Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Great Divide

Things have just been shit lately and it’s not a good frame of mind for writing a blog post. The post I wrote last night was so gnarly and vile that it went straight to the bit bucket. Life is just too short for shit that’s been going on this week, but the distance between Tuesday and today has improved my disposition.

Office politics have taken bullshit to a whole new level. It would not surprise me if I get a new supervisor within the next six months. Nothing happens quickly in a bureaucratic corporate machine, but it appears my supervisor just hammered the last nail into his coffin this week. Pity….I kind of liked him as a person and didn’t mind his incompetence. I’ve had more freedom working for him than any of my other supervisors.

I’ve had to deal extensively with my alcoholic brother’s (AB) shit this week (AB can also stand for asshole brother). Not true – I didn’t HAVE to help him, it was my choice to help.  Actually, I’m helping AB because my other brother (OB) is at his wit’s end. In a nutshell, I helped AB find and buy a house because nobody would rent to him and OB has become way too stressed out living in the same house with him.  OB asked me to help get him out.

I took Monday off work to transport and assist AB to sign legal paperwork to transfer a house and utilities into his name. After dealing with AB all day, I had a few drinks myself when I got home. What a nightmare! AB is miserable and very grouchy when he has to be sober enough to barely function. If I could have taken care of business without him, it would have all been done in a half day. He’s 56 years old and moves and talks like someone who is a senile 90. Life is definitely complicated for someone like AB.

Tuesday morning, I was scrambling at work (with all sorts of problems going on at work) to finish business for AB. Finally I called in the big gun, Someone, to make a phone call using his most authoritative legal voice to coerce the gas company be more flexible. Mission accomplished and with all that was going on at work, I called AB to tell him the good news…because I thought he would be relieved to hear it. Instead of any hint of appreciation, he said something so despicable I would have punched him in the face if he’d been standing in front of me.

Tuesday morning, the world was crashing in. I came to realize that all the mess in my head was other people’s problems. All of it! It’s really hard for me to separate helping people with their problems from owning their problems.

Friday, January 25, 2013

brave new world

Wow! I read this article today, about a 23-year old woman who died from brain cancer and had her head cryogenically frozen. She plans to be brought back to life once researchers have found a cure for her cancer. I assume she expects that somehow a body with working parts will also be provided, and that her brain will function good as new.

I can’t imagine making that decision for myself. Does she believe she has a soul? If so, will her soul wait in her brain or will she get a new soul when her life is restored? If she has a different soul, does that make her a different person?

I think brain chemistry has a lot to do with who we are, what we think, and how we interpret sensory information. Will her brain chemistry be different once she is revived with a different body? Will that make her a different person? If she’s the same person, will she remember what it was like to die?

What would it be like to wake up from surgery after being dead and frozen for twenty years…or 50 years…or maybe 100 years? It’s hard to imagine waking up as a young adult and not knowing anyone in the world, and being completely unfamiliar with what is going on around you.

Maybe it’s all a wash because really, is our current technology reliable enough to expect her to remain revivable indefinitely? If she is brought back to life successfully and her quality of life is reasonably decent, no doubt the media will be all over her story.

I wish good things for her future life. She is definitely braver than me. It boggles my mind to imagine a world where death is not the end of life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bible thumpers

A special election was held in my county yesterday – our county is dry, meaning no alcohol is sold in restaurants or in stores. People who live in my county who want to go to a nice restaurant must drive to a wet county, or drive across the river to Ohio, or drive 18 miles up the river to West Virginia. Nice restaurants make most of their sales from alcohol and generally won’t locate where they can’t sell it.  So it goes, and if you can’t have nice restaurants, shopping malls won’t do well either. If you have no shopping malls, most other businesses won’t locate in the area either.

The result of the election is that our county will remain dry. People of the Nazarene, Pentecostal, some Baptist, and Fundamentalist Christian churches in the county (and in the next county over which is also dry) stood on the streets holding signs telling people to vote NO. No new businesses, no economic progress, no new jobs created…because just as soon as we allow alcohol to be sold in our little county, people are sure to start drinking, gambling, becoming gay, doing drugs, and whoring around instead of going to church and reading their bibles. Bible Thumpers – this is what some people in our area call those who try to force their religious beliefs and values onto others. Sometimes you see these people standing on street corners holding a Bible in the air and yelling scripture at cars driving by. Some people say we are in the Bible belt here…not sure I agree with that, but we do have a glut of churches in these parts so maybe it’s true.

