09 June 2006

High Alert Status

Much like Homeland Security, my dog has terrorism levels.

High Alert Status entails pricked ears, hair on end, intense focus, and a guttural "grrrr-uff" Let’s call it Red Level. High Alert Status happens on a regular basis and her humans are kept on a need-to-know basis. Unfortunately, we apparently don’t need to know often.
The dog has taken to patrolling her parameter from the comfort atop the picnic table on the deck. This, apparently, is the best vantage point.

Often, like just a moment to go, there is an Immediate Need to React.
Snoozing quietly on her post, she was suddenly compelled to be alert, launching off the table and barking. Apparently, a bird had entered her parameter without requesting permission for landing. Silly, silly bird.
Other times, it’s a raised head and pricked ears. She often looks at us, as if to say "Do you hear that? Should I get up? What do you think?" Most times, she decides "all clear" and we can go about our daily lives. This would be Yellow Level.

Sometimes, often when it’s just her and me home alone, she’ll look up and look at me with anxiety. She will look around as if she has just seen a ghost. Can I say just how much I HATE that? Yet, she doesn’t do it if the Mad Genius is around. So it’s either because he has extra-sensory powers that she trusts in more than me or
she’s just f#$king with me.

If we have company, she becomes the hostess. What would this be? Purple Level? "Here is our house. Here is my bum, please scratch me because they *never* scratch me. They don’t feed me either so excuse me while I supervise your eating, in case of emergency spillage." Yes, she is a cunning secret agent. She can only be foiled by food, it is her kryptonite.

Thankfully, we must again be on Green Level because she is snoozing on her post, much like Snoopy upon his doghouse. All is right with the world, for now.

The Dating Game

Oh for the love of all things Holy, my niece has begun dating.

She's "going with" a boy named Wayne. Wayne looks like a skateboarder and has the manners of an eight-year-old. I am so hoping it is a passing fancy. Considering her mother is straight-up crazy and my brother is completely incapable of choosing a proper mate, I'm hoping she has better luck in the romance department. I am a little skeptical as it also took me three tries to get marriage right. Her genetic odds are not great.

Anyhoo, I digress. It's never going to get better, this digression thing.

I was trying to remember the Dating Rules that my friend C and I had in high school. Some of them were silly, but upon retrospect, I think they were a good, solid set of guidelines:

1. Never date a guy you can take in a fistfight.
2. Never date a guy that wears more make-up than you do.
3. Never date a guy that can fit in your jeans.
4. Never date a guy that looks better in your clothes than you do.
5. Never date a guy that is better looking than you do.

Those are the rules that I remember. I've emailed C to see if she remembers any of the rest of them.
However, I do have others, more serious, to add:

NEVER date someone who can't decide if they want to be with you.
Never dates someone who is "misunderstood" People understand him perfectly. He's a loser, move on.
Never date someone who raises a hand to you. EVEN IN JEST. (Because I will hunt him down and inflict certain bodily harm...or just flatten all the tires on his car, like I did in high school for my little sister :-)

Date someone who makes you laugh because he's funny, not because he's disrespectful.
Date someone who make you feel good, not because he makes you *look* good.
Date someone who likes your friends, and whom your friends like.
Date someone who looks people in the eye and shakes your Dad's hand when they meet.
Date someone who opens door for you and says "Bless you" when you sneeze.

That's all I got for right now. I'm going to send them to my niece; I can do that because I'm the cool auntie. (:-D

I'll forward a copy to the Brother so he can post them on the fridge for an easy reference guide.

07 June 2006

Hungry Heart

If you regularly check in, you may notice that I don’t post daily, or even weekly. In light of recent developments, this may change. But for right now it may seem like I am a lyric in a Jackson Browne song: “I took a wrong turn and never came back.”

But I do return, often with a flurry of postings. It seems to be my process. I begin one post then others seem to fall into place quite quickly. Also, I work on a lap top and a dinosaur computer, sometimes my posts were written months ago just not posted. (see "May 9")

So, be patient, dear ones. I will always eventually return.

Especially now that I have time on my hands, I can get around to all those scribbled notes on envelopes and scraps of paper that I have lying next to my desk.

If you get a chance, click on the links to "All You Need to Know", my e-friend Terry always has something interesting to say. Or click on "Kristen's Book Reviews" and read what witty comment she has on the latest books she's read.

I hope you enjoy the ride. Thanks for checking in.

