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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back to the grindstone...

after a nice and enjoyable holiday weekend with my parents.
I drove from Richmond to the nether reaches of Virginia on Friday night, and went from 50 degrees to 20 degrees. At my parents house, the temperature has not been out of the 20's in almost three weeks. They have snow, and ice...ALOT of ice. I used 4x4 to get up the driveway, as it was complete ice in the areas that weren't rutted from the heavy rains this fall. Needless to say, once I was there, I didn't move my car until I left yesterday.
My Christmas wish list was small, and it was filled. My parents got me the MuckBoots that I wanted. These are terrific for the farm, as come spring (and even now) since the mud and other unmentionable matter creates 6 inch deep sludge that needs to be traveled through in order to let the sheep out, feed the cattle, or check the chickens. I also got a stocking full of books, and a little bit of cash. Oh, and a friend of the family gave me a very retro, never used sandwhich maker/hamburger cooker with the original tags still attached. It was probably given to her in 1979, but that doesn't matter--it's still very cool.
My parents loved the fleece-tie blankets I made for them, as well as the small extras I added to the mix. They also appreciated the fact that I cooked the entire Christmas Eve dinner. I didn't get anything for my brother, or him me, so that's fair.
All in all, I had a great holiday, and I hope that you all did the same.
(Now I have the interminable four days of work to sludge through before another three day weekend arrives...and I can't figure out why my space formatting isn't working on this posting.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Thoughts of my own mortality...

I used to know a guy named Phillip. Even though we weren't friends, we did go to high school together. We both played trumpet in the band. I'm sure we were part of some of the same clubs in school--maybe SADD or Foreign Language, since those are the clubs practically everyone was in. It's possible that I shared other classes with him, but it was too long ago to remember.

Although I haven't seen this guy since I graduated quite a few years ago, I always knew where he was. In my hometown, he was involved with the public. He was active in the Fire Department, and worked for the Police Department. For a while, I think he was a town cop. He lived next door to another friend of mine, which is how I tended to know so much. Two years ago, he took a new job working for the same company as my dad. In fact, he worked with my dad, and was well liked there, too.

On Sunday, Phillip died. He was 28. In one of those freakish accidents that happen, his life was ended abruptly. And though I did not know him, but only knew of him, his loss is felt. For his parents, brother, sister-in-law, and niece and nephew, and all of his friends and family, I feel sorrow that they are facing a Christmas funeral.

Unlike most people, I am not afraid of my own death. I anticipate that when my life is to end, it is because some Higher Power has deemed it so. My only fear of death has to be how those who know me, especially my parents, would be impacted by this. Maybe Phillip thought the same way about his own life, because it's those who we leave behind that are faced with dealing with the void we leave.

During this holiday season, please tell the people in your life that you love them, and thank God for the time that we are given with them. Pray for those that are facing loss. And have a very Merry Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/insert holiday name here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Counting down to Christmas...

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God Bless You.

As a child, I loved this song. I used to sing it over and over again, attempting to imitate the round that it should be done in. I think that the thought of a fat goose was funny, especially since geese were not common to the area that I grew up in. And what exactly was a ha'penny? When I found it that it was 1/2 of a cent, I was amazed that they even MADE such a small amount of money!

Now, Christmas barely registers on the radar. I haven't shopped for anyone. In fact, I refuse to set foot NEAR the mall. My parents are getting handmade gifts, and my brother and his wife aren't getting anything. I refuse to listen to the "all Christmas music all the time stations", and the commercialism of the holiday disappoints me in so many ways. The only concession I made this year, and that I make every year, are to send cards to my friends and to spend Christmas day with my parents.

The magic of Christmas that I remember is different now. Of course, as you grow older and realize that Santa stops coming, and the gifts under the tree begin to be practical instead of fun, that special magic fades. I don't know when exactly I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I think one day I just woke up and realized it was over. Maybe it was the year that my letter to Santa was based entirely on Mary Lou Retton gymnastic gear, and I didn't get a single one of the items on the list. Wow, I just realized that! My parents must have done a good enough job on picking out things, though, because I don't recall being disappointed. Usually, I got things from "Santa" that I didn't even know I wanted myself!

