of doors for any extended period of time before fall. As the weather is getting cooler and I'm an indoors kind of person in general, I will not feel the need. And when the out-of-doors can not be avoided, I will call my first line of defense, the troops from "Off" to my rescue. If bug/spider dare enter my shield of "Off" it will be the recipient of the most severe body-shattering slap by my special forces named "hands".
It is not until the fall that I plan a full offensive attack on the bugs/spiders of Mid-Michigan. When the sun sinks further to the south, I shall invite my Allis from the North, "Cold Weather" in to raid the bugs/spiders and leave them annihilated. The North has already agreed to my terms, and have promised to drive out and/or strike dead any bug/spider that lives outside. With a mid-November dusting of the fierce Alli "Snow" the North plans to extinguish any hopes of the bugs/spiders and will leave them devastated. The North insists that this terrible and aggressive attack shall eliminate any sign of the outdoor bugs/spiders for many months. Indeed, through the entire winter.
So, in the terms and conditions of my contract with the North, they have dictated that all residents of the indoors take a defensive position and force as many indoor bugs/spiders out into the outdoors as possible. Show no mercy, residents, on these terrible creatures. "Cold Weather" will at times not immediately kill the bugs/spiders that they come in contact with, but will render them loop and silly - especially flies tend to be suffer from this kind of attack. If you see such a creature kill it immediately.
Too many feet and other hard-to-reach areas have fallen victim to these dreaded creatures. If you desire bugs/spiders to take over the world, by all means, shelter them in your warm houses, and leave them loop and silly, but if your feet have ever fallen prey to their vicious attacks, I urge you to follow the guidelines of our friends from the North and turn them out. For the sake of a good night of sleep turn these beasts out, I implore you!
Thursday, August 11, 2005
My Favorite heroes and Heroines
- Joseph (Old testament): Because he was merciful
- William Wallace (Braveheart): Because he was unafraid and because he left a legacy
- Oscar Schindler (Who saved Jews during the Holocaust): Because he was placed on this earth "for such a time as this"
- Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Predjudice): Because she was clever and intuitive
- Phileas Fogg (Around the World in Eighty Days): Because he stepped out of the norm
- Abraham Lincoln: Because he stood firm
- Henry V (Shakespeare): Because he proved himself a man
- Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking): Because she didn't mince words
- Ethan Frome (Book by Edith Wharton): Because he was dutiful
- Jean Valjean (Les Miserables): Because he showed grace
- Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird): Because he was wise
- Lord Goring (An Ideal Husband): Because he's hilarious
I know I've missed some, but this is a few.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
So, I will tell you some of my weird habits if you tell me some of yours. Here goes....
- I only drink milk from Meijers.
- After pouring milk on my cereal, I'll walk away for five minutes to ensure that it's soggy enough.
- I only eat one course at a time. So, if we have meat, potatoes, salad, and bread, I'll eat the bread, then the salad, then the potatoes, then the meat (which brings me to....)
- I don't like my food to touch.
- I play with Magz incessantly when I watch TV or talk on the phone.
- My storage place for all my clean sheets is in my hamper (I only use laundry baskets for dirty cloths/sheets).
- I smell my milk every time I open the cap. Even if I just got it. I don't even notice that I do it any more, but my roommate points it out every chance she gets.
- I don't get the mail.
- My clothing schedule (Monday through Friday) for my bottoms is: black, khaki, black, khaki, jean (since black, khaki, and jean are my favorite colors).
- The only time I wear my running shoes outside is when I walk from the gym to my car.
- I associate certain CDs with certain seasons and can not bare to listen to my CDs out of season. For example, I can only listen to Alison Krause in the summer (between June 15th and August 15th).
So there's some of my weird habits.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Monday, August 08, 2005
Observations From A Solitary Weekend
- When your battery light comes on and stays on, don't blow it off.
- If you're going to be stranded in someone else's house, pick a person who isn't on a Carb-Free diet.
- When a dog chews up a remote control, much like Humpty Dumpty, it will never be put back together again.
- I now know Ken and Janet's neighbors better than I know my own.
- Any person with a working automobile is instantly appreciated.
- Sympathy is a natural instinct, but a solution is preferred.
- When you can't sleep at 6:00 (because you're worrying) on a weekend morning, even a Michael Thurman "6 Week Body Makeover" infomercial will not put you back to sleep.
- Neither will the incredibly ridiculous movie, "Day After Tomorrow".
- When it rains it pours (but really that's a whole different post).
- When you lay in one position eight hours you will get sore.
- For being a person with such incredibly bad, and I mean bad luck, I am "fortunate" in several ways (Ex: My car never stopped running - though all the lights went out, I am house-sitting two minutes from work - so a co-worker could pick me up, and my favorite way that I'm fortunate is that Ken and Janet's next door neighbor is a retired mechanic who should be working on my car as we speak).
