Wednesday, January 31

I can't believe I forgot to mention this

A couple of weeks ago I was in a meeting and a completely gender neutral person walked in. I was busy paying attention to someone's presentation so I didn't think much of him-or-is-it-her.
It was more of a low grade curiosity. Eventually, a co-worker said "Oh, has everyone met my new intern?" and gestured towards him-or-is-it-her. Relived, I though "Oh good, I'll get a name. That should help." No such luck. My coworker went on to say "I'd like everyone to meet PJ." Ok, that doesn't help. Frankly, I didn't care if PJ was a very feminine man or an entirely androgynous female. I just didn't want to offend him-or-is-it-her in any way.

Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore. I cornered my co-worker (PJ's boss) and explained that, while I didn't want to be rude, I had to know if PJ was male or female. He laughed and said "I know. You're not the first to ask. PJ is a guy. I had to ask him myself. I asked if he preferred to be referred to as he or she and he just laughed and said 'Whatever.' It took me a while to get it out of him"

I've since seen PJ in the halls and I always call a out a cheerful "Hello." I'm sure people always act awkwardly around him and I don't want to be one of them. Once I knew PJ was a man it seemed obvious that he was. At this point, I don't think much of his gender, well, not until today.

This evening, another co-worker, while walking down the hall, said "Ok, we need to talk." To which I replied "What did I do now?". She said "I walked in the ladies room and PJ was in there." She was obviously upset about PJ's presence in the ladies room. I immediately thought to myself "Hmm, I don't know if that would bother me or not. PJ is clearly not interested in woman so I guess it doesn't matter which bathroom he uses." She then said "I'm in there trying to have a lady tinkle and there's PJ. He threw me off my game!"

Ultimately, I told her that if it really bothered her she'd have to mention it to HR. She doesn't want to cause any trouble but is sincerely freaked out by a guy in the ladies room.

My favorite part of this whole thing is contemplating how my big, fat, corporate company will handle this. They'll want to be sensitive and PC but they're sort of back against a wall on this one. I feel bad for PJ but I suppose he goes through this all the time and is probably used to it. It should be interesting to see how HR handles this one. Welcome to the 21st century, I guess, huh?

Tuesday, January 30

Put down the crack pipe

One of my all time favorite lines from a movie is from Moonstruck. Olympia Dukakis' character turns to her father-in-law, seated at the dinner table, and says "Old man, you give any more of my food to those dogs and I'll kick you 'til you're dead." Her matter of fact delivery and his expression are priceless.

Today, it took everything I had to not say that to a client. They continue to ask for something I CAN NOT get for them. Every time I explain they are making an unrealistic request they respond with "We'll talk about it tomorrow." I then say "In an effort to manage expectations, I need to tell you that won't be happening." They reply with "Ok, we'll explain our request more tomorrow." I came this close to saying "You might as well ask me to call the Pope for a private prayer."

My question is this: Is there a nice way to say "Ask me one more time and I'll kick you 'til you're dead."?

Saturday, January 27

Welcome to the 17th century

Yesterday, a new temp started. He was helping the woman who sits across the aisle from me. I'd noticed he spent a considerable amount of time texting people and that my co-worker seemed to be doing all the work while he sat and watched. The only thing that seemed to take his mind off the texting was his habit of watching as every woman walked by. I find this incredibly juvenile and offensive outside of he workplace but inside the workplace it's downright disgusting. I work in an area that's made up of about 80% woman... very strong women. I guess this is how I'm fortunate enough to forget what lecherous behaviour looks like. The kid made sure to look everyone in the eye (cool) but to get in their personal space (date rapist). He gave me the creeps but I was way too busy to care. At the end of the day the big, big, big boss came over to speak to me about a project I'm wrapping up. As she stepped from my desk I could hear my co-worker introduce the new temp. His reply was, and I swear, "Oh, you're the girl in the corner office. Yeah, I pay attention" Um, "girl"?! Are you kidding me? I hate to get on my feminist high horse but I doubt he would have referred to the male big-big boss as "the boy in the corner office". I'm not sure if that makes him more an idiot or an asshole.

