Sunday, December 25, 2005

Book Recommendations

Best two books ever!

Caldecott Award Winner! Posted by Picasa

My Favorite... Posted by Picasa

I highly recommend reading them aloud with a friend in the children's section of your local bookstore. I love this pigeon. He's real.

So go! Now!

Friday, December 23, 2005

An Open Letter

Dear Christmas Sweater Lady,

It is not my fault that you chose to shop today. So please, stop eyeing my grocery cart as if I stole milk from your starving child.


Shopping for Breakfast

Dear SUV with a Christmas Wreath on the front,

I am pretty sure that the date for Christmas is posted somewhere. Had you planned ahead, you wouldn't need the parking spot that I just pulled into. Calm down. Walking that extra twenty feet to the Target will probably keep you from getting a heart attack for Christmas anyway. Consider it my gift to you.

Warmest Regards,

I'm In the Shorter Line Too

...but seriously folks, why is it that those who celebrate this holiday don't plan ahead? I guess I will never understand....

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Today's Observations

This morning I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts to get an Egg and Cheese croissant and some donuts for my coworkers. Being that it was a chilly morning and I did not sleep too well last night, I decided a coffee was in order as well. As I pulled up to the drive thru window to accept my goods, the girl handed me my coffee cup and the sleeve for it. Not the sleeve over the cup, just with the cup. I wondered if Dunkin' Donuts' training program had forgotten to include an explanation of what the sleeve is for, and the importance of it actually being AROUND the cup, rather than next to it. I pondered this while my hand was seared in the distance from the window to my cup holder...

A woman driving on the wrong side of the parking lot was visibly angry with me for being in her way. In her way because I had the nerve to be driving on the correct side of the parking lot. Her Christmas ornament earrings swayed back and forth as she spewed forth what I am sure must have been holiday greetings in my direction. I watched in my rearview as her Jesus-fish tagged SUV fumbled out onto the highway...

On the drive home, a man on a motorcycle caught my eye, as he zipped down the road in shorts. His legs, his very large legs, were beet red from the cold wind that slapped them as he rode. His shorts had ridden up from a combination of his girth and the wind to an almost obscene height. As we neared a red light, I watched as he gave car passengers next to him the "nod of acknowledgement". I couldn't decide if I envied his level of confidence, or if it supported my belief that too much confidence was a dangerous thing. He then shot snot out of his nose, making my decision far easier...

Listening to: Out of L.A. by Jude
Current Mood: contemplative
Currently Contemplating: personality disorders and the purchase of a domain name

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hiding Out....

Today is one of those days that I am relieved that a lot of the communication I do in my job is over e-mail. It is cold and grey outside and I would much rather be sitting in a coffee shop writing in my notebook (especially when I have ideas a'brewin'). But, alas, the bills must be paid.

I thought yous guys deserved some sort of update.

Work has still been very busy - but thankfully a new employee will be starting in January, so hopefully things will be slightly less crazy. At least being busy tends to make the day go by quicker.

Other than that there hasn't been too much excitement. I have a story in my head that needs to make its way to paper at some point, so I am looking forward to the little bit of time off I will have the in the next few weeks. It's been forever since I have been able to just sit down and write.

Hopefully there will be time for more exciting tales to tell in the near future. For the moment, I am boring. Boo-hoo.

Currently Listening to: Pixie by Ani Difranco
Trying not to listen to: Elevator Jazz...what is up, Launchcast? Have you turned on me? (speaking of music, guess what is coming in the mail for me in the next few days? it's small and shiny....)
Currently Reading: info about Cyclothymic Disorder and BPD
If I could be any creature with a hard shell I would be....a hermit crab.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dressing Room Music

I had to take a moment from doing some laundry to let you all know I am dancing around my apartment at the moment.

I am listening to Michale Buble's "It's Time". I purchased it the other day after seeing his Great Performances concert on PBS. (That may have been one of the geekier sentences I have uttered in recent times.)

But seriously, this is happy music. It makes you want to dance around the house. Is it wrong that I love this cd and I am not over 40?

If they piped the first track, "Feeling Good" into dressing rooms, I would be less likely to make stabbing motions at the mirror when trying on jeans. Instead I would dance. And I would think that my dancing looked good. ("Oh, so this music makes you delusional!")

I must get back to my happy and ridiculous dancing.

A Terrible Foe

I am actually writing a post!

Yes, my neglect has been great. And I would probably be continuing my pattern of neglect (because I would normally be asleep prior to 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning...) but I was awakened by stomach pains, so here I am.

No. For the 197th time, I am not pregnant. Sheesh.

My stomach and I have a long history of animosity towards each other. I would treat it badly in high school, living off of Mountain Dews, Publix cookies, and Extra chewing gum. It would decide to get nauseous every time I ate for about a year or two.

In more recent times, it has allowed me to eat again, but nausea is still something I have the pleasure of experiencing frequently. It's latest trick is being painfully hungry at about 5 a.m. This means if I wake up later than that, I have a headache AND I am nauseous. Yay for me.

So here I sit, with my bowl of fruit, taking this rare bit of time I now have to talk to you all. (Or ya'll, as I should be saying, now that it has been a full year back in Florida)

Why so busy lately? My work days have been very by time I come home and take care of all the regular day to day things one takes care of at the end of the day, I don't particularly feel like sitting in front of the computer. One of the reasons work has become so much busier is the hiring and subsequent firing of someone at work.

When I arrived back from Nicaragua, my company had hired someone new. I knew about this prior to my trip, so I knew that I would be training this person on support duties when I got back. I was happy to be training someone new, as this would take some work off of me. That is, once she was trained. Until that happened, I would actually have extra work.