Personally, I could care less about how people want to practice religion as long as they leave me alone and don’t hurt other people. I voted YES to alcohol sales, and appreciated the Bible Thumpers holding their signs up before the election because they reminded me to go vote. I’m disappointed that alcohol was voted down, but I only have to drive seven miles to buy liquor and find a decent restaurant so it’s not a big deal to me.

One summer during my college years, I had a dorm roommate who was a fundamentalist Christian – pretty much every day she verbally reminded me that she was a “right Christian woman” who was called (by God?) to save my soul from sin. God knows I'm eaten up with sin; was then and still am. I wore makeup, cut and styled my hair, used perfume, wore jeans, lied, cussed, bet on horses, drank, went to parties, read Cosmopolitan magazine, watched trash on TV, etc. I thought she might have a stroke the day she came in and found beer in our refrigerator.

The first few weeks we shared a room, I remained cordial. It was difficult. I ignored her constant nagging. Every day after I left the room, she spread religious propaganda (brochures and pamphlets) all over my bed. My ritual was to come in, scrape it all together, stack it, hand it back to her, and ask her not to put stuff on my bed. When she wasn’t in the room, I raked it all off into the trash can. Finally, my patience ended. I’d come in and say something mean like “Quit putting your religious shit on my bed” and just sweep her brochures onto the floor. After a few times like that, she quit. She told me my blue jeans were going to take me straight to hell, so I retorted that at least they were clean which was more than we could say about her frumpy jumper. That’s the last time she commented on my clothes. One time, she walked in while I was trimming my hair with scissors. She remarked that good Christian women don’t cut what God has given them. I told her good Christian men cut their hair and I’d rather have hair like a man than to have a ratty, greasy bird’s nest pinned to the back of my head like some good Christian women.

Usually I can get along with anyone, and fortunately I wasn’t around her much because of classes and my job. It could have been way worse because she had no life outside of going home, to classes, church, or the cafeteria. She spent most of her time in our room. Even so, sharing a room with her was hell.  We parted company at the end of summer session.  I can't remember her name or where she was from.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Marti-Gras centipedes

I promised myself that by end of today, Chapter 5 would be written and submitted to my chairman.  Yeah right, same promise I made to myself every day this week.  Tony wrote about making\breaking contracts with ourselves, but looks like I didn’t learn much.  So, I tried not making the promise a few times and guess what, I didn’t do any work on it at all those days.  Perhaps it’s better to make the promise and feel guilty about it than not to make the promise at all.  Maybe at least I’ll guilt myself into getting it done eventually. 

Very big news!!  Miss Erin was asked to the Sweethearts school dance.  It’s huge for her because she agonizes over the fact that she’s 17 and never been asked on a date at all.  She believes she is so fat, ugly, and geeky that that that the only man who will ever ask her to marry him will be blind and deaf.  She worries she will be alone her whole life with nothing but a houseful of cats to keep her company.  It’s sometimes hard to keep a straight face when she laments that the half the girls in middle school are pregnant and she can’t pay a boy to even look at her.  The boy who asked her is a senior, plays on the football team, and is captain of the academic team - nice looking boy and smart too!  Jackpot!

Today, we went shopping and she found a lovely dress.  I think it’s beautiful on her.  She wouldn’t let me take pictures of her face because her hair and makeup were sub-par (i.e. less than perfect).  I sent Sarah the photos and she commented that the dress looks like it has Marti-Gras centipedes on it.  It's really lovely but the photos just don't do it justice.  It's very sparkly and colorful and quite flattering.  The centipedes are sequins and the waist has colorful jewel flowers.  She will wear silver shoes (with ridiculously high heels more than likely).        

She still needs to find shoes
laces up the back...lots of work to get on and off!

special deal - earrings for "free"

While Erin was trying on dresses, I spied wedding dresses in the store.  Perhaps someday I’ll be accompanying a daughter when she tries on wedding dresses.  It’s sort of a happy and sad thought all at the same time.  I just never had any desire for a fancy wedding dress or a big wedding.  Those are things for other people; not for me.  With both weddings, I bought a dress off the rack no more than two weeks before the wedding.  Buying a dress was nothing more than a get-it-done mission.  Do or die - it seems to be the most effective way.              