After he left, my co-worker said "I think my temp is a little too casual. What do you think?" I just said "Girl in the corner office"? She said "I know! I braced myself but she took it in stride." He's toast.

Tuesday, January 23

It's a miracle!

So, I've had the new bed a month or so now and I'm officially sleeping well and through the night as a result. They say it takes about a month to get used to a new bed and "they" are right. I always thought I was a light sleeper but I was wrong. Dad left for an expedition at 3:00 am last night and his buddy parked right next to my window and I never heard a thing! Between my magic bed and my rain CD I'm finally sleeping well. I feel great. I am sharper and more focused throughout the day. It's amazing. All this time I thought Lindsey Wagner was full of crap but she's right. Who knew?

Do yourself a favor, save up some money and go get a new bed... ASAP!

As for this image, I can now say I know the feeling!

Monday, January 22

Little Children

I saw Little Children over the weekend. It's very good and has lots to say but in the end it made me think we're all little children and all act as such. The difference between us is how and when our adult instincts, responsibilities and ethics kick in.

Anyone who stumbles along this little corner of the Internet knows that I'm wrestling with my inner granny. Along with my abnormal obsession with BBC programming and Masterpiece Theater (yes, last night's Jane Eyre was great!!!) I'm embarrassed to report that I recently made a purchase from the Foot Smart catalog. Good Lord! Along those same lines, I love my carpool partner's heated seats and, when seated in mine, often think I really need to get out dad's heating pad and lean into it one night. A heating pad! I ask you, what is more granny than that? Any day now, I expect to start complaining "my corns are killing me." Rest assured, I don't not presently have corns to complain about but I figure it's just a matter of time.

The happy news is that a few times a day I feel the little child within rearing her rambunctious little head. Today she did the following:

While leaving the restroom, I ran into the Big, Big, Big Boss. The restroom door is very close to a stairwell with a ridiculously large stuffed animal perched on a short wall. BBBB looked at me and said "Do you ever feel like just shoving that thing down the stairs?" I replied "Every time I pass him." Thank God! I thought I was the only one.

I've been fighting a cold for a over a week and have been triumphant except for the strange symptom of waking each morning with the gravelly voice of an 80-year-old, chain-smoking, slot-machine-addicted granny. As a result, I giddily discovered that I can comfortably sing along with Stevie Nicks throughout Landslide. I'm sorry, it's super-cool and I can't stop!

During lunch in the cafeteria, a friend nudged me and said 'There he is, my work fantasy boyfriend." She was right, he was definitely WFB material. It was just like junior high.

We're in the middle of intense financial meetings this week. Big groups of us meet with our finance team and run through numbers and strategies. My meeting isn't until later in the week. I'm therefore in the middle of cramming. A former boss finished her meeting this afternoon then rushed over to me and said "we haven't sent any of those emails. Can you do it?" (I realize this sounds simple but it's intended for a large distribution list, one that I haven't created yet. I'd have to compose the email then hand pick names from a list of thousands.) My response was "ARE YOU HIGH?! Oh, I get it, now that your meeting is over..." She just laughed at me. Everyone in cubicle land heard me. Dammit! It was like a taste of tourette's.

At the end of the day, I remain an annoying 13-year-old child. She's mostly kept under wraps but she likes to send inappropriate messages through my mind and they are in constant danger of escaping out of my mouth. I figured out what she might look like here. I'd post a pic of her but I'm tired and I can't figure out how to do it. Let's just say she is mightily sticking out her tongue, is wearing my phone headset, pig-tails and a "Kiss my Ass" tee shirt. Have fun putting a face to your inner child.

Thursday, January 18

Auntie Establishment

I got home early today due to an afternoon doctor appointment. My niece and nephew were with my folks when I got home. Here are excerpts from some of our conversations:

Little Man: Ow! Grandma, she punched me!
Lucy: (Absentmindedly) Well... punch her back.
(Now, let's be clear, I am in no way an "eye for and eye" kinda gal. I just wanted to see what kind of reaction I would get. It was risky but SO worth it. The stunned looks and silence were priceless. We all started laughing.)

