Thursday, September 30, 2010

How is it possible?

Four short years in a very small cube - 6'x8' if I'm lucky.  How did I manage to put so much stuff in there?  I have been bringing a bag full of stuff home almost every night this week.  I STILL have more stuff to pack up.  As I've sorted through drawers, files, bins and so on, I've managed to fill up my paper recycling bin twice. 

I've crossed a ton of things off my to do list and still it grows.  How come it is so much work to leave a job?  I've cleaned out email files, electronic files, moved files, and trained people to do tasks I'm the only one doing.  My to do list just keeps growing... I keep finding more things that I need to deal with before I leave.  It is INSANE...

The good news?  And there definitely is good news... I have four days of work left at my current job - that works out to be eight more times commuting to/from Madison.  Four more long days....  In case you couldn't tell I'm definitely counting down...

Tomorrow I have an appointment to meet with my new boss to fill out paperwork.  I am keeping all my vacation, personal, and sick time.  I think I'll even be able to take the days off I had planned on taking.  Life is moving forward and I'm looking forward to the change.

I took some time today to encourage a friend to go for my job.  Her skills are amazing and she will be a great fit for the position.  I'm hoping she will get it and the transition will be fairly smooth. 

Four down... four to go....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Got it...

I got the job!!!!  This morning, almost first thing, I got a call and was offered the position.  I immediately accepted it.  I’m so pleased.  All my stress and obsession over this has brought the right result. 

I’m thrilled and excited to start the new position.  I think it will be great to learn new procedures, software, and find my place in a new environment.  However, there is a downside to the exciting new job.  I am going to have to leave my current job.  I like the work I do.  I know I’m part of something good and bigger than me in creating good roads.  I won’t have that anymore.  I also will have to leave all the people I’ve enjoyed working with.  This will be the most difficult part for me.  I’ve become comfortable with these people.  We have bonded over the stress and chaos of our work.  I’ll be leaving all of them behind.  This will be difficult. 

Obsessive me started a list today.  For work, I started the list of things I need to get done before I leave.  For clearning my cube, I started a mental list of what I need to pack up.  It amazes me how much there is.  I have pictures, books, goodies for my desk.  I think once I start the packing it will really hit home.  The act of taking my home comforts from my gray cube will drive home the fact that I actually am leaving and moving on. 

Change is good.  Change happens to us each and every day.  If we don’t embrace change then we become stagnant.  I know this in my heart of hearts.  As difficult as this change will be, I know that it is the right move for me. 

So the countdown begins.  With my four day work week, I have seven working days left at my old job.  Then I move on to the next phase and the new adventure.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Down time...

I've been sick with a cold  It has been miserable.  I get to feeling better and I try to do stuff but my energy is just non-existent.  So yesterday I decided I was NOT setting my alarm and sleeping as long as I wanted.  I wasn't going to do much of anything.  It was going to be a mental and physical health day. 

Surprisingly I slept till after 10.  After helping put away groceries and running a few errands with Vicki, I camped out in my recliner.  I watched a movie (Letters to Juliet - sweet and romantic), a dvd of the 5th season of Criminal Minds (the eyeball episode was almost too much) and a bunch of shows on the DVR. 

While camped out in my recliner, I crocheted baby bibs for some of the people I know who either have a new baby or are going to have a new baby in their lives soon.  I want to finish the one I'm working on and make one more of those.  Then I'm going to swap over to a baby afghan for a friend's son who will be a father soon.  Then I'll be moving back to Stephanie's afghan...

Today I've already made a supper for one night this week (just needs baking) and lunch for today.  Lunch is large enough that we can have left overs for lunches this week.  Once I get back the recliner, I'm going to watch a couple of movies and more on the DVR.  While I do that I'll work on the crocheting things above...

Am I really getting down time here? 

Patience is a virtue... right?