Thursday, January 17, 2013

imaginary family expansion

I’ve been struggling with writing Chapter 5; perhaps it’s more dragging my feet than struggling. I found a good study last night that will help in the discussion of my third hypothesis. I’ve come to find out there just haven’t been many empirical studies published that do comparative correlation of servant leadership and transformational leadership with another variable. In fact, I only found one. That’s kind of cool...maybe.

Anyway, it was a bit of a breakthrough finding that study and I wrote a decent introductory paragraph, so I knocked off work early (11:30 PM) and went to bed. Someone was already sacked and left the TV remote on my pillow.  Gracie and I crawled into bed and I started flipping channels.  I watched a few minutes of a documentary about the McCaughey septuplets who recently became teenagers. Anyway, it’s funny how what I watch on TV at the end of the day influences my dreams at night.

So from time to time I dream I’m pregnant or have a very young baby. The weirdest ones occurred when I really was pregnant, but last night’s dream was pretty strange.  I dreamed I was having sextuplets in our basement.  I was all in a tizzy because it was time for them to be born, I was unprepared, and Someone was asleep on the couch.  For whatever reason, I didn’t wake him.  So somehow, two of the babies were born (no pain or mess involved on my part…I didn’t even take my clothes off) and they magically appeared in a large cardboard box on a table. They were curled up together like puppies, slimy, and still had their cords hanging off them. I knew the babies needed to be washed off so I picked one up and carried it over to my desk where the light was better. The top drawer was open and full of water. Before starting its bath, I looked back at the box there were now three babies in the box. Then I got upset because I wasn’t sure of the gender of any of them or their birth order.  I glanced down at the baby I was holding and saw it was a girl with abnormally-long snow white hair. I said, “Oh my God, you look like Aunt Marie.” With that, I woke up...or maybe it was Gracie who woke  me up.  She licked my eye.  Anyway, Marie was actually a great-aunt who I was not close to and who died about ten years ago.  This baby in my dream had her hair as I remember it looking in her casket. Too weird!

Just before learning my baby was to be twins, I dreamed I had a gigantic dark-skinned Philippine baby, like as big as a 4-year-old when he was born.  I lugged this monster-sized baby boy wrapped in a blanket out to the hallway of the hospital where Someone and his parents were waiting to see him for the first time. Someone looked at the baby scornfully and remarked, “Well, he doesn’t look a thing like me. Let’s try again.” His comment shocked me so much I woke up.

I’ve dreamed I gave birth to kittens several times, but the most common dream is that my baby is very, very  small.  I take it to work with me and stick it in my desk drawer or purse so it won't be in the way, but I always lose it.  It’s always a bad dream to misplace something important. Perhaps if my life were more organized, I’d stop having those dreams.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

rut wrath

This blog is sort of a pathetic diary that documents just how ordinary and unexciting my life is. It’s kind of good that I’m a plain Jane sort of person; I don’t like being the center of attention. Even so, sometimes I wish for something extraordinary to happen to me, like winning the lottery, or maybe being abducted by nice aliens who want to show me their planet. I would rather have my comfortable rut than have something tragic happen.

What is my life? Typical day…get up, go to work, come home, work, go to bed. Repeat. Day after day. Pretty dreary stuff. No wonder I have nothing to blog about. Sometimes, I even dream I'm at work all night.  A few times, I dreamed I was sleeping.  If it weren’t for living vicariously through my kids, my heart would stop beating in self-defense from sheer boredom. But really, I’m rarely bored.

Chapter 5 will be the death of me. I’m trying to write a discussion of my second hypothesis. Honestly, it’s all getting a tad dreary because the data significantly supported all my hypotheses. The twist is that the results weren't quite what I expected. Now I’m trying to figure out why the results are what they are. The only explanation I can imagine is that the age and experience of my sample influenced the results. Why did mostly older, experienced people take my survey? I think it’s because older people valued the $15 gift card more than younger people. Maybe older, experienced people have worked long enough to see people get hurt on the job and care more about safety on the job. Perhaps it’s a combination of these things.  Perhaps it's neither.