Big Brother

The Mad Genius’s work now has surveillance cameras. It has become a big controversy. The intention is as a security measure but has now become the hot topic of privacy in the work place.

Suddenly people are hyper-aware of what they are doing now that they are being “watched.” Some people are saying it’s simply a control issue, the “management” wants to know what everyone is doing. Well, yeah. I’m sure that it’s a benefit.

I guess my opinion is a little skewed as I see where it could be an effective management tool. It’s not as if they work only in an office, it’s a huge job site with pockets of activity and heavy machinery. It can be security, it can be safety, it can be cost-productive.

It can be argued that a simple camera may not show what exactly is happening, especially since there is no audio. What may look like a bull-shitting/gossip session may actually be a work-based conversation. Conversely, it can show a person what does happen day-to-day that shouldn’t.

Many businesses have surveillance cameras, especially financial institutions. While I think it would be initially uncomfortable, a person would eventually acclimate and forget that they are there. Look at all the reality shows! But my point is, the presence of cameras seem to becoming more commonplace.

Is it more of an issue because it’s new? If they began the job with the cameras installed, would they be so upset about it?

They say, also, that it’s a matter of trust. They’ve gone this long without cameras, why begin now? As long as their work is being completed, what’s the worry?

That’s another argument: if they are doing their jobs properly, there is nothing to worry about. Hmmm. This is fine, but Everyone goofs off occasionally. Will it be heightened now that it’s being recorded?

Think about it…right now someone is recording your every move. Every time you touch your nose or scratch personal places. Every time you check your personal emails. Every time you do anything, it’s being recorded.

Some people would love that…again, just look at reality television. But I think most wouldn’t.

But, fact remains, it’s becoming a part of life. It’s a fact that I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not. It’s beginning to weigh in with the death penalty and abortion.

Smile, you may be on candid camera!

Separate Lives

No, not the Phil Collins song. It’s a theory. I’ve heard about it before, but usually in reference to cheating spouses and criminals.

Former President Bill Clinton stated in a chapter of his book how he lived parallel lives. Two, completely independent, separate lives: his work life and his personal life. My initial reaction was an eye roll and sarcastic “whatever”. It seemed a lame excuse for making a poor choice.

Then I thought about it. I think he’s more normal than one would think. He summed up a way that, I believe, many people live their lives.

Shortly after learning this theory, I read an interview with Caroline Kepcher from Donald Trump’s organization – made famous by The Apprentice. She mentioned that she too keeps her personal and business life purposefully separate.

I found that I do that. I never let my work into my personal life. I keep the two distinctly separate. I’d like to say that my personal life never gets into my work life but it does happen. It’s inevitable, as I am human.

Every once in a while, my lives collide. It’s disconcerting. Although I am the same person, it’s not like split personalities; I am a different person in each world. Whereas I believe my separate lives are more extreme than most cases, I think everyone has their own personal version.

My (former now) work world is a girl world. I have a staff of 16 women and 2 men. It’s a world filled with emotions and free-flowing thoughts, ideas and hormones.

My home world is boy world. It’s just me & the Mad Genius, who is a man’s man. He has a brother and no sisters. Our neighbor is our father-figure, a widower. Our hobbies are also boy activities.

Boy world is a world of black & white, say it like it is. Feelings are clear & well-spoken and there is rarely ambiguity.

Boys can tell one another to f&%# off and they’re fine the next minute. In girl world, the time & date will be noted, to be used for future reference. In boy world if someone is upset, they deal with it directly. This is usually not the case in girl world.

Frankly, I like boy world better when it comes to communication. It’s clear and one never doubts. In girl world, it’s murky and ever shifting. Girl world isn’t as forgiving.
But girl world is usually more caring and compassionate. It has a soft side where boy world has a soft underbelly that one rarely sees.

I just wonder, they say that the world would be a better & different place if women were in charge. Having experienced both worlds, I’m not certain. Each has their pluses & minuses.

So while my separate lives are black & white, I think most are more ambiguous. The business personality & the home personality, the mommy personality and the spouse or child personality.

It’s interesting to consider. What are your separate lives?

May 9

Today is my best friends birthday. I’ve written the day a few times today with a sigh.
You see, this is the friend that was (yes, was - see "What do to about a Problem Like Maria)
in jail. Now she’s home with her family, like nothing has ever happened. Well, with the exception of her husband in prison and now has an 18-month hole in her resume.

