Friday, February 26, 2010

My "Woo-Hoo!" Has Been Replaced By A "Yeah, but..."

Life has been fairly weird for me this last month or so--The fact that I haven't been talking much about anything other than knitting lately should be a good indicator that A) I'm at a loss B) I feel like my talking about this stuff won't help, and actually might make it worse and C) I can't imagine you guys would be all that interested in my downer crapola.  I personally don't like reading about other people's "Woe is me" stuff, and am uncertain that I can present it in a manner that is entertaining enough to get past my own personal expectations.
Having a "quiet time" goes against my first instinct to call upon the masses, voice my issue and ask, "Am I right?  Or am I just nuts?"  Just looking for my own little truth, here.  I believe, to the core of my very soul, in transparency, meaning, I'm not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes, not trying to con anyone into feeling a certain way or not feeling a certain way, not trying to get away with anything.  I just am.  I invite opinion.  I also have opinions, but I don't hold on to them with any voracious ferocity.  If I'm wrong, I'm wrong.  I'm not afraid of being wrong--I don't take it personally.  Being wrong about something just means that you have to change your path, or change your way of thinking, about that one thing.  Not a big deal. 
For the most part, I am an agenda-less observer who would ultimately rather go with the flow and see what happens than try to manipulate a situation.  Human behavior is entertaining to me.  Virtually nothing I could make up in my head would be as fun to watch as the frantic drama perpetrated by people with insecurities and agendas.  Having said that, I will add that I am as kind as I can possibly be, and, in almost any situation, I'm for the little guy, even when the "little guy" isn't actually "little" (ie, John Mayer, Kevin Smith, etc....).  I truly don't give a rats ass about impossible odds because I'm never gambling anything I can't afford to lose, and also, I feel infinitely better about myself when I'm standing up next to somebody that nobody is standing up for.  I seem to gravitate toward those kinds of conflicts in which someone is being picked on unjustly.  Might be a personality flaw....I'm certainly no Mother Theresa.
Anyway....what has been happening lately is that I feel like I totally lost my voice.  Like, I have something to LOSE by saying anything about anything that isn't safe.  My "Wooo-Hooo!" has been replaced by a "yeah, but..."  My confidence, my ability to know what the right thing is and do it, feels lost.  I'm falling back on safety, talking about knitting. 
What the hell?
Today, I recognize exactly where that comes from.  I recognize why I can't wrap my head around things, much less speak about them in my usual way--it's because the things that happened to me in my life have been...well....dumb, and ugly--that some people's agenda's are less than above board, and that people I enjoyed, admired, and loved, ultimately just took advantage of my good nature.  They did things that I would never think to do to somebody else, and, for that reason, I truly, truly do not understand.  At all.  It's like a whole different language.  No wonder I question myself.
This post, from my friend in Duluth went a long way in helping me make sense of it in my head...she talks about naming names--I refer to it as calling a spade a spade.  When it is in your nature to be nice, to support an underdog, or whatever, it's so easy to get caught up supporting someone who paints themselves an underdog in an effort to get you to be there for them.  It's a very, very effective thing that they do.  But they're not an underdog....they just play one for their gain.
Albert Einstein said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them".  Being hopeful, helpful, optimistic, energetic, positive and forgiving--being a good person--is what created the problem for me, with a couple of people in my life.  Maintaining that level of "nice" is certainly not going to solve my issues with them.  It's also not going to solve their problems for them.
So anyway....sorry for the boring upon boring-ness around here.  I would talk specifics if I thought it would help, but, like I said, it would just sound like me whining, and ultimately, that gets old, so fast.  Person A was a bitch, Person B was a jerk, Person C was a creepy cheater....yeah, yeah, yeah...who cares?  The unfortunate thing is that it makes you want to never give anyone the benefit of the doubt, or never give anyone a chance, ever again.  That's the real tragedy...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Well, Isn't That Interesting?

Yeah, was supposed to be "interesting" a couple of weeks ago, and I suppose it was. February 9th was particularly interesting, as was January 25. Or was that the 21st? I can't remember... but I know it was interesting. Is February going sloooow for anyone else? I mean, if felt like that last interesting day was a long time ago, but it was actually only two weeks.