Still waiting to hear about the job.  I'm anxiously waiting to hear.  I want the job as it offers a lot of advantages  The new job will be more diverse than the one I currently have.  It will offer a variety of tasks to keep me busy.  It will be a different atmosphere than I'm used to.  Additionally I'll save money on gas as I will be commuting nearly half the time I am now.  I think health wise it will be better too.  The distance I need walk to get into the building is mush shorter than my current job.  This should reduce the amount of pain I'm in and make life more bearable.  I'll also be able to better utilize my pool membership - ending my day with a walk in the pool and a soak in the hot tub will be great. 

Now I just have to wait until they complete their background check and let me know.  Hopefully I will get the job and know soon.  I'm constantly thinking about it.  The more I think about it the more I want it and the more impatient I get to know the result.  It is very much a circular issue. 

So I've been trying to keep busy.  Really it isn't working very well so I just have to take a deep breath and pull in the tattered shreds of my minute amount of patience...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Politics....

Don't you just love fall with the smell of cool crisp air and the turning of leaves... oh and let's not forget the lovely political ads that bombard us.  I'm sick of all the lying that I hear on the radio and tv.  For once I would like a politician to say - here are my beliefs - and just list them - whatever they are.  Then I would like to hear how that politician will deal with conflicting desires of constituants - because their job is to represent the PEOPLE...

I've taken to muting the tv when an ad comes on and turning the radio off because you can't believe a single thing that is said - oh except of course the names are correct and that they are in fact running for office.  If producers of things created such deceptive ads they would be sued till the cows come home... our politicians just keep slinging the mud and lies.  It is disheartening.

I vote.  I vote and contact reps and I try to be aware but how do we wade through the neck deep bullshit that is getting shoveled?  My union calls - we support... and list off the names... the democratic party calls... can we count on your support... I just want them to tell me straight forward what their beliefs are and how they will behave in office. 

I'm naive enough to still want that.  I'm cynical enough to know I'll never get it.  So I'll keep muting my tv and turning off the radio... is it November yet?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Job Interview

Last week I had my first job interview in about five years.  It was an interesting day for me because I wasn't nervous at all until I got in the car to drive from my house to the interview.  I'd worked all day with barely a thought about it. Then on the way to the interview I was suddenly slammed with doubt and insecurity concerning the entire process. 

I called my daughter and she was a little help but I was pretty nervous when I walked into the building.  I had a long interview - about an hour - but to be honest I couldn't tell you how good I did.  I walked away thinking okay that wasn't horrible.  However, since then I've done nothing but think about how I could have said something better or did I come off this way or that way.  I know I'm over thinking the entire thing yet I can't seem to let it go. 

I should hear about the job this week.  My guess is that I didn't get it but that could be stemming from my over thinking the whole process.  I'm normally a very confident person so for me to be so unsure is annoying and frustrating.  Perhaps part of this is because I don't have any control on the outcome so I just have to wait and see.  My part in the process is done and I can't go back to change anything.  I just have to take a deep breath and hope that I get the job.

I've got my fingers crossed.....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Reviewers

It never hurts to have people review your work, even if it is not a final draft.  There are two things you have to remember.  One is that everyone has their opinion and you have to listen to their opinion but don't necessarily have to agree or act upon it.  Two is that criticism is a part of the writing life so don't get upset when people are uncomplimentary about your work.

I have some wonderful people who read my work.  Some I share with pretty regularly and they give me varying degrees of critique.  Other times I look to people I consider experts in their fields and consult them.  My focus lately has been children's material - poetry, books, short stories.  So I asked my sister, Aimee, who is a reading specialist for 30 years to read over a few of my offerings. 

She was very gentle and kind but at the same time gave me an amazing critique on several items I'm working on.  I woke up this morning with a complete rewrite for one of them.  I'll be working on that later.

One of the stories I sent to her got turned down which made me very sad because I thought it was a great story.  She had a different take on it though.  I listened to her viewpoint and I'll be reworking it.  I might even send the reworked piece back to the publisher to see if they like it better. 

