Friday, February 25, 2011

Heads Full of No

So, it is decided that people who "don't like" a particular food and make a big show of not liking it are losers.  Can we all agree?
The reason I say this is because I have heard conversation around the office two times in the last two days about how certain people "don't like" a food and "won't eat" a food.  Onions were the big offender in both conversations--as if a stupid onion ever hurt anyone....
People will find any way possible to suck the joy out of their lives, won't they?  "I don't eat onions--I'm a grown up and I don't have to eat onions!"  Really?  Do you have any idea how much onion flavoring goes into every savory food you buy?  You might as well be saying that you don't like salt!  Your parents failed.  Next!
And they say it so proudly, like it's some badge of honor to not like food. 
My gawd you're boring!
And ungrateful. 
I'm not impressed!
Maybe you could "not like" racists or liars, or homophobes, or something else that actually matters, and put your whiny energy into that, instead?   
Please understand that I say these things as someone who does not like raspberries.  I don't like 'em.  Do I run around announcing that I don't like them (other than this blog, I mean...)?  No, not really.  And my kids like them, so I buy them and keep them in the house--I haven't started any anti-raspberry campaigns or marched in the streets.  And I still try them once in a while, just to see if I like them yet.  I still don't.  But I also don't judge people who do.  I don't make not liking raspberries an integral part of my personality.  9 and three-quarters days out of ten, I don't even think about them.  I don't place limits on what I can eat.  I'm still waiting for someone to make me a raspberry dish that I like.
I would also like to point out that today, the person with the longest list of "forbidden" or hated foods in conversation was a person who has got to weigh at least 300lbs.
Hows that Food Hate thing going for ya?
Hate...makes you ugly.  Limiting thoughts about food are a glaring symptom--likely your head is filled with a million other limiting thoughts.  Maybe you can only date a certain type, or you can only drive a certain car, or you can only live in a certain neighborhood because you so strongly dislike the other options that you can't move beyond those feelings.
And so, you'll never go anywhere, never do anything...and it all starts with something as simple as an onion.'re going to let a plant dictate your life? 
Think about that, Mom's and Dad's, when you say your kid only eats chicken nuggets and nothing else.  You know damn well that's not true.  They'd eat plenty of things if you didn't indulge their bullshit.  Just like any other living creature--they'd eat just about anything if they got hungry enough.  I watched Bear Grylls bite the head off a raw fish yesterday--pretty sure you'd do the same if you were starving.
So please, don't ever tell me that you don't "like" a food or that refuse to eat it.  It's just a sign that you've got a head full of "no"...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nothing, Really

I work two hours later than my usual time today, and that fact has left me with a brief period of quiet--the children are not awake, and the furry beasts are curled up asleep in comfortable chairs, as they should be on a snowy day.  Having spent the weekend moving at top speed, the quiet feels un-natural to me this morning.  I feel I should be doing something "productive", whatever that is.

I have been in physical therapy for the past three weeks because of an issue with my shoulder, and the therapist has declared, on numerous occasions, "You are so wound up!" in reference to the muscles on my shoulders--she could bounce a quarter off of them and rather than delighting in that parlor trick, she set about "fixing" them by loosening them up.  

She asked me if I carry my stress in my shoulders and I admitted that I had no idea.  I don't think in terms of "stress" or "I'm so stressed out right now".  I think in terms of, "What can I be doing right now?" or "What needs to be done to make this situation better?"  I was unconvinced that I was carrying that around in my shoulders, but I let her do her work.

Most of the time, my perspective has been a good way to think of things.  See a problem, solve a problem.  Lately, and this is entirely related to life at the office, my "see a problem, solve a problem" trigger has been nothing but trouble.  I try to do something that I think of as helpful and discover that that thing I did was actually someone else's job and now they hate me for making them look bad.  It's not like I ran around saying, "See?  I had to do this because they didn't do it!" I just....did whatever and apparently someone noticed that the other person wasn't doing it.  Not my fault--I was just trying to be helpful.