So, there you have it folks. There's my weekend in a nutshell. Just when you think you can't get any more stressed out, you probably can. :)
Thursday, August 04, 2005
I was thinking about the women of the Bible. And I thought first about Esther. Esther was chosen by man because she was very beautiful and chosen by God because she had amazing courage. Ruth was chosen because she was very faithful. Mary was chosen because she was very pure, humble, and obedient. After thinking of these initial three I thought to myself, "Wow, we have set up these women almost as superheroes. They are all either Super-Virtue, or Super-Beauty. I don't really relate to people with really superior qualities like that..... Hmmmm.... So, I look farther. Who else is there? Well, there was Rahab. She wasn't "perfect" I mean she was a prostitute. Oh, but she had a boldness that caught the attention of not only God but also his people. Hmmmm... Tamar.... Well, she was very persistent/dedicated. Amazing. The list goes on and on. They're all amazing people.
So, I kept searching in my mind. Where is a woman like me who is just normal. And then I found her. Mary Magdalene. There is absolutely no mention of her beauty, and she was the opposite of virtuous. Come to think of it, she's worse than normal. She's lower than normal. She is a blatant sinner. She didn't come to Jesus. She didn't even have enough faith for that. She was drug to Jesus. Amazingly, look at Jesus's response to Mary. She didn't do one thing to reach out to Jesus. Not one thing. She stood there and was accused in front of Jesus. She wasn't brave, she wasn't pretty, she wasn't pure, she wasn't loyal, she wasn't faithful.... and yet. And yet He fought for her. He fought His "authority". He fought the people that were set up as spiritual leaders. He fought them because He wanted her. Amazing. Unworthy? Probably. But He wanted her. He didn't want her beautiful sister. Or her other more virtuous sister, He wanted her.
Superheroes were vanquished in the New testament. It's wonderful if you happen to be a superhero, but for the rest of us, just remember that there is absolutely nothing special about the crazy group of misfits Jesus called His team. I mean, reading the stories, I'm periodically embarrassed for these guys. But they were the Chosen. Powerful.
For you girls out there who read Jane Eyre, it's quite a bit like the infamous scene when Mr. Rochester tells Jane that he will be marrying Miss Ingram and she said something like "just because I'm plain and I'm poor doesn't mean that I don't have feelings..." And that is what I'm getting at here. We have feelings, superhero or not, and they have been recognized. And we were "Bought with a price." Incredible. I know you all know all this, but check it out again. Check out the difference between the heroes of the Old and New testaments. I think you'll see some really neat things as the Bible transitions from "What can I do to obtain salvation?" to "What has been done?" Interesting.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
FED Files - Volume VIII
As many of you know, the HDI Federal Center is much like a small city. We have a little shopping, a library, banks, military recruiting offices, a museum, etc. But one of my favorite attributes of the little city that is the HDI Federal Center is the gym. Obviously the term "gym" is not nearly cool enough and so it has been named "The Fitness Center". Apparently "Fitness Center" has more charm than "gym". The Fitness Center implements many programs. They offer free personal training to employees, a wide range of classes, groups, charitable events, etc. They even boast a heroic head-trainer, Jeff, who once saved a man's life when the man had a heart-attack in the Fitness Center.
Of course, out of the 2,000 people in the building probably only 200-300 use the Center with some sort of regularity. These 200-300 users can be broken into three categories. The people who work-out in the morning (we'll call them the "crazies"), the people who work-out at lunch (I'll call them the "smellies"), and those who work-out after work (I like to refer to these people as the "practicals"). I am a "practical". I work out after work, I get to the Fitness Center at exactly 4:38 every day, work-out for 30-45 and go home. Routine is an important part of a FED's existence. Most FEDs have loads of routines. 8:30 - coffee 9:00 - bathroom 9:30 - web-surfing 10:00 - coffee 10:30 - gossip with pals 11:00 - bathroom 11:30 - Lunch. You see how this breaks up the day nicely. Well, FEDs who value routine go to the Fitness Center at the same, exact times every day. So, when I work-out, I work-out with the same 50 people as I worked-out with yesterday, they day before, the day before that, and the day before that. I have never seen some of these people in street cloths. Likewise, there are people who will suddenly show up at the Fitness Center at a random time who I've never seen work-out before.