Her view point made me get around my emotional attachment to the piece and look at it objectively.  This is important for good marketing of work.  I need to have a clear and unemotional look at each of my pieces.  I know some of the stuff I have written is crap.  I also know some of it is outstanding.  I just have to keep the emotions out of the work so I can make good decisions on which is which...

To all my reviewers... thank you for all your input and assistance.  It helps me see my work from other viewpoints and perspectives.  This makes me a better writer...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Empty...

With the help of a friend, I cleaned out our storage room in our basement.  This is part of an ongoing project where I'm trying to get the basement organized enough so Vicki (the middle daughter) can move down there.  We worked for a number of hours and finally got this small room cleared out.  Now Ken will be able to build the shelves we want in there.  We will be able to move Virginia and Stephanie's stuff into a corner of the room, the Christmas decorations will likely take up another corner.  The shelves are for canning supplies and other things we want to keep but don't necessarily want out in the house. 

In this emptying of the store room, I discarded a lot of stuff, put some in a pile of to donate, and gave some to the friend who was helping.  There were some under utilized metal shelves in there which we moved to a different storage area. 

This makes the third foray into the basement organization project.  I know I shouldn't do anymore today (knees are killing me) but I really just want to go down there and shift more things where I want them.  I figure it will take two or three more times to get the rooms down there organized to my liking. 

Then comes the projects that provoked this clearing and organizing frenzy... moving the kid, putting the exercise equipment in her old room, build a sewing table, organize craft space, build a table for the office... and that doesn't cover the other projects still lingering like staining the pantry doors, replacing the dining room light... Oh and let's not forget the happy news that we found a crack in our foundation - one which was allegedly repaired before we bought the place.  Unfortunately when I called the company they said they had no record of the repair being done... This is just LOVELY news... NOT...

It is never ending.  I need a team of workers to do what I tell them to do without arguing and three days.  I could probably get it all done in that time... Unfortunately that isn't going to happen.  Where are the house brownies who come in and do this work?  Anybody got a tip on how to tempt them to my house? 

So for right now I'm trying to look at this one room being empty and organized.  The rest ... well I'm trying not to think about all that...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to work...

After 11 days off, I returned to work today.  Within 20 minutes of being at work, I was missing my peaceful house and home office.  Within 45 minutes of being at work, I was wishing I was home.  I had somehow forgotten how noisy and chaotic my office is.  I live in cube city so I hear EVERYTHING that goes on in neighboring cubes.  My next cube neighbor comes in and turns on her radio.  Then leaves her cube so I get to listen to it while she is off visiting.  I don't care that she visits but don't turn your radio on until you are in your cube.  Down the aisle, one of my co-workers had a fit at someone (don't know who) because her computer wasn't working right.  She isn't quiet about it and that disturbs the entire section.  Then the gossip from down the hall comes to our area for his morning chat with my next cube neighbor.  As he walks by my cube he complains about whatever his complaint is for the day. 

Meanwhile I'm trying to remember my passwords, wade through 60 plus emails and set up my desk so I remember what the heck I'm supposed to be doing.  This is the normal daily chaos for our section.  I'm used to it usually.  Yet today having been away from the chaos for so long it was just too much.  I was on input overload. 

I know it would be rude to shush people but really that is what I wanted to do.  I realized today that I really do work in a noisy and chaotic atmosphere.  The environment puts my senses on overload and this is why I sometimes have problems focusing and need to walk away from my desk.  I usually escape into the bathroom which is quiet and peaceful.

Ideally I'd like to work on writing full time.  Reality is that I need my paycheck and my benefits.  I'll just have to escape into my MP3 player and classical music or audio books.  This distraction in my ears allows me to escape the chaos into a variety of worlds - music or literature.  I become my own little island.  I block out the chaos and negative energy surrounding me and focus (or try to) on what needs to get done.  This makes me productive and keeps me calm. 