Here is your Random Wednesday of Doooooom! (What can I say? Trying to keep it interesting...)

  • I have a friend who, when he says things like "Isn't that interesting?" I always get annoyed and think, "Oh shut the hell up and tell us what you really mean! GAH! WHY is that interesting? It's not 'interesting'! It's 'amusing'! Tell the truth!" Yes, this applies to me, as well. When I say "Interesting", what I actually mean is that it is amusing to me, personally--me as an evil, snarky know-it-all, that is. When I say "Isn't that interesting?", what I'm implying is more along the lines of, "I KNEW IT!" Just more snotty. Yeah, yeah, it's kind of like Vague-Booking, since you guys don't know what it is that I am talking about. Go ahead and smack me. Still interesting, though...
  • I was searching for a particular Beatles MP3 to put on the bloggy-blog widget (right side of the page, for those of you reading the blog at Barely Contained) and put "The Beatles" in the search. I discovered hundreds and hundreds of Beatles cover band MP3's, none of which I wanted to fish through in order to get to any actual Beatles recordings. Sorry. Instead of Beatles, I added DMB and Absinthe. Who would have figured they would be more accessible than the Beatles? I'm a little startled by that, to be honest....
  • I am starting to feel the hopefulness of daylight! Wooooo-Hooooo! Spring isn't far! I can practically smell it! Or maybe I'm just sensing some positive change on the horizon...either/or. Darkness ending.
  • I talked to a lady today who worked in a doctor's office just a few short blocks from where I used to live in Mobile, AL. I mentioned the connection to her and she scolded me for not having a Southern accent. Wonder if I have a Minnesota accent...? Anyone? Anyone?
  • Here's my little thing I'm working on. LOVE IT! Ok, honestly, I think it's beautiful. Or, rather, THEY are beautiful--this picture shows only one of the two. The colors are more pretty in real life. And yes, that pattern is basically made up--just stole some elements from other patterns and threw them all together. I just want to work on it and work on it and work on it! Please stay exciting, little socks....

Monday, February 22, 2010


This morning, I was talking to a friend of mine about our weekends, and here was my Ah-Ha! Moment Statement of the entire conversation--perhaps of my entire existence: 
"I wish I could find someone who actually liked me before I left them."
Jeezuzmarynjosef.....What the hell IS that?
Is that some kind of lame-ass, feel sorry for yourself crap, or what?
I try not to be one of those chronic complainer types.  When things are going wrong, I'm not first to say, "So-And-So is screwing things up!"  More likely, I think, "Am I screwing this up?"
In other words, I am the perfect companion for someone who likes to blame other people for their issues, and especially those who like to make a big deal out of everything--it's incredibly convenient to have me around so they can lay it all on the person who is already willing to accept responsibility.
Perfect for them.  Not such a great situation for me.  Oh, I live with it, and it doesn't even really bother me most of the time, but ultimately, it's not good for my soul.  I don't have an objection to taking one for the team, I only have problems when I occasionally wake up and notice that I'm the only one ON the team who's taking one for the team.  Ever.  Not that this is anyone's fault but my own--I attach a certain level of importance to relationships, and I'm willing to do just about whatever it takes to make that thing work out. 
Then, because I am Pollyanna, I want so very, very much for the other person to be just as enthusiastic and optimistically energetic about things as I am. 
Guess what?  Not so much.
Anyway, that's the short version of the long and drawn-out process by which one person in a relationship (me) gets taken for granted.  Again, not saying there is any malicious intent, here, they just turn out that way for me, pretty much all the time.   
Then, when I assess what is happening, decide I don't want to do that anymore, and leave, the other person suddenly realizes OMG My Life Is WAY Different And Not As Easy Without Them!
I would like it noted that I have never once said, "I told you so."
Like any other situation, I'm willing to accept responsibility for my part of the screw up.  I'm willing to say, "Yes, I am a doormat, and that personality trait turns me into a Relationship Retard."  However, I have yet to date or marry, or even work for anyone who is willing to apologize for, or even acknowledge the fact that they took full advantage of my doormat-ness, and at the end of the day, that is the problem.  THAT is the thing that leads me to say, "I wish I could find someone who actually liked me before I left them."
At least a half-dozen (or more) times in my life, I have been approached with the question of "Will you return?", by former mates, or former employers.  I have not yet said "yes" to any of the offers.  No, I don't hate any of these people--it's not like that.  I'm not bitter.  But for me--someone who is extremely energetic and enthusiastic in my pursuits--it takes an awful lot for me to come to the decision to abandon something.  I have a rather dogged persistence.  By the time I walk away, at least in my head, all hope is lost.  To convince me otherwise is not some casual thing.  It's a huge deal--as big a deal as it was for me to give up on it.
I have yet to meet my match.  I have yet to be asked to reconsider by anyone who is as excited about the prospect of reconciliation as I was about the job or relationship the first time through.  Is it incredibly egotistical of me to want someone to kiss my ass a little, or show more enthusiasm?  I don't think so.  I mean...we're talking about mostly sales and promotion people here--people who sell ideas for a living...don't I warrant any of those tactics?  Because if you don't believe in it enough to sell it, why should I?
Perhaps it is a lame romantic notion to believe that someone will, or should be, excited about YOU and not just excited that they found some low maintenance relief from the shit of their lives.  Maybe the movies put that romance into our heads.  What should we expect?  What do we truly deserve?  I wish it was easy to say.  Are some of us simply doomed to be the "relief" for others, and get no "relief" of our own? 
I have a very hard time believing that's how the universe actually works.  Really?  Accept your role as someone who provides for others, and in return, here are your crumbs?
Nah....sounds like bullshit to me.
The problem is, no matter how hard I stick to that, if I wake up alone enough days in a row, eventually, I start to wonder:
"Am I screwing this up?"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Turn and Burn