I realize this morning that the so-called "stress" that I've been carrying around in my shoulders has actually been frustration.  I'd rather act, when able, than sit around and let something be half-assed or broken or non-functional.  That's just the way I am.  But at work right now, in order to avoid drama, I have to avoid action.  It's so wrong and so counter-productive that it makes me nuts, and, apparently, makes my shoulders freakishly tight.

To combat this, I've taken on projects at home, such as completely remodeling my room, updating the living room, doing really difficult and involved little artsy projects, etc.  I just can't shut it off because my boss tells me to.  I can't.  I don't want to.

On the other hand, the lesson learned by having an insecure boss is that this is his issue, not mine.  While my taking ownership of the success of my team would be an admirable trait to most bosses, because it is something that makes my current boss lash out like a spoiled 6-year old, I simply can't do it right now.  As such, I have had to re-align my brain to make this a positive.

Now, to be clear, I don't think it's a positive.  I don't think that being a clock-watching, ass-sitting, do-nothing is in any way positive, but, that's the role that has been handed to me, so....what-are-ya-gonna-do, right?  The positive comes from the moment I see the lesson of Let It Go, and make THAT the focus of my action.

If I apply my usual energies to it, I'll have this Let It Go sh*t mastered in no time.  Here's an example--just the other day, my daughter came to me with a broken iPod.  Not just any broken iPod, but the one that I spent a lot of money on at Christmas, through some hardship, because she had asked for that exact thing and really, really, wanted it.  Two months later, he she comes with an iPod with a screen that was basically shattered.  The thing still worked,'s broken.  She was expecting me to be pissed.  I was.  She had lent (or given?) the protective carrying case to a friend, and for the last few weeks I have been bugging her to get it back from him and she didn't.  And now, she's got a broken iPod.

My first reaction was, "I don't have $200 to buy you a new f*cking iPod right now!" which is true.  I mean I have it, but I'll be damned if I want to buy an iPod with it. Then, at some point, a little switch went off in my head and I said, "Look, I gave you a gift, and what you do with it after I give it to you is none of my business.  I'm sorry that you don't have an iPod anymore," and I apologetically refused to contribute to the iPod Replacement Fund.  Maybe, at some point, if she's saved 3/4 of the replacement cost, I'll pitch in, but only then.  I was mad at first because, as an action person, I thought that now that she broke her iPod that I was going to have to do something, but, that's not true.  I don't have to do anything.  I already did something--I bought her the iPod.  Everything after that is her problem.

This is an uneasy place for me to be, but, learning to shift my focus, once I get past the initial growing pains, will end well--these things always do.  There will be a million dumb examples, and I promise not to share them all (*yawn*), but, that's what I've been doing lately.  Nothing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's All In The Presentation

All of my adult life, I've worked, with only short little breaks here and there, what with the havin' babies and moving to Alabama business, BUT, for the most part, I've worked my entire adult life.  During that time, which spans 25 years of workiness, I have met and enjoyed many co-workers, supervisors, bosses, clients, and extraneous people of all ages and types.

I love it.

I love working, and love helping people, and hope that I make a positive difference in people's lives.

The first 14 years of my work life I spent in the media--radio, specifically, as an announcer/copy writer, and the skills that I used in that work have carried me through the rest of my life in a huge way--no question.  When you're 18 years old and it's part of your job to stand in front of people and present something, be it an artist about to sing a song, or a new car that your client would like to sell--any old thing--you develop what I consider to be the single most important skill in the whole wide wiggedy world:  The art of Presentation.

Seriously, if you can do an effective presentation, you can do anything.  Anything.

Think about it--think what skills are required.  Can you show up?  Check.  Are you clean and well kept?  Yes.  Did you write down a few things to say and do you speak a language that can be understood by the people you are speaking to?  Yup.  Are you enthusiastic?  YAY!  OK, then!  Now go out and conquer the world!  Because now you can sell things!  And the more enthusiastic you are, the more things (be they ideas or actual "things") you can see and the more money you'll make and blah, blah, blah, blah.