Then when the chaos enters my cube (haven't barricaded the entrance yet) I am better able to handle it.  I can handle the added stress and work that gets plopped into my lap.  I can spread a bit of my calm to those who come in and give them a tiny bit of peace knowing that I'll handle whatever the crisis is with grace (at least I hope so).

Tomorrow I'll be a bit better at handling the craziness and be that island for myself.  I might even be able to share some of the peace on my quiet calm island. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pain, handicap, exercise...

I've just returned from an hour in the pool exercising.  It is the only place I can workout without causing more damage to my knees and other joints.  The nice thing is I LOVE going.  Pain is a part of my daily life but I still  make the effort to go to the pool and work out.  

Our society pushes people to be thin and perfect. I think that is boring and unhealthy. If we were all meant to be the same then we already would be. We are meant to be different sizes and shapes. So I'm not pushing for people to lose weight or fit a particular mold.


For all those out there who live in pain, I just want to encourage you to make an effort.  Even if all you can do is walk up and down a hall for five minutes or some other minimal effort, make the effort.  Get up and move.  You are worth it.  You are worth trying to get healthy and be better for YOU. 

The workout will help you feel better about yourself - someone else can tell you the chemical reasons why (endorphins I think).  The effort you put into it - even if it is only for 5 minutes while you dance (sitting or standing) - will reward you ten times over.  The pain will go away temporarily, the handicap will be lessened and the exercise will give you a high better than any drug.  The effort will be worth it.

Final Day of the Epic Tale (i.e. vacation)

I got up early today because tomorrow I have to be up even earlier.  I've needed and enjoyed this time off.  I loved seeing Stephanie, going to the pool on my schedule, writing, being a bum, cleaning (odd but true), and just having down time.  There defnitely wasn't a grand scheme of vacation plans other than to get some of my endless to do list done. 

Today I'm going to the pool, hanging out with people I enjoy being with, and doing as little as possible.  I'll have to actually go to bed before 1 am for a change so I can be up at 4:30. 

I'm a tad bit sad that the vacation is coming to a close but reality is no one has won the lottery or inhereted millions so I have to go back to work.  This has been a reprieve from my normal schedule and I've gotten some of the de-stress time I definitely needed.  I know when I go back to work tomorrow I will have a lot of stuff to get through. 

However, I have today yet and I'm not going to let tomorrow stress me out. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Poetry... Tanka Poems

I tried writing a new kind of poetry today called Tanka.  It is similar to Haiku in that is another short poem style from Japan.  There are only five lines and the lines have a certain number of syllables.  Traditional Tanka has 5-7-5-7-7 syllables per line.  Since English doesn't sound like Japanese the syllables can vary.  It might be 4-6-4-6-6 or something similar.  According to the Handbook of Poetic Forms, Tanka poems are mood pieces.  They represent a moment in time and shouldn't be too sentimental.

I like to refer to this book and try different formats.  It is easy for me to sit, watch nature pass me by, and write something free style.  Flowing prose which is descriptive of whatever is going on around me.  For me to try these other styles it helps to stretch my writing abilities and makes me think outside my own free form.  I enjoy the challenge. 

It is interesting to try to capture a moment in 31 syllables.  How would you describe an incredibly happy moment or a tragic moment in 31 syllables?  How would you describe a flower in 31 syllables?  It presents a challenge to make it fit and have it make sense.  

Try it and see what you think....

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 8 of the Epic Tale (i.e. vacation)

I always have such grand plans for what I'm going to get done while I'm on vacation.  There is always about three times the number of things a normal person could do.  If I could stay up 24/7 and not have to stop for food, bathroom breaks, or showers then I might be able to get all these planned things done.  That is definitely not feasible.  Those I live with appreciate that I shower... 