Sitting at the office, giving it my full attention for the next 30 minutes.
Not really.
I'm sitting at the office wishing I was SMOKING.  Grrrr.....
Oh the drama.  Lots of talky-talky around here, and INSANITY, and for me, talky = smoky.  Smoking is WHAT I DO when there is much conversation to be had.  I'm one of those cigarette waving, pace the floor smoking types...
...only, by "floor" I mean, "patio" or some other outside area, obviously, since I live in Minnesota.
I'm having a mini flash back to late Spring 2008---read all about it, right here.  I was living in Mobile, Alabama, wanting very badly to strangle my stepson every single day because he was such an awful little prick and I had no support from my husband on that issue, and my kids were coming to me for help because the combination of my husband and his kid was so awful together, one by being awful, and the other by letting him be awful, and my kids and I were getting completely screwed at every turn.  I had a vision in my head of a better life with none of that insanity, and I knew that something was about to blow up, I just didn't know what it was going to take for that to happen. 
Turns out I was right, and, something blew up, and eventually, after I left, the boy's father noticed that his son was, in fact, an awful little prick. 
Glad you finally saw the light, honey.  And honestly?  I'm sorry that it took me leaving for you to get that.  I wish to God it had turned out differently.
This feels like that. 
Oh, the players are different.  But there is still some awful, and, there are still people coming to me about the awful, and they are getting hurt by the awful, and I haven't the heart to ignore it.
F*ck, I need a cigarette...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No Particular Place