I’ve not spoken to her since her initial calls from jail. I just can’t conceive of having a friendship with her. She’s crossed the line, not only because of the crimes she’s committed, but also because of the person she WAS.

I get it now. In high school, nothing is ever as it seems. At that age, you *think* you know everything. In fact, you’re certain of it. It’s just so OBVIOUS. Parents and teachers are stupid, they’ve never experienced what you’ve experienced.

With time comes wisdom usually and one learns important lessons in hindsight.

This was one of those friendships that had lasted the bonds of time. It crossed continents, marriages, children, and crises. Time would pass, but the bond remained the same.
Then in a zippy twist tantamount to a Mary Higgins Clark novel, all is NOT at ALL what it seemed…or ever was.

This friend is addicted to unhealthy relationships. I can see the pattern now.
This friend had many separate lives; depending on which person she was interacting with.
This friend has serious flaws in her psyche that make the line of morality blurry. This revelation is not only drawn from the two court files worth of charges and evidence. It is also drawn from the wisdom of hindsight.

I would like to rend my clothing and declare her dead to me. I would like to banish every remnant of her from my life. But I can’t. This person, as unhealthy as she is and was,
is part of my fabric. She is part of me, and how I became me. To deny her completely is to change who I am.

I just hope that I can and will continue to make better choices despite this absence. I hope that someday I can forgive. I can recognize that she is not her actions and hope that she can make better choices.

In the meantime, I will sigh as this day passes each year. The person I knew is dead. It's not a reason for celebration anymore.

06 June 2006


Getting fired sucks. I know, you just rolled your eyes and muttered "Duh." But really, it does.
Having recently been fired, I speak from experience.

You know, in my situation, it is not even the fired part that bothers me. It's the loss.
It is the loss of trust that I had with the person who did the deed.
It is the loss of friendships with my co-workers and clients.
It is the loss of structure. I have no idea how to manage my day.
It is the loss of finances. This has put a crimp in my life, certainly.
It is not just the loss of a "job". It's a lifestyle change.

Everyone has been supportive. I have heard "Everything happens for a reason" "It's going to be okay," etc. Everyone has said, "Take some time off." As nice as that sounds, I am having a difficult time just chilling. I feel compelled to do *something* I am not a productive member of society.

And there is that pesky bill thing too. Oh, yeah, that.

God doesn't like arrogance, I've always said, and he's sure making certain that I'm not arrogant!
And be careful what you wish for. I recently was wishing that I could just work part time or quit and become a writer full-time. Well, prophetically, I got my wish! Be careful what you wish for!

Although the reasons for being fired are varied...budgetary, take-overs, burnout...
It really doesn't matter. You still have to say you were fired. What an ego-check.

I have learned to phrase it as "I was unexpectedly separated from my job", which sounds so much nicer. It doesn’t feel so cheezy. I don't feel like such a loser.

But the fact remains; I have been Trumped. I am not the Apprentice. I have been fired.

American Express Ad

Recently, American Express has had an interesting print ad. It's a Getting to know you quiz, much like you find in your email entitled "Getting to Know You." They have had interesting questions, so instead of peppering everyone with one more pass-along email I'm just posting my answers here.

Feel free to play along.

My Name: There are many versions of me.

Childhood Ambition: to be a teacher.

Fondest Memory: Ice skating with my eldest brother. (ironically, one of my worst memories is ice skating with my younger brother :-)

Soundtrack: My life *is* a country song

Retreat: My home

Wildest Dream: Living in Nantucket as a successful writer

Proudest Moment: Marrying the Mad Genius

Biggest Challenge: My past

Alarm Clock: Mad Genius saying "It's time to get up, Bud"

Perfect Day: No work, no phone, good movies, and a good book. Oh and a bath. And chocolate.

First Job: Babysitting & housekeeping

Indulgence: Books

Last Purchase: Books

Favorite Movie: I can't choose just one!

Something you've always wanted to do: Drive alone across the US

What Amuses You: Mad Genius, on a daily basis.

What's the most dangerous thing you've ever done?
HAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm a licensed pyrotechnican and drag race. I laugh at Danger! No, really. Hmmm...I've done some stupid things. Street Race when I was 16, driving when I was 16. Pretty much anything I did when I was 16. Got married at 19.

Favorite word? Fuck-all is my favorite curse word. Serendipity is my favorite regular word.