I'm down to my last few days off and feeling pretty good about my list.  I could tell you all the things I didn't do but they don't really matter.  I did rest and relax.  I plan to do more of that over the weekend when one of my most fun friends comes over.  I'm also going to do more work - going back to the basement with the husband in the hopes of tackling the clutter monster down there.  If you don't hear from me again - well the clutter monster won.  I wouldn't bet on that happening though with both Ken and I working on it. 

I've written some, edited some, submitted some, and enjoyed the entire process.  I've had recliner time, kid time (mine and others), tv time, and other times...  Overall, it's been a good vacation... well okay a cute cabana boy would have been a nice addition....

Child energy...

A friend was over today to help clean my house.  She is a single mom with a little two year old.  My youngest is 23 and that is very different energy than the two year old.  It is always a great time when the little one comes over.  She is bright, cheerful, cute, and well behaved (for a two year old).  She has to be watched - loves to push buttons on the tv.  For the most part no is respected. 

I LOVE spending time with this little one.  She is so much fun.  Her giggle is infectious.  Her smile mischievious. 

I'm not grandma but I get to practice on this one and spend time with an amazing little girl.  When she goes home I usually have worn her out and she has usually worn me out.  It is one of my best times in the week when I get to see her. 

This is why it baffles me how people can hit, beat, talk down to, belittle, rape, and do horrible things to children.  They are open, loving, honest creatures who only want to learn, grow and love. 

I know that single parents have a difficult time with few or no breaks and get really stressed out.  So here is the thing - if you know someone like that - offer to take their kid(s).  Spend a day on the floor putting together puzzles and repeating yourself a thousand times by telling the little ones colors, numbers, shapes, letters, names of things.  Read a book with feeling - none of this just turning the pages.  Act out the book, make voices for the characters, yell at the exciting parts, whisper at the quiet parts.  Race cars across the floor.  Dance with stuffed animals... play with these kids like you were a kid.  It is GREAT for you and them.  It lightens your mood and stress level and shows the kids that there are positive people out there who are willing to be involved and interested in their lives.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Handicapped...

Today I went to register to vote and sign up for an absentee ballot.  As someone who is handicapped I was faced with a difficult decision.  Do I take the ramp which is three times the distance from my car to the door or take the stairs?  Both are painful and difficult for my arthritic knees and ankles.  I hate facing these choices.  It was tempting to say - fuck it - and not go register to vote or sign up for the absentee voting.  When I'm faced with situations like these I wonder if the designer of the handicapped area really thought about all possible handicapped situations.  Someone in a wheel chair would have no problem getting up that ramp provided someone was pushing them or it was an electric chair.  A walking handicapped person such as myself would have difficulties with the distance - as I did.

I was at a restaurant today with my daughter and watched as people thoughtlessly parked in a handicap spot.  I'll grant that there was no sign but the painted handicap symbol was clearly visible on the parking spot. 

Here is what I want people to think about.  When you take a spot near the door, you are making it so that people who are handicapped aren't able to visit that establishment.  You are limiting their already limited ability to get around.  You may also be causing them more pain.  If they are like me - they will find the nearest parking spot and hope the extra distance won't cause them too much pain. 

If you see someone parking in a handicap spot and they don't look handicapped but have a plate or card don't judge them.  You never know what the handicap is.  It could be a heart problem, epilepsy, diabetes, or any number of other issues which do not show outwardly.  Don't judge them.

If you see someone parking in the handicap spot and they aren't handicapped.  Ask them to move.  If they don't then call the police.  I know - no one wants to get involved - but if you don't what about the next handicapped person who pulls into the parking lot?  Will they be able to even get out of their vehicle and into the establishment? 

Do the right thing.  Don't park in the handicap spots and support the handicapped by preventing other people (non-handicapped) from parking there.  If you don't want to get involved in a confrontation, then call the police and let them deal with these inconsiderate people.

Catching Up

Over the weekend, I got three manuscripts edited and worked on two other manuscripts.  Ken and Vicki did all the errands on Saturday.  Sunda...