So Wednesday morning, I show up a little early, to get myself situated before she comes in. She arrives, and the training begins. Her liberal application of a perfume made my eyes water and my head pound. This was not the way to start. Despite the pain I was now in and my inability to breath normally around her, I kept a positive attitude. Someone's aroma is not an automatic disqualification from a job. (I used to work with a guy everyone nicknamed "Fumes" when I was in high school - he was a hard worker, despite the smell).

Attitude, however, is something I find more difficult to tolerate. As we started the training, I would try to explain things to the trainee and she would interrupt me. Not interrupt, like waiting for me to take a breath and then jumping in, but completely jumping in mid-word, asking completely unrelated questions. At first, this habit was merely annoying. I kept telling myself that she was just eager to learn, which is a good sign in an employee, right?

That's when the correcting began. Now, believe it or not, I have a very high level of tolerance and patience when teaching/training. The combination of teaching know-it-all techies and 5 year old children gives you a special kind of patience. I may go home and scream at the end of the day, but I remain collected and understanding while with my student/trainee. One thing that I can not stand, is a student who very obviously has NO knowledge of a subject, yet believes that they can correct everyone else, including the teacher. My trainee was one of those people. The first time she did it, I was in shock. I just stared at her for a moment, not sure what to say, then simply said "no, that's not how that works," and proceeded to go back to explain the proper procedure.

This process of being corrected by her and having to readjust her way of thinking went on throughout the day. By the end of the day, I was very ready to go home. Before I left she started asking me about the job placement agency I got my job through. I was placed in my position through the same placement company that sent her, but this was information that she didn't need to know. She started asking me questions about who I worked with. She then showed me a piece of paper that the agency had printed out, that was obviously not meant for anyone outside of the agency, that mentioned that "this candidate (her) should not expect to be promoted as quickly as" and then there was my name.

I looked at her in disbelief. She had been bugging me during the day about who I worked with at the agency, and I had told her I didn't remember. She now showed me this paper and said, "See, you know them, why did you say you didn't know them?" She has essentially just accused me of lying. I do not care for being falsely accused. I looked at her and explained that I never said I didn't know the agency, I just didn't remember who I worked with. She continued to "accuse" me, so I just turned around and walked out the door.

This was all in one day.

The next day, I decided that I would try extra hard to be understanding. I was tired and getting over being sick and getting back from my trip, so I could have been moody. Maybe I was being picky about her behavior. Maybe I was stressed knowing that I had a hundred things to catch up on. So I showed up even earlier, got caught up on a few things, and prepared for her arrival.

This day was NO better.

At one point while I was training her, I stopped talking for a moment to set something up on her computer and she got up and left. Not a word. I figured maybe she suddenly needed to use the restroom, and just didn't have the "home training" to excuse herself from the training. Slightly annoyed, I finished what I was doing, then headed in the direction of her voice (she was not in the bathroom). I found her asking one of the guys a question that I had already answered. Evidently, she didn't like my answer, so she went elsewhere. The guy she asked is just about the nicest person you will ever meet, so he stopped what he was doing, got up, and came over to her workstation to explain things to her. Things that I had already explained.

If it had been a matter of her not understanding what I explained, I would have been less bothered. But that wasn't the case. She assumed that there was a shortcut to what I showed her. When I told her there wasn't, she evidently didn't believe me. The Cuban/Italian temper that I have been so good at controlling for so many, many years, was getting more difficult to contain.

By the end of the day, I was completely done with her. As I went to leave, she stopped me to ask a question (I stared at my imaginary watch several times) and then we had this lovely exchange:

Her: "Do you work two jobs?"

Me: (hand on the doorknob, tapping foot) "No."

Her: "Are you still sick or something?"

Me: ""

Her: "oh."

Me: "Bye."

As I walked to my car, I thought about the string of questions. I thought about a random question she asked earlier in the day ("Do you have kids?") and I tried to connect the series together. What did they all have in common?

They are all reasons for being in a bad mood. She was trying to figure out why I wasn't paricularly friendly. I laughed at this revelation. Being unfriendly/moody is something I am unaccustomed to being considered. But evidently, she had managed to tap into my unfriendly side. Good job.

The next morning she was let go. I have never been so terribly relieved to see someone go. The thought of continuing to work with this woman stressed me out. For the rest of the day, whenever I answered the phone and smelled her lingering scent on the receiver I was reminded of how close I was to hating my job.

That was last Friday. This week has been much better, with only the usual stresses of the job. Usual stress is good. Busy, but good.

Hopefully the next person we hire will make for a less interesting story.

Listening to: We Shout by T.A.T.U
Current Mood: sleepy

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Nicaragua Pictures

If any of you would like to see the many photos I took while in Nicaragua, I posted them on Snapfish. Send me a message if you didn't get the e-mail :).

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wrath of the Volcano Posted by Picasa

Drinks of Choice Posted by Picasa

In Granada Posted by Picasa

On our way Posted by Picasa

First Meal - Plato Tipico Nicaraguense Posted by Picasa

Post Trip

I'm back!!

Actually, I have been back since Monday night, but the hectic week of work I returned to tired me out, so I haven't had much time to update the blog.

Even now, I don't have much time, but I thought I owed it to you all to at least let you know how the trip was.

Having never been anywhere in Latin America, I wasn't completely sure what to expect. Our friends who moved there this past summer have been telling us bits and pieces, but it was definitely something to experience for ourselves.

Nicaragua is a very poor country. While we were amazed at how inexpensive things were by American standards, we were equally suprised at how expensive some items were when you take into account how much people there are able to make.

It is wonderful to see how giving and kind many people we met were, despite how little they had.

In addition to meeting a lot of wonderful people, we got to see volcanoes, boiling mud pits, and eat lots of yummy food.

I know, more detail should be here. Perhaps I will have a chance to write more later. For now, I leave you with a few pics...more to come....