Wooot!  Random Wednesday!
  • Taught myself Magic Loop.  Don't love it.  I mean, it's OK, but, still a pain in the ass.  Talk to me when I have a finished project.  I wonder if it will be like labor pains, where it sucks, and then the put the baby in your arms and you totally forget how much it sucked?
  • Speaking of pain, my everything hurts.  There, I said it.  I feel like a very, very old person.  I fell slipped on the ice on my front steps and fell down them back in January, and after that happened, I had some pain and stiffness.  Not unexpected.  Problem is, IT NEVER WENT AWAY.  Seriously?  What the hell?  I've tried lots of moving around, I've tried no moving at all.  I've even tried my usual method of "pretend it doesn't hurt", which is what you do when you tell yourself you don't really have time for owes.  None of them work.  I've taken more pain relievers in the last three weeks than I did for all of 2009.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I do NOT want to go to my doctor.  Right-side rotator cuff, left hip.  Age 43.  That's just so wrong.  Granted, I have more than the average 43-year-old's amount of arthritis in my body, but still....
  • Speaking of my health....the not smoking thing is going OK.  I really, really want to smoke.  I wouldn't mind lighting up right here, right now, sitting at my desk in this climate-controlled and sterile office.  How long has it been since any of us smoked indoors?  Crazy.  Anyway...What is keeping me from smoking?  Nothing but sheer stubbornness, thank you.
  • Speaking of my stubbornness...try to act surprised when I tell you that I was unable to maintain my STFU pledge, regarding life at the office.  It was kind of like the day after a forest fire, those first few hours after I had the audacity to stand up and say the things that needed to be said--the devastation.  Nobody was talking, and there was a hell of a mood around here.  But things started to sprout again, and it feels more robust and strong, now.  I take no credit whatsoever.  Shit happens.  Sometimes you just feel called upon to do something, and you know it's the right thing to do, so, you do it, even though there are risks, and even though it sucks for a little while after.  Stephen Sigmund said: "Learn wisdom from the ways of a seedling. A seedling which is never hardened off through stressful situations will never become a strong productive plant."   I don't think of myself as a status quo wrecker.  I don't look for delicate balances to topple, just for fun.  But people should know: it takes more energy to maintain that balance or that status quo than it does to burn the whole damn thing to the ground and let it grow back.  Have the faith to allow it to become something stronger, something better.  Don't pour your heart into the bottomless pit of maintenance.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Really Stupid.

Re Kevin Smith: Dear SWAir: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You morons....

Not that I enjoy anybody being treated like crap, but I loooooove when shit like this happens. LOVE IT. Why? Because people are treated badly every day, and, most of them don't have a voice. When someone WITH a voice gets treated like shit, the whole thing becomes exposed for what it is. if a corporation has that right. And you don't have to be overweight for this kind of thing to happen to you...anyone who has ever been lectured on their financial situation by "customer service" at Wells Fargo knows exactly what that feels like.

Me! Pick me!

I've worked in public relations of some variety for my entire adult life, for big companies and small companies, and have discovered that there is one thing that all companies should know:

Whether you like it or not, public relations IS the job of every single person in your company who EVER has ANY contact with ANY customer.

Further, you are foolish not to make it the business of every person in your company. Do you know what happens when public relations becomes the business of every person in your company? Shitty customer service goes away. Embarrassing, ridiculous policies go away. If even the lowest employee is give stock and responsibility for the image of the company, they take care, they speak their minds to their bosses about things that just aren't right, and most importantly, the are not only allowed but also encouraged to do so.

Most employees at big companies detach themselves from the greater corporate picture, and are not discouraged from doing this. Listen up! The LAST person you want working for you is someone who doesn't question your policies. If they don't question, that means that they don't care. With only "yes" men, there are no checks and balances, and eventually, the whole thing topples over.

Public relations isn't just smoothing over the uproar when your bosses are thrust into the spotlight for doing something stupid to the wrong person, or worse, smiling and pretending everything is just fine when there is evidence to the contrary. Most of what your job should be, is PREVENTING this kind of thing from happening by having the balls to say something THE FIRST TIME you see it, and not waiting until it affects some celebrity with a large following on Twitter. Guess what? By the time that happens, YOU ARE SCREWED. I mean, there is literally NO WAY that SWAir can talk themselves out of looking like complete assholes right now. None. Oh, they can drop hints or plant stories that Kevin Smith may have been drinking, state that he "usually" buys two seats (uh...isn't that private information? Hello???) and imply that he "needs" two seats all they want. The good old "blame the victim" tactic. It's bullshit--never works. Never.

Bottom Line: Without a carved in stone height/weight/width policy ("you must be this tall/this fat to ride this ride....") they've got nothing but a vague, arbitrary policy, open to interpretation by employees not trained with the larger corporate picture in mind. It was going to bite them in the ass, eventually. Maybe they had nothing on the books because they were afraid of being labeled as a company that discriminates...wouldn't that be delightfully ironic?