Where do you dance? In the car.

What's the number one problem in the world today? Greed

If you could change the world, what would you do? Stop Poverty

Inspiration: Many things & peope inspire me on a daily basis.

My Life: is in progress and never boring.


okay /O-'kA, as in assenting or agreeing. Also: APPROVAL, APPROVE, AUTHORIZE
There was a quote at my (former) work that stated "Soon, everything will be okay".

Such a simple word, that can illicit such strong emotions.

Is there nothing more comforting than hearing "Are you okay?" from a loved one?
Or a "Everything's going to be okay" after something terrible has happened.

Such a simple word, slang really.

It can also express approval or acceptance. What's better than "okay" for ananswer when requesting something?

Such a positive word. It can change your world in a heartbeat.

It's funny how such a little word can have such an impact. It's so versatile. It can erase sadness, it can comfort & soothe, it can give approval.


01 June 2006

Bloody Hell

Ever heard of Biolife Plasma Services? They buy your plasma. They have a cheery little jingle on the radio ad about how you are a lifesaver and all that.

One of my former co-workers donates regularly and reports that it is easy money. She goes two-three times a week. I *thought* she said she made $45 a pop.

Bored, unemployed, and soon to be broke, I figured "What the hell. I'll give it a try." Easy money baby!

You know how you judge an apartment complex by the kinds of cars you see in the parking spaces? This should have been my first clue.

The second clue was the fact that the two "gentlemen" waiting looked like meth-heads and made me wonder how they got past the "illicit substances" questions.

Third clue is the person that checked me in was a puppy. He was 20, at most, and I feel that was being generous.
So, they took a bunch of information and someone else gave me a "physical" which meant listening to my heart, flashing a light in my eyes and mouth and testing my reflexes. This was clue number 4.

Then it was my turn. You sit in these recliner like things and there are pinball looking machines next to each chair.
First, they have you sign another form. Then they give you the money in this furtive little flourish. A whopping $15. Okay, at this point, I am ready to bail. I have already wasted $15 worth of time. But I am kinda committed at this point.

They hook me up, but not without issues. Let me preface this with the fact that I have freakishly low blood pressure, usually 112/65, which they assured me would not be an issue.

After fiddling with the darning needle in my arm, and not before I told the guy to stop fiddling with said needle, they started the machine. They remind you to repeatedly squeeze your hand when the machine beeps. Well, it is always freaking beeping...and so are the twelve others that are in the same room. So, I should have Popeye forearm muscles in my left arm.

On the time ticks, I am sitting, squeezing, and trying to read, one handed. There is sign that says that wireless internet is available. It took me a minute to realize that a laptop usually takes two hands, thus wireless internet is just a clever distraction technique. Nice try though.

They advised me that they take your blood, then inject saline so that you don't pass out & dehydrate, then inject your plasma-less blood back into you. The saline, they said, will make you cold. As time passes, the guy asks me if I taste metal. What? Apparently, when the saline is injected a person usually tastes metal. Reminiscence of having braces, lucky me. One more reason for me NOT to do this ever again.

Oh, and your lips tingle. Tingle, hypothermia tingle. "But it's common." GREAT.

So, nearly an hour has passed, I am supposed to be done soon and I am getting fidgety. I have already decided that this is SO NOT FOR ME, especially for 15 f&#$ing dollars!

I happen to begin feeling a little, shall I say, disconnected. I looked down at my arm and I noticed blood begin to seep. Now, I am not a doctor, don't even play one on TV, but I know that's not supposed to happen. I tried to get the "nurses" attention and finally did right before I had the "Go toward the light" feeling.

They pulled out the needle and put a cold compress on my arm...but not before disagreeing on whether or not to poke my OTHER arm and inject me with more saline. Now, I am nearly unconscious at this point but I could feel my backbone stiffen. They sure as HELL wasn't going to poke me again!

A cup of water and two ice packs and TLC from a cutie named TJ was the final solution. (Other than the whole vampire thing, I'm crushing a little on TJ.)
Forty-five minutes later, my blood pressure is - no word of a lie - 88/59. Much to my surprise, they let me go home...driving myself, by the way. (because I'm sure the officer will understand)

Needless to say, I felt like poo the rest of the day and frankly, don't feel all that special today. Oh, and I am sporting a nice junkie bruise on my arm.


This is definitely in the Top 10 of the Dumbest Things I have EVER Done. Ever.