So that's what I do all day--the same thing I've been doing and loving since I was a teenager.  I present ideas, and I defend ideas.  I bend people's brains a little so they can come over to my side and if I can't get them to come over to my side, well at least they can't say I didn't try.  By the time they're done with me, even if they still disagree with me, they will at least be softened up.

That's my job, and I do it very, very well.  People who start off a conversation hating my guts end the same conversation by thanking me for enlightening them--THAT is how fucking good I am at my work.  That's how well I am able to present and communicate an idea.

Anyway....I had an encounter with a person who, for the lack of a better description, has a very small mind.  He can't think beyond his own little experience, and rather than being enthusiastic about things on his own, he likes to take things that you're enthusiastic about and destroy them so that he doesn't feel bad about not having any marketable skills.  A real yuck of a person.  

Actually--you know him you love him--it's my boss.  Today was my annual review.  As if the 12 cent raise wasn't insulting enough (but I was expecting zero cents, so whatever), I also got to be told that I didn't actually have the one skill that I know I have in abundance.  He declared that I, a person who has been making presentations and influencing other people's decisions her entire adult life (and getting paid for it, I might add), somehow needs help in that department.

To be fair, he did this (inexplicably) AFTER he said I was a "natural leader" and a great advocate and I "really sell people" on the project, etc.  That's another part of what made it so completely insane.

So, me.  The one so adept at speaking to virtually any demographic and getting them on board with whatever kind of nutty thing my company might want to throw at them, was given a low grade in "communication", specifically speaking, writing, and my ability to influence.


What a piece of crap this guy is.

But here's the thing, and, this is important:  He's nobody.  I mean he might be a somebody to someone, like his kids or something, but to me?  Zip.  He's a nothing.  He's a person who can't even write an email (I've caught him copying and pasting MY writing) telling me his opinion on my ability to write--that makes him less than nothing, in fact.  He's actually a vacuum.  That's how nothing he is.

And why is he nothing?  Because the only gift he uses is his ability to trash people.  Instead of being uplifting, he throws you down and kicks dirt on you.  I think we all know people like that.  They never make you feel better, only worse.

There's just no room for people like that when there is so much good in the world that should be getting my attention instead.

So while it bugs me that he gets to say shit like that (which is entirely incorrect and insane) and get away with it and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it, and it bugs me that I've had way too many drives home from work during which I had imaginary conversations with him where I told him to go fuck himself; there is a solution, and that solution is simply to forgive...myself.  I forgive myself for thinking that he might ever be a decent person and I forgive myself for falling for any of his phony-baloney nice guy crap and I forgive myself for getting pissed and wanting to jump up and down on his head with golf spikes on my feet.

These are natural reactions that any normal person would have when someone is purposely fucking with you, so honestly, there's nothing to forgive.

How about this--I'll do you one better.  I'll forgive the piece of shit for being a piece of shit.  Because just like any other piece of shit, he's just a representation of waste.  I'm sure he didn't choose to be garbage and like any and all other narcissists, he was created by someone who chewed him up and pooped him out--someone treated him like garbage and surprise, surprise, after enough of that he eventually became garbage.  A Poo Is Born. 

And, wow, sucks to be you and all, but you're still a piece of shit.  

Just because I forgive you for being poo doesn't mean I want to hang out with you.


That's my Friday presentation.  I hear that I suck at those, so if you must say something, please be kind...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Try To Keep Up, Would Ya?

Quickly Now!  Here are some snapshots of the week past...

The 2nd Itty Bitty sweater is completed, and as you can see...totally cute
I love the colors on that one.  I might make a full-size version for myself.

Shoes, wrangled.
Those of you who have been to IKEA may recognize these items as laundry hampers (white) and shoe wranglers (black) although, I'm sure IKEA has much more dignified names for them.  I also purchased a cordless drill for the express purpose of attaching IKEA purchases to my walls--that's committment, people...