Perhaps if my life was different--if I had children of my own, or (God forbid), my brother had a child, I could embrace the season and be swept up in making it perfect for everyone. As it is, I only have one friend with young children, and I don't know them well enough to be involved in their lives. Maybe some day I'll attempt to recapture the joy I used to feel as a child, but for now, I'll continue being practical.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Thank goodness for overtime...

but the tax rates SUCK!

I'm working alot of time, which means that my next paycheck will be the largest one I've seen all year (which is a huge bonus right before the Holidays), but won't be as large as the numbers suggest, since it will be taxed to death.


Kind of makes me wonder why I even try sometimes.

And I can't believe in all the years I lived in Michigan, I NEVER went to Niagra Falls OR Toronto! I think that next year when I come up to visit my very bestest friends that we should plan a trip that maybe includes a train ride across the border to the Great White North. What do you think? Wouldn't that be KEWL? Wait, do trains even go to Canada?

The worst part about being young(er), working alot of hours, and having massive student loan and credit card debt that sucks up all available finances is the fact that I can'tGO anywhere.

Oh well--maybe when I'm old and shriveled and my rich husband has died and left me with some money, I can go around the world and see whatever is left of it by the time I get there--which seems to be less and less as the days go by.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wow, I'm tired...

and right now I wish I was still asleep in bed, rather than sitting in my office, waiting for a report to finish running. It's my second saturday spent in the corporate prison that will continue to define my life until at least the end of the month.

So far, I've put in about 25 hours of overtime since Friday a week ago (not counting today), and I think I could sleep for a week. There was a time in my life when this didn't phase me at all. I could do it all--work 60 + hours a week, hang out till all hours of the morning, still find time to go to the gym, and have a pretty darn good life. I survived on less than 4 hours a sleep a night--and even then I thought that was too much!

It sucks to get older. Now I start thinking, do I REALLY need to stay up till 11pm to see the end of Crossing Jordan, or Full House, or whatever happens to be on TV at that time? Bed starts sounding pretty darn good about 10pm anymore. I'm too YOUNG to be going to bed at 11, especially on a Friday night, but I have a feeling that I'll never lose the under eye circles that have been tattoo'd there unless I get more sleep.

Arggghhh! This isn't fair at all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

To my fellow bloggers...

how exactly does one get to be a "Blog of Note" as designated by

Sometimes, I read through the ones that have been deemed noteworthy, and I wonder how did they gain such an honor as this?

For example, today the blogs of note include the following: (descriptions are from the actual blog-not of my creation).

The Hot Dog Spot--What's Chicago or New York got that we don't have here in Los Angeles? We eat more hot dogs than any other city in the nation... We have a wider variety of styles and toppings... A recent newspaper article dubbed LA the Hot Dog Capital of the World! Hot Dog Spot is the weblog of a crack team of "dogophiles" who are hot on the trail of the BEST DOG IN LOS ANGELES!

Holla Back NYC--Holla Back NYC empowers New Yorkers to Holla Back at street harassers. Whether you're commuting, lunching, partying, dancing, walking, chilling, drinking, or sunning, you have the right to feel safe, confident, and sexy, without being the object of some dickwad's fantasy. So stop walkin' on and Holla Back: Send us pics of street harassers!

A Consuming Experience--Thoughts on my experiences as a consumer of products, services, people (well maybe not that last one...), from reviews to raves, rants and random thoughts - concentrating on technology, gadgets, software, product usability, consumer issues, customer service. Including some introductory guides and tips on various subjects (like blogging!) which stumped me until I figured them out. And the occasional ever so slightly naughty observation.

The Festivus Pole--FRANK'S FESTIVUS: THE FIRST NAME IN FESTIVUS "tm" presents News and Comment on the upcoming Festivus season, as well as the only festivus pole on the market that meets Frank's original exacting standards for the Festivus Season.

Founder Frustrations--I am a professor in the Entrepreneurial Management unit at Harvard Business School. My research focuses on Founder Frustrations, and I would love to get your feedback on my early research findings, ideas for new issues/"frustrations" to study, and input based on your experiences.

BORING! Ok, Holla Back NYC is actually pretty interesting, but I'm alot more interesting to read than these other people, right?

Okay, sure, maybe my choice of topics aren't universally appealing to the reading masses, but I do try. Aren't you entertained by my real life experiences? Do you not feel my pain when I post it so eloquently for you to partake? Do you not laugh at my intense anger? Do you relate to me when I complain about co-workers, traffic, and the stupid people I encounter? Do you even love me at all?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mayhaps I spoke too soon...

regarding how good of a day Friday turned out to be, inspite of everything else.