So the eminent Dr. Chairman finally graced me with feedback on Chapter 4. Thankfully, he is OK with the results. His complaints were all cosmetic. He suggested it might not be appropriate to have tables in Chapter 4. Obviously he was on crack when he made that comment. A quantitative study with no tables in the data analysis section?  Seriously?  He said nobody really likes histograms so get rid of them. He remarked that my scatter plots are not APA 6th edition compliant. I read the manual, viewed recently published dissertations, and checked examples online. I see nothing wrong so asked him to identify the issues for me. The most worrisome complaint is that he said significant is significant, and nobody cares how significant. It doesn’t matter if there’s a 1% chance or a 5% chance of being wrong, just state it all as a 5% chance of wrong. The great and powerful Oz has spoken, so I will bow and kiss ass dutifully.

I just want to get done and graduate. Life is short. Mine isn’t getting any longer.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

first auction

I met Sarah in Vanceburg, Kentucky this morning to attend an auction.  It was the first auction I’ve ever been to in my life and it was FUN!!  They were auctioning very old quilts, baskets, knives, guns, toys, tools, glassware, and furniture like you wouldn’t believe.  Really OLD stuff, hundreds  of years old and some of it in very good condition.
They had so much stuff they couldn’t fit it all inside the building, so they had two long rows of stuff piled up outside. This is where they started the auction and I took a very short video clip because I was completely enthralled with how the man could talk so fast for so long.  Sarah made me stop because she was embarrassed by me.  A man holds the items up for people to see and watches for bidders while the auctioneer does his thing.  Totally fascinating!! (Turn up sound if you want to hear it).

We walked around looking at everything and I made notes of a few things I wanted to bid on...a quilt, a dish cabinet, and some crystal.  Sarah and I were both going to bid on a lion thing we both liked – I can’t imagine us bidding against each other.  The lion thing was an oak cabinet with a mirrored shelf on top – very unique and ornate with lions carved on the shelves and on the front legs.  I loved the drawer pulls.    I almost bid on a Kentucky long rifle just for the novelty of having it hang over our fireplace, but when the price went above $250 I lost interest.  Sarah said the dish cabinet sold for $3,800 and the lion cabinet sold for $2,100.  Just as well I left before they were auctioned.

light oak on the right was my favorite
lion cabinet was awesome
delightful drawer pulls

So, what I realized today is that I’m not an impulse shopper.  I didn’t go there to buy anything in particular and I have a hard time parting with my money for something I don’t really need.  Also, you need to really look things over and know they are in acceptable condition before they start the auction on them because it all goes very quickly.  You also need to decide up front how much you are willing to pay.  And most important lesson of all, pay attention to the bidding on items you want because it’s really hard to understand the auctioneer if your attention drifts off.  There was a beautiful mahogany game table I considered bidding on because I thought it was about to go for $50.  In fact he sold it for $400 while trying to get someone to bid $450...and I thought he was saying “for $50”.  Duh!  Thank God I was too late!             

Friday, January 4, 2013

got glue?

Here we are, another Friday, and thank you God for that because if I had to sit in this cubicle one more day, I’d probably do something really crazy. Even the short week makes no difference; I always start coming unglued on Friday. I imagine myself as Chief Broom in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  At the end of the story, he picks up something very large and heavy, heaves it through a window, and runs off to find freedom leaving the dismal place behind which ends a sad story in a happy way.

One wall of my cubicle space is floor-to-ceiling glass.  It is wonderful to have a view of the woods and lake; however, the idiots who designed the floor plan and cubicle configuration positioned me to sit with my back to the window. Fuckers! (Please pardon my French). They did that on purpose, no doubt. Anyway, On Fridays I oftentimes imagine myself throwing my chair through the window, leaping through the hole to the patio below, and running off into the woods never to be seen again. About the only way that could really happen is if I didn’t break any important bones when I hit the patio AND if I bled to death before getting out of the woods AND if there really was a bobcat in those woods that was very, VERY hungry. (I really don’t believe the rumors that a bobcat lives in the woods near this building).

my window wall

So well, today I’m a bit like Humpty Dumpty after the fall…all cracked up. The best cure is that liquid oblivion I use to love so much (i.e. bourbon), but the alcoholic brother business lately has totally turned me off drinking. What a pisser that is! I can’t even drink without thinking of him. CRAP!