This is where the story begins. We have security guards in the building (obviously), and you get kinda accustom to seeing the same security guards all the time. One of our security guards was on "Back Gate"/"Back Door" duty for my entire first year. Meaning that some days he would check in my car at the "Back Gate" and some days he would check in my person at the "Back Door". You start to feel like you know your security guards. You talk to them every morning when you roll down your window and wait for them to shine their flashlight in you back seat, etc. You talk to them when you're putting all your stuff on the conveyor, and while you're walking through the metal detector. You talk to them about what you've brought in that day, because they see it all. "Oh, so you brought cupcakes today, huh? Someone's birthday?...." Etcetera, etcetera. You begin to feel like they know you perhaps better than you want someone who doesn't know your first name to know you. But all that changed when I saw Nick (at least I think that's what his name is) in the Fitness Center yesterday. The guards have uniforms, including hats, and yesterday for the first time, I saw Nick without his hat. Below the hat-line he has black hair, and above the hat-line he has blond hair (actually it's more like a grown-out dyed blond color). I literally did not recognize him. Both me and my friend had to do a double-take to make sure that this was Nick.
You may ask if there's a point to this story, and I will in return ask you if any of my stories have points, but the answer is "yes". This story has a point. A moral actually. This story has a moral. And here it is:
MORAL: You think you know someone until you see them in the Fitness Center.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Things I Learned From Yoga
- Build muscle strength (since I loathe weight-lifting)
- Improve balance (which if any of you know me at all, you know that I have lousy balance)
- Improve flexibility and range of motion.
So, here are some things I learned while doing Yoga last night.
- Our bodies were not meant to be folded over and tucked in.
- They say that Yoga is very "spiritual" and I believe it, because I know for myself, the whole time I was praying that God would allow me to walk again.
- The best thing about Yoga is laying on the mat and "breathing" at the end of the workout.
- The "tree position" is where you "plant" one foot into the floor, and bend the opposite leg and place the heel at the top of the "planted" thigh. Then you slowly raise your hands and put them palms together over your head. This position is impossible. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. It's pretty much not a pretty picture. I could do the leg thing, and then I would lift my arms, and fall right over. Meanwhile the little instructor dude is like, "If you sway a little, it's OK. Trees sway." Uh-huh. Sure.
- When you've got one leg behind you, one in front of you, one arm straight up in the air, and the other behind your front foot, and your forehead on you knee, and then you are instructed to "breathe and enjoy the pose" you will feel a little resentful.
- Feeling the ligaments ripping from your bones is unpleasant.
I made it through my first Yoga lesson, and this morning I felt pretty good. No pain anywhere, which was amazing considering I didn't think I'd ever be able to peel myself off the floor. So, maybe it's not so bad after all. I'll keep you posted.
Monday, August 01, 2005
SIDE NOTE TO MARYANN: I finally watched "Gone With The Wind". I have to admit, it was a much better story than I was anticipating. ;)
DOUBLE SIDE NOTE TO REST: Currently, weather conditions for Phoenix, Arizona: Stinking HOT
When Extraordinary People Meet Less Than Extraordinary Circumstances
I know a couple from Ohio who have a good Christian, very old-fashioned family. They have 11 children of their own ranging in ages from 5ish to 30ish. They have raised these children well, they are all productive citizens and several are happily married with children of their own.
Meanwhile, a little boy was born to a family in mid-Ohio, he had medical problems from birth which were compounded when the baby was allegedly "shook". The parents denied all allegations, and the baby remained in the hospital on life support for the next year and a half. Besides the life support, the baby, now toddler, was introduced to numerous medications and is now showing signs of addiction to his medication. His case was taken all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, but as they decide the fate of the parents this little boy remains in the hospital.
The hospital was concerned about the child, knowing that he is growing addicted to his medication and is on life support, even though he is now physically strong enough to live without it. However, he seems uninterested in attempting to live without his life support or his medication despite the numerous attempts of the doctors and nurses who care for him. Now that this little boy is two and he has been hospitalized for a year and a half, the doctors admit that they are stumped. How do they get this kid off of his life support and train him how to function as a normal child in a hospital?
They called in a consultant. The consultant felt like the only chance this child has to a normal life is to live with a normal family. The consultant believed the child to be depressed, and that was why he wasn't willing to live without any aid. The consultant wanted to call his cousin. His cousin was a strong man with a strong wife, and they had raised eleven highly functioning children. These people had a good work ethic, loving Christian values, and expertise in raising a handicapped child since they had taken in handicapped foster children in the past.
So, this week, this little boy will be traveling 3 hours to a small, insignificant town in Ohio to be joined with a family. A large, jolly, bustling family of eleven. He will be hugged and squeezed and loved for possibly the first time in his life. He will see that life can be fun, that life can be love, and that life can be hope. Is he too young to understand these things? Apparently not. Apparently he has already seen enough of the world to make him depressed. Now maybe he will see enough of God to give him comfort.
God sets the lonely in families,