To break it down into simple terms:

1. I paid two tolls more than needed because I misread my mapquest directions.
2. I became lost in downtown Richmond because of street closures.
3. My car was towed.
4. It cost me $100 to get my car back.

It's really number 3 and 4 that bothers me the most. On the way to dinner in Shockoe Bottom last night, I took 195 instead of 95. When I figured out my mistake, I went back, and then became entrenched in the holiday festivity traffic. I stopped a woman on the street for directions, and I found my destination around 6:30pm. When I arrived, I parked in a lot adjacent to the building. Since there was a huge sign painted on the side of the building that faced the parking lot, the impression given was that the parking belonged to the establishment. I went in, had a cap'n and diet coke, tried a fried olive, and then walked from 22nd street down to 17th street to see the Farmers Market. I shopped, drank warm cider, bought a brooch for my mom, and then had dinner and dessert.

On returning to the original establishment at approximately 11:15pm, I discovered my car was gone. This caused a little bit of panic. Okay, I lie--ALOT of panic. I asked the bartender why they had towed my vehicle, as I had been a paying customer that evening, and was told, "That's not our parking lot. It's marked for residents of the apartment building."

Yeah, it wasn't marked clearly at all. I parked in the 4th parking spot next to the building. At parking spot number 9 (5 spots past my vehicle) was a small sign approximatley 6 inches by 8 inches that stated "Parking for residents only". Does anyone else see the reasoning behind this? I parked under the 5 foot by 7 foot sign of the restaurant. How do you even SEE a sign that small, in the dark, 20 feet away from where you park? Yeah, I didn't think so--I didn't see it either. It was a TOTAL SCAM!

Luckily, the friend I had dinner with was nice enough to drive me all the way out to the westend (Staples Mill past Gaskins) to pick up my car from this seedy car towing company at midnight. THEN the lead goon and his two buffoon drivers had the nerve to act like they were doing ME a favor, they flirted with my friend, and then they THANKED ME for my patronage in that snide way that only true shysters can. WTF! It's midnight, you stole my car, AND you get to act like complete buttheads to me when you charge me $100 of my hard earned money that was supossed to be part of my rent in order to get my own car back from you?

ARRRRGGGHHHH! I am still angry about this, and probably will be for a few days. If I had the time and money, I would take them to small claims court and fight it. I think I would win if I presented the evidence as it truely is. I am RIGHT and they are shady business taking advantage of poorly placed signs in unlit parking lots. I'm not the first person that has been scammed like this--and I'm sure I won't be the last.

Friday, December 02, 2005

An okay ending...

to an otherwise sucky week.

Coming back to work after having been on vacation for a week is never fun. You work yourself to death before you go so that you don't leave anything huge and messy for someone else to clean up while you're gone--and then you work like crazy when you get back trying to catch up and clean up the things that happened while you were out.

Today, though, has been tolerable. Of course, I have faced the same obstacles to a nice smooth Friday that I face every week, but today Tracy (Tee) of Spilt Milk put her never ending talents to work, and designed this beautiful new template thingy. She is a GENIUS! I collected FOUR Wendy's cups towards my plane ticket (only need 40 more!). I have plans to go have dinner and see some Christmas light thing tonight. It's finally cold enough to wear a turtleneck sweater here, and NOT sweat my ass off. I think I'm having a relatively nice hair day. I just drank a free Coke.

Honestly, does it get any better than this?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I'm issuing a challenge to you...

I have a goal--one that on my own is unattainable, but with your combined efforts, could be accomplished very easily.

I am collecting Wendy's AirTran cups. There, I said it. Currently, I have 20. In order to get the free round-trip AirTran ticket, I need 44 more.

My co-workers have been responsible for providing me with about 10 of the 20 I have. I can only drink so much Diet Coke, and they can only afford to eat at Wendy's occasionally.

What's in this for you?

Well, I will reimuburse you the postage for the coupons on the side of the cups if you mail them to me. You will also be given the knowledge that you have helped me to fly to Detroit to visit my friends again in 2006--and that's worth all of the warm fuzzies you can stand! :)

If you can help--please do. Either send an email or post a reply here and I'll give you contact information. If you can't help, well, that's okay, too. Thank for reading me!