I'm not an anti-corporate person. I work for a huge corporation. But here's the thing: like all of the other employees at my company, I am a human being. There are no automatons here--nobody controls how I FEEL about how we do things. There are no mind-control drugs floating through the ventilation systems of this or any other large corporation. No corporation in the world is so powerful that they can wave a magic wand and take away my feelings about the company or its policies, whether I'm an employee or a customer. This is true of every human being. REAL public relations, REAL customer service, acknowledges that, every minute of every day. What separates the men from the boys in Corporate America is a willingness to do right--right by their employees, who are the ones who have to explain, defend, and implement all of these policies, and right by their customers, the ones whose good will (read: dollars and willingness to spend them with us) allows us to continue doing what we do.

Duh, Southwest....but thanks for the entertaining example, of how not to do it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010



Team Mayer, y'all....

When this nation will start to learn to look at things in context, I don't know, but it won't be soon enough for me.  Just speaking as someone who has, on numerous occasions, said something and had it wildly mis-interpreted, I never cease to be amazed by people who do nothing all day but sit and look around for sh*t to be offended by.

I've never met John Mayer, we are not friends or acquaintances--oh, and also, I'm a white girl, so, I know that everything I'm about to say is going to be immediately disregarded, because what the hell do I know?  But STILL! 

(Uh, and for the record, I'm not as much of a white girl as Perez Hilton, but people actually listen to Perez because unlike most white girls, Perez has a penis...without the penis, he could be catty and hell and nobody would care...)  

Can I just say....yeah, it isn't polished, stand-up comedy, but I have a very hard time believing that anyone who actually pays attention could interpret this as anything other than just some guy being a guy.  Personally, I don't go out of my way to read his interviews, but I do keep up on the twitter, and I gotta tell ya, there has been nothing he's ever said that any rational person would interpret as anything other just something a normal guy would say.  

And to categorize all of this as outlandish, outrageous, call him a Lothario or whatever....has no one ever met anyone just like him?  Are we all pretending that men aren't like that?  Is that what we're doing?  Because pretty much ALL of the guys I know are EXACTLY like that.  They talk about their exes, they talk about sex, if presented with the opportunity, they'll probably have sex and maybe not be too entirely smart about it, they make jokes, they like porn, they think with their dicks.  This is news?  

I mean....I'm a girl (a real girl, not like Perez), and, I've been studying the male species for quite some time now, and...these are all pretty much givens.  

Truly, the only people riding the Men Shouldn't Be Like That train are the media and the delusional.  And I'm not saying that the way men are is always fun for females to deal with--sometimes, it's a pain in the ass.  But it's not news.  Not even close.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cleaning Up The Past

My inbox has been a constant barrage of "Buy Flowers For These Nice People You Bought Flowers For In The Past!!!"
It's not that I don't want to buy flowers for everyone--at this point, I'm just not doing it because on top of being insanely expensive, I don't like your sales tactics, Online Flower Vendor People.  Not one bit.
Oh, and also, you're insanely expensive.  That's the biggie.
Hidden among the "Buy Flowers!" was a "Hey!  Go See Robert Cray!" email, and I was super-excited about that, until I opened it and discovered that it was actually a "Go See Robert Cray at the Saenger Theatre in Mobile, Alabama" email.
Not that I wouldn't....I mean, he's totally worth the trip.  I could probably even find that theatre in downtown Mobile, and everything.  It's a beautiful theatre in a beautiful town....anyone wanna go with me?
But it was just another Inbox Past Life Blurb.  I get them once in a while, and haven't bothered fixing them or stopping them--some travel place giving me rates from Duluth or Biloxi, someone "reminding" me send this guy flowers, buy that person chocolate, send that other person some certified Angus beef.  Whatever.
All of this ease and convenience is annoying the living hell out of me.
Don't get me wrong--I'm an online shopping junkie.  No question.  I just wish these online vendors were more creative.  I mean, I buy from all the time, and I don't see them sending me emails every day, reminding me that I once shopped there.  Can you imagine?  Every day an email?  Or a dozen emails? 
"Hey!  Remember that time you ordered that weird, used CD from that hippy dippy record guy in Chicago?  Well, we've got more of those!"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Brand New Shiny Stuff

In honor of, uh, Monday, I decided to dye my hair red and quit cigarettes.