Mom and I were talking about how American Idol is so mean spirited and that we didn't think it was good for kids to see that kind of accepted cruelty.
Lucy: (To the kids) You're not ever mean to kids at school are you?
Little Man: (Sly grin)
Lucy: No! You're not a meanie!!
Little Man: Wellll, there's this one kid, who when we get a run, and we're safe, he'll throw the ball anyway and call us out.
Lucy: So, he a cheater-cheater?
Little Man: Yeah, so we don't like to play with him.
Lucy: Well, do you explain why you don't like to play with him?
Little Man: No. We never tell him.
Lucy: Well, you should explain that he's sometimes a cheater and that it's a bummer and maybe he'll play nice some time. Tell him if he stops cheating you'd be delighted to play with him.
Little Man: But kick ball is my life.
Lucy: ...?
Little Man: (giggles)
Lucy: (giggles)

Later my niece tossed a princess pillow at her brother's head (yes, she's constantly seeking his attention). He didn't seem to care but it bothered me. I grabbed her arm to turn her towards me and sternly said "Don't throw things at your brother's head." She hates to be scolded and gets very serious look on her face and sort of freezes. The problem is that frozen expression just cracks me up! I know I was supposed to keep my composure and remain a serious adult but I burst out laughing instead. She was relieved to feel off the hook. Between yelps of laughter I said "I'm serious. (hehehe) Don't throw things at your brother. (HEHEHE) I mean it!!! (BWAHAHAHAHAH)!!!" Her brother just looked at me and shook his head.

Thank God I'm not a parent.

Tuesday, January 16

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

Tonight, when I got home, I flipped on the tv expecting to find it set to American Idol. I was happily surprised to find that my Tivo had wisely decided to override my AI season pass for my Frontline season pass. (Reason #849 as to why I LOVE my Tivo.)

Tonight's Frontline, titled Hand to God, tells the story of a middle aged man coming to terms with his long repressed nightmare of sexual abuse at the hands of his childhood priest (and yeah the lower case "p" is deliberate). A word of warning: This episode can be, of course, difficult to watch but is ultimately incredibly well done. The man goes all the way back to the abuse then talks about the aftermath and how his life developed after those terrible years. He was one of hundreds of victims (I hate that word but don't know what else to use here) of the infamously disgraced Boston Archdiocese case. (On the other hand the word "disgraced" has never been better suited.)

I recently heard someone say that as distasteful as the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal was, it ultimately lead to the exposure of the Catholic Church's protection of so many pedophiles. At first I thought that was a stretch but, when you think about it, it does make some sense. The thought is that the country became accustomed to hearing sexually descriptive language in the evening news so we were more open to hear what the Archdiocese of Boston covered up for so many years. In other words, we were ready to hear all of the terrible details without covering our ears and repeating "La, la, la, la, la. I'm not listening to you." as we'd done in the past.

I know, I know, not the most entertaining of posts but again I have to recommend Frontline. The film was made by the "victim's" brother. The abused man went to therapy and took on the Catholic Church while trying to recover, the filmmaker reacted by making an excellent documentary.

At one point they are gathering stock footage of significant buildings in the brother's story. A priest comes out and demands that they stop filming. When the filmmaker explains why they need the footage the priests' response is "It's all in your head. You're a sad little man." Seeing this made my stomach turn. I'm, of course, tempted to write that SOB a letter but I'm pretty sure he's busy packing his bags for the Hell Express.

As the Frontline end's, Bob Dylan's A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall plays into the credits. All I could think was "Well, ain't that the truth."

Sunday, January 14

Excessively Diverted

I wouldn't call it writer's block but more a type of writer's apathy. (Besides, I'm no writer.)
I just haven't had much to say lately.

We're going through a quarterly freak-out at work. I guess I've just been too beat at the end of the day to jot anything down here.