Maybe I need Krazy Glue to keep me together today.

Does anyone besides me think the man sitting on top looks a bit odd perched there?

My youngest girls used to play with Polly Pockets, which are kind of like Barbie dolls, but very small (like under 3 inches tall), much skinnier, and significantly less expensive. Like Barbies, Pollys have zillions of accessories and slutty clothes.  Polly Pocket shoes are minuscule – I’ve sucked up hundreds of those in the sweeper over the years. Anyway, Someone stepped on Erin’s favorite Polly once. Poor Erin was in tears. I looked at the doll and assured Erin I thought we could glue her back together good as new. Her upper torso had only popped apart causing her arms and head to fall off. Easy fix! I got out the Krazy Glue, reassembled the doll and glued the back to the front torso. I didn’t have a tiny clamp so I just held the pieces firmly for a few minutes – the glue sets up real fast. I went to lay it all down on the kitchen counter to finish drying but the doll fell apart again, and I found myself with the doll’s boobs glued firmly to my index finger. I didn’t want to rip the skin off my finger and imagined the embarrassment of going to the ER to have it cut off my finger. Fortunately, a quick Internet search turned up a solution that worked pretty well. I soaked my finger (and doll part) in nail polish remover.  I ended up losing some skin (and only because I became impatient) but it wasn’t bad.  The second glue-attempt ended successfully and Erin was happy to have her doll back.

I sometimes liken myself to this grumpy gorilla (especially on Fridays and Mondays).

Me (under this cool, calm exterior)

Perhaps this is the kind of glue that would work best for me....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

starting 2013 with a wimper

Obviously, I’m not the party animal I used to be.  Some of the best parties I’ve ever been to were on New Year’s Eve.  New Year’s was something I planned for and looked forward to.  This year, it has been a non-event.
It was a very long day at work yesterday – I got to the office early hoping to leave a bit early since after all, New Year’s Eve is a pretty big deal and opportunity for celebration.  But no, we had big troubles at work and I ended up staying until just after 7:30 PM.  It was one of those days where people won’t commit to doing anything, people who know the answers are unavailable, and I’m stuck with a phone to my head most of the day...very tiring and headache inducing.
After work, I dragged myself home, plopped down on the couch, and picked up the remote with the intention of vegging out for 30 minutes.  Thirty minutes stretched into the whole evening.  The girls went off to parties, Someone got disgusted with me and spent the evening on his treadmill, and I finally gave up and went to bed early.  Someone has been off work for nearly two weeks – I don’t envy his tomorrow.  Mine isn’t looking too rosy either – the troubles from yesterday are still not entirely resolved.

I’ve let my alcoholic brother (AB) derail Chapter 5.  It’s not good.  Me, Someone, and my other brother (OB) pooled our free time this week and found a house for AB to buy and move into. One of the great things about living in a depressed area in bad economic times is that it’s a buyer’s market.  AB will seriously deplete his financial resources and within two years, he will likely be bankrupt.  None of us believe AB will live long enough to have to deal with it; if he does, he’ll be in a nursing home on government assistance by then.  I kind of think it's where he should be now.  Some would say any help we give him is enabling him to continue drinking.  Others say we should help him because he’ll die in the winter cold (no homeless shelter in his area), and he is too brain damaged to help himself. 
Nevertheless, it’s going to take more time for all of us (at least for OB and me) to get the deal closed on the house, get AB moved in, and get utilities turned on.  Once it’s all done, then we’ll wait for the inevitable. 


So today is the start of 2013 – I hope everyone in the world can start the year off in a good way.  As for me, I didn’t set the alarm clock this morning and that’s best way of all to start any day.  It’s time to take down Christmas lights and the Christmas tree, but I’ve decided to be lazy as hell today.  It will all wait until next weekend.  Someone is spending the day at his parents’ house so he can eat his mother’s good cooking and watch football games all day long with his dad.  I cleaned the kitchen, am working the mountain of dirty laundry, and screwing around on my computer. 

*sigh* I'm already sitting here, and just too lazy to get up and go see what's on TV.  Maybe I’ll just open Chapter 5 and try again...