While this news may seem exciting at first, please remember that my hair has been red before, so it's actually nothing new.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What Trouble Can We Stir Up This Week?

Really, really bored.
Not that I purposely cause problems or drama for other people, but if I'm bored, I find myself delighting in the entertainment value of other people's problems and drama, because there is so little else to care about..  For example, if I were to hear some unfortunate news about the guy who dumped me ten years ago, I may smugly say, "Well, isn't that interesting?" and allow myself to a hearty laugh at his expense, whereas a week ago, when I wasn't bored, I didn't even care if he was still walking around on the planet, much less if Karma had bit him on the ass.
(For the record, there is no unfortunate news about the guy who dumped me ten years ago...other than the fact that his hair is COMPLETELY gone.  Bald is not something I personally care about, but it was one of those things he obsessed over, so, kind of ironic that he now has no hair, isn't it?)
I hereby declare this an Interesting Week.  It WILL be an interesting week before the week is through.  I predict that sometime in the area of Thursday, there's going to be a "Well, isn't that interesting?" thing happening.  At least one.  It might not be something I can blog about, but if you see me use the words, "Well, isn't that interesting?" you'll KNOW!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Getting Away With It

Working really hard today.
Don't tell my boss. 
Well, actually, she already knows, but, if you say the words, "Shelly's getting paid to sit at her desk and do a toe reduction on a sock design," then it sounds like I'm getting away with something, when I'm actually just knitting during my down time.
When people ask me what I do for a living, the first, snarky, answer that pops into my head is "I talk doctors down from the ledge, all day."
Not entirely untrue.
What I actually do is, when my company tells all of the physicians in the US, "oh, by the way, we're going to be doing THIS" and springs some new product/methodology on them, and the docs liked it the old way, and they're all mad as hell and want us to die, I'm the one who calms their asses down and teaches them how to do that thing that we're making them do while simultaneously Rah-Rah-Rah-ing the thing we're making them do. 
There is a specific set of skills required to bring a person from the point of seething hatred all the way to "Hey, I guess this doesn't suck and/or You guys are the BEST!"  Lucky me, I have those exact skills.  For the record, "You guys are the BEST!" is somewhat rare, but I'm almost always able to achieve something between "I guess this doesn't suck" and "This is actually pretty cool."  Close enough.  Considering that I slept through my public relations classes in college, that's quite good.  Don't tell my public relations professor that I got good at it, in spite of the hours spent snoozing--I don't want her to think that I'm getting away with something.
I "get away with" a lot of stuff--mostly because it doesn't occur to me to ask permission before I do a thing--hey, if I'm dead-wrong, I'll apologize and hang my head in shame for the required amount of time, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to try something just because someone who's never even thought about it is too scared to acknowledge that it just might work.  I admire my employer because they are a lot like that, and, that provides me with the most enjoyable job of explaining to people why that doesn't suck.
Know this: most people operate under a veil of fear.  To them, everything is a delicate balance, and they will go WAY out of their way to avoid toppling the cart.  People do all kinds of crazy things to stay away from discomfort, because they think it will be the end of them.  You wanna know something?  You're not that fragile.  Nothing in the world has more bounce-back than the human spirit.  People come back from horrendous situations, stronger than ever.  They come back as better people.  How can this be bad?  The dumb stuff my bosses throw out, for me to defend, is nothing compared to any real trauma.
I greatly admire the innovators--those that went out and did a thing and didn't wait around for the "no".  Or maybe they got a bunch of "no" and went ahead and did it anyway.  That takes guts.  It's also the reason why I really like my job, and the company I work for.  When an organization, or a person, is like that, I'm driven to support them--even if it means that I get to spend the day knitting because the company hasn't pissed anyone off this week.
What are YOU getting away with?  What would you LIKE to get away with, if you had the chance?