Over this long weekend I've laid low but I can tell you a little about it:
  • I'm trying a couple of new recipes, one was so-so, the other will be made tomorrow. I'll have to tell you about it later.
  • I saw Notes on a Scandal yesterday. It's got some great performances and I liked it.
  • I've become obsessed with a BBC series called The House of Elliot. It's from the early 90's so that may explain the fact that I have NO recollection of it.
  • I've downloaded some new stuff from iTunes.
  • Lately, I'm falling to sleep to a recently rediscovered Hawaiian Rain Showers CD. I love it! I'm slightly paranoid that I will become addicted to it. (You know, unable to sleep without it.) I highly recommend giving it a try though.
  • I intended to do some scrapping this weekend but that hasn't happened. I still have to finish my London/Dublin trip so, needless to say, I haven't even started my South Dakota trip.
  • I Netflix'd an interesting film called Conversations with Other Women. It's not exactly a fast paced flick but it has a good story to tell and it does so with a split screen throughout. I realize "interesting" is, as my journalism professor called, a "thud" word but it's true in this instance.
  • It's damn cold around here lately. The nights have been dipping below 30 degrees. Mom and I have been worried that our "crop" (aka one orange tree) may freeze. Dad can't help but laugh at us.
  • I learned that I am not yet a Janeite. Apparently having read Pride and Prejudice (albeit several times) and seen many Austen based films doesn't cut it. Take the test to see how you do. I've got some reading to do.
  • I still love my new bed.

Wednesday, January 10


So, after a quick tutorial from Trooperdog (Thanks Troop!) I'm posting the dreaded High School Senior Portrait. (Please keep in mind that I graduated in 1984 and, yes, those are braces. *Shudder*)

As I recall I had my hair "done" for this photo. I remember wanting to wear a solid colored sweater. I even had a nice dark purple number with an interesting collar all picked out but this was taken in August and I just couldn't stomach the idea of a sweater. I thought of changing at the photo studio but how was I to change into a sweater at the photo studio over my freshly styled hair? Oh, the dilemma. This may have been my Mom's peasant dress but it was simple and not too hot on that August day so it won out. I was never thrilled with it but whatever...

Ok, now for my dare: I'd like Norman to post his senior portrait but he seems to have abandoned his blog. What do you say Norman? How 'bout coming out of retirement for this one?

Saturday, January 6

PBS 2007

I've been raised on PBS. From Mister Rogers to Bill Moyers or Sesame Street to Frontline PBS has always been there. Because I love it so much I decided to check out what was coming up in 2007. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:

Jane Eyre, the Masterpiece Theater production (Woo hoo!)
Frontline, some of the only journalism left on television
American Experience has some good stuff coming up
History Detectives is a lot of fun
P.O.V. is always a marvel
Secrets of the Dead is fascinating
Austin City Limits, because you never know what to expect except good music
BBC World News, for a fresh perspective
and so much more...

Here are a few you might have missed but could always Netflix:
Annie Liebovitz was recently featured on American Masters. Hopefully you got to see it.
American Experience New York: A Documentary Film and Influenza 1918 were both excellent.

Obviously, there is so much more to PBS but I thought I throw out a few recommendations. Happy viewing!

Friday, January 5

Tech support

Recently we recieved emails at work telling us that due to security issues we'd need to upgrade our software and install stuff to sign online wirelessly. The email went on to explain that we would all be receiving packets with detailed instructions on how to install the software along with a CD full of said software OR we could walk our laptops down the street to a temporary office full of IT guys who would do it for us. Needless to say, a group of us got together and took a little walk. When we arrived, no IT guys were there (what?!) so we were asked to come back later OR wait in a conference room. We decided to wait. It was a good decision. We were soon all assigned to tech guys. Naturally we had a lot of questions. You have no idea how great it is to get a half dozen tech guys together and lob questions at them. They had a cure for everything. It was great! My tech guy got my little lap top to do things it would never even dream of doing for me. We told them that, while we admired their optimism, there was no way in hell we were going to try to install all that crap ourselves. By the end of our session I was standing up in the room clapping and saying "Come one everyone, let's give it up for the Kevin! Woo, hoo!!!" I think it might have been Kevin's first standing ovation.