After IKEA, we went to Big Bowl and had mochi.  The most "American" way I can describe this dish is to say that it's ice cream enrobed in a gummy bear.  Each one is dumpling sized, and comes in orange, coffee and "some mysterious thing" flavors, with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces.  It wasn't on the menu where we went, so be sure to ask for it if you don't see it, and they'll make it for you.

Here, Napoleon bites the hand that feeds...

Meanwhile, the Good Son cuddles up with his Teddy and a binkie.
The blankie is the 2nd of the "6 Hour Afghan" patterns I have completed, with Speed Stix and enough odds and ends yarn to wrap a house with.  Jack ADORES this blanket....

OK!  Now you're caught up.  Any questions?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

It occurred to me this morning that there are two people in my life without whom things would be less happy, less easy, less cheerful, etc.  I wanted to thank them and others like them, who are 1) CONSISTENT and 2)Thoughtful about the work they do. In short, they appear to give a shit, on a regular basis.

I wish this wasn't as refreshingly odd as I am making it out to be. I wish that top-notch service was not an exception. The good news is, because it sometime IS the exception, these rock stars are easy to pick out from the crowd.

Every weekday, usually before the sun shows it's face, I am in my car, transporting grouchy teenagers to their early morning studies, where they surely smile and say nice things, unlike what they do at their home environment. Often, said teenagers merely tune out for the morning drive, plugged in to iPods and not feeling the need to engage in pleasant conversation.  Sometimes, though, they are fully engaged in what is going on in the car and on the road around them, but I can assure you that the only time they are interested in the trip is when we are running late and they think that harping about it will make us get there faster.

Every day, at the end of this less than joyful trip, I see a man standing in the middle of the road, waving his arms like a maniac, smiling and laughing and generally having a good time of it.

He's the crossing guard.

We love him all to bits.

I have no idea what his name is--a fact I realized when I decided that I wanted to buy him a thank-you gift--but his name isn't as important as the fact that he is a never-failing, kick-ass public servant who keeps things moving and keeps it safe for kids when all of the self-important jerks in SUV's (myself included) start thinking that our time is more valuable than anyone else's.

Let me be clear: I still think my time is more valuable than anyone else's. That's why we need people like this man.  Every day when I see him, even the grouchy days, I wish I had come prepared with a large cup of hot cocoa that I would hand him from the driver's side window as I coast through the intersection.  Every single day.  That's how much I appreciate you, Mr. Crossing Guard As Yet To Be Named.  For you sake, I hope it warms up soon.  I know you can't stand there holding hot cocoa like a goon in the middle of the intersection, but don't worry--I got you...

Further on down the road, there is another guy waiting, and I don't see him every day, just days when I'm feeling naughty...

...naughty enough to eat a fast food breakfast, I mean.  

My weakness, sausage biscuits, can be found at a drive through on the way to work, and if the food didn't warm my heart (I have a rather un-natural love of biscuits, I'm not gonna lie...), the fact that the same guy is working there every week day at 7AM, surely will.  

The first time I ever heard him talk, I thought "How sweet! A gay Latino! I love gay Latinos!" because ultimately, I'm awful like that. I don't know if this man is gay, or even Latino, for sure, I'm just saying his voice is a little Leguizamo-In-Julie-Newmar-esque, and I think that's cute.  It makes me smile, without fail.  Go ahead and slap me.


Sunshine-Boy takes my order, chuckles because it's always the same dumb thing every time, tries in vain to get me to add cheese to that and marvels on the days I am able to pay for the transaction in cash, since I virtually never carry any (I do know, however, that the exact cost of two sausage biscuits at this particular venue is exactly 2 dollars and fifteen cents).  I handed him exact change this morning and he nearly fell over from the shock.

And that kind of stuff just works on me.  Consistent and cheerful with a good memory?  You're hired.  So here's to you, Other Guy Who's Name I Don't Know, for feeding my tummy and my soul.  I'm sorry you work in food service, and also? I'm really, really glad you work in food service....

One could argue that now that I have all the nice-ness off my chest that I can go back to being the same, bitter old me, but I think we'll let the nice percolate for the rest of the day and see what happens....