In other tech news, today I was dared to post my high school senior portrait on this blog. I'd love to oblige but I may not be technically savvy enough to pull it off. I lack a scanner and when I went to our online High School Yearbook (yes, they actually exist...what a nightmare!) I'm only able to copy the entire page. It just doesn't seem fair to drag my fellow graduates into this dare. Shandon, if you can tell me how to do it, I will. And while we're on a tech topic: Trooper, how do you get those fun You Tube clips on your site? I love my MacBook but I don't think it's very good at copying and pasting video and portions of high school yearbook pages. Help!

Tuesday, January 2

Show some respect

I miss my week off. I had such a nice relaxing bit of time off. *sigh*

Oh well, at least I get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, then President's Day next month. Speaking of... did anyone else feel sort of strong-armed into mourning Ford in the past week? I mean, I'm sorry he died, and I feel really bad for Betty but sheesh! He had 93 pretty interesting years. I was actually going to listen to the eulogy/service this morning but when I got in the car and turned on NPR I was "treated" to Bush drawling on insincerely. Blechhh! I'm sorry, I just couldn't stomach it. The jerk couldn't even get his butt to Washington for the rotunda services. Isn't that part of his gig, by the way? To at least feign sorrow for the passing of a predecessor? What a jackass. I'm not sure which is more distasteful, CNN pushing the nation to mourn for ratings or the thought of W partying in the new year instead of getting back to DC for ceremonies. It's not like he was busy making peace somewhere. I hope the Fords threw him a few stink-eyes.

Ok, I'll stop now...

On lighter note, check out this cool blog I stumbled upon. It's not updated regularly but it's worth a peek from time to time. I've always longed to be more creative type and this is a fun way to live vicariously through the artists out there. Check out Miss December 17th's digs. Holy cow!

Monday, January 1

So sick

I woke up yesterday morning with a terrible stomach flu. Ugh! I'd been fine the day before, then it hit me hard. At first I thought it was my body punishing me for eating so much during the holidays but, eventually, it became clear that I had a bug. It felt like I had needles in my stomach. At one point it even hurt to lie down. I just sat up in my reading chair with my new blanket wrapped around me.

I was incredibly achy last night so I took a couple of Tylenol PMs. Because I'd slept through much of yesterday I was still awake at 1:00 am. When I finally fell asleep I fell hard and didn't wake up until past 9:00 am. That is unusual for me. I was sleeping so deeply that I missed the Stealth Bombers that passed over our house after cruising the Rose Parade route. Dang it!

When I finally woke up this morning, I felt 100% better. I just sat up and thought "What the hell was that all about?!" I didn't eat all day yesterday so I guess that's one way to kick off a New Year's diet.

The biggest bummer is that I was supposed to go to the Rose Parade with my niece, nephew, sil and her mom among others. I had to drop out last night because the thought of sitting with no known restroom in the vicinity was not going to work. I had been looking forward to seeing the parade because my nephew is a huge Star Wars fan and George Lucas was to be Master of Ceremonies. Mostly I wanted to see the Storm Troopers march. I read about them in the paper and had to see the guys who travelled from around the world. (They apparently re-enact battles from Star Wars films. It's a level of geekdom that's so beyond nerdy it can only be admired.)

I've only been to the Rose Parade once, which is considered unusual since I've lived in the Pasadena area for most of my life. In fact, whenever someone asks where I live I tell them to think Rose Parade/Rose Bowl. I live in those Foothills and especially LOVE to point it out to smug East Coasters. This is the day that most reminds me why I still live here. The fact that I can walk out to the orange tree, by the pool, in bare feet, and pick an Orange off the tree for breakfast is my favorite part of Southern California living.

I've watched the Rose Parade every year for as long as I can remember. It's a pretty big deal around here. I'm always so annoyed with people who don't even know what I'm talking about when I mention it. It's the mother of all parades, people! And for the record, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is child's play compared to ours. Also, to see it in person is an extraordinary experience. You can't imagine the wonderful scent from all of those flowers.

Oh well, guess 'll have to catch it next year.

Here's to a great 2007!!