Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Fortunately the president addressed the nation last night or I would be forced to write the entire day off as a loss. And while I do my best to keep both religion and politics out of this blog, because blah blah blah hot button issues blah no one cares blah blah, I have to say that I thought GW did well and regardless of your opinion of the man there are times when you have to take a more non-partisan view of things. To quote one of my favorite history professors: “You salute the office, not the man.”
And since this post is coming dangerously close to being all rant-y I’ll get back to my original point…which is:
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
So…apparently Clay Aikin is gay.
Was anyone surprised by this? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
This is big news? Seriously??? What is tabloid journalism in this country coming to?? Huh? I mean what next? Revealing that Simon Cowell is British?? Or that Paula Abdul is an abuser of illicit substances?? Or that Ryan Seacrest needs a good swift kick to the nads…provided that the actually HAS THEM???
P.S. He’s not just gay…he’s G.A.Y...M.C.A.!!!!
Monday, September 22, 2008
I have held more than my share of jobs over the last decade, working as everything from a clerk in a law office to a nanny in a private home, but it seems that my best (and most harrowing) stories come from my long stint in customer service.
Back in the early days of my college career I got a job with a local grocery store chain. (I won’t say which one…but it’s headquartered in Florida, is know for rather touching commercials, and it’s predominant color scheme is green.) And between carefully scheduled college classes and the very flexible nature of a grocery store front end schedule I was usually able to avoid Monday all together.
Now what you have to understand is that Monday and I have never been ‘buddies.’ I, like a vast majority of the sentient population of this planet, think that Monday is a rotten way to spend 1/7th of your life. Mondays were always for pop quizzes, gigantic presentations, term paper deadlines, and job performance reviews. I just don’t trust Monday…if Monday were a person he would have beady eyes, a bad comb over and a case of BO that would make your nose literally rip itself off your face to keep from smelling him. Monday would be a sleazy used car salesman…or a greasy loan shark…or a CREEPY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR!!!
So, with all this in mind, I had politely explained to the Assistant Manager at the LGS that I would really rather not work on Mondays. No, I didn’t have classes on Mondays and no, there was nothing in my religious beliefs that prevented it…it was just that Monday and I had a history and I would prefer to sidestep any potential problems. She patted me reassuringly on the arm, rolled her eyes like I really should be committed, and agreed to my request. (I also explained my ‘Thursday the 12th’ thing and she was okay with that too.)
But Monday, it seems, was not willing to let go of me that easily.
You can imagine my dismay when I noticed, after months of peaceful routine, that I was scheduled to work on a Monday. I ran to my manager to demand a schedule change and was told that unfortunately, what with pesky thoughtless co-workers who wanted to take some vacation, there was simply no way around it. I told her to have an ambulance on stand by. She laughed. I turned green.
My Monday came. I awoke with a feeling of dread which a long shower and filling breakfast could not shake. I climbed reluctantly into my car to make the thirty minute drive to work and cold fear came over me. I kept my hands planted firmly at ’10 and 2,’ stayed well under the speed limit, and refused to turn on the radio. I was taking no chances. I arrived at work, clocked in, and walked to my position behind the customer service desk.
The customer service desk was a long counter running across the front of a narrow alcove just behind the line of check out lanes. There were two registers, two scanner pads set into a brushed steel work top, two bagging cubbies, a Ticketmaster computer, a Western Union computer, and a Lottery machine. There was a swinging gate at the far end of the counter so that cashiers and baggers could have access to the eight foot long ‘cigarette wall’ and two telephones. There was also a seventeen inch security monitor on a metal bracket/arm affixed to the wall which ran a live feed from the security cameras placed around the customer service desk. This monitor was very similar to a regular television except that it was encased in a box made of sheet steel…making it MUCH heavier than a regular television.
The morning began its slow crawl as customers trickled in to get last minute doughnuts and orange juice. The female Assistant Manager was on duty that morning, as well my favorite office co-worker, Teresa. Both had given me a gentle ribbing about my fear of Mondays and the atmosphere around the office had been light and friendly. The Assistant Manager went to do some paperwork in the back office and Teresa came out the front end to join me. With our opening duties finished we really had nothing to do but wait on a customer to need assistance so we were leaning against the short run of blank wall behind the counter.
Then we heard a strange creaking noise.
And before we realized what was happening, before we could process where the sound was coming from or what it might mean, before we could even inhale…the bracket supporting the seventeen inch security monitor swung away from the wall and fell forward…bring the monitor with it.
And I was standing directly beneath it.
The monitor stopped within mere centimeters of my nose and just hung there, the central hinge on the metal bracket apparently just tight enough to keep if from slamming all the way into my skull.
Teresa screamed. The Assistant Manager came running. The cashiers, baggers, and customers came running. And I just stood there, frozen in shock, watching the pixilated images flash across the screen as the security camera feed cycled.
“So…we’ll see you on Wednesday, Kristine.”
I had been at work less than an hour.
I could have died.
I was never again scheduled to work on a Monday for the duration of my employment with the LGS.
Friday, September 19, 2008
You know the drill! Answer the questions and reply when time permits! : )
1) Describe your favorite pair of socks.
Every sock I own is identical. White sport weight with gray toes and heels…and a weird little ‘clock’ design on the bottom. (And just what is that all about Hanes company?? Huh??)
2) Would you rather fall to your death from the top of the Empire State Building or the edge of the Grand Canyon?
The Grand Canyon…your last moments should be pretty.
3) Assuming you possess unlimited skill and training, what would you really want to do everyday?
4) MySpace or Facebook?
I had a MySpace for about 20 minutes before I deleted it.
I deactivated my Facebook a few weeks ago.
5) Polka or Bluegrass?
Tough call! If I’m at Mule Camp or Gold Rush or Bear on the Square: Bluegrass.
If its 8:00 AM on a Saturday morning in my parents neighborhood and the lesbians who live down the street are in a good mood then the entire street gets to Polka until sundown.
But of the two…I tend to lean toward polka.
6) What is the best meal you've ever eaten?
Ummm…OH! My first real meal after having my wisdom teeth removed. I had been living on pudding, yogurt, and jello for a whole month before things healed up enough that I could eat solid foods again. Mom and Dad took me to Western Sizzler (*tears because it’s torn down*) and I had a filet mignon, a baked potato, a salad and a glass of sweet tea.
7) Describe something someone did for you that was really awesome.
That time I was ‘kidnapped’ by the H.O.P.S.F. for my 27th birthday. She took me to lunch at this tiny little restaurant in the middle of nowhere, force fed me a basket of the world’s greatest onion rings, and spent the rest of the day driving me all over the north Georgia mountains. Hands down, it was the best birthday gift EVER.
8) Name a song lyric that is important to you.
“Measure your life in love.”
9) If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?
Flunky Toilettushie. Thank you Captain Underpants, Professor Poopypants and the Name Change-O-Chart 2000!
Oh, and just so you know…
LibraryDiva: Stinky Waffletushie
H.O.P.S.F.: Flunky Gerbilchunks
BalletDiva: Loopy Toiletbrains
Robert: Loopy Gizzardtush
Carl: Buttercup Lizardfanny
10) Toilet paper: Over the roll or under the roll?
Over the roll.
And my first task at this new job was to fold and stuff and seal the 3000 Christmas cards being sent out by the company. Now, I didn’t mind the busy work but I was astonished that the task had been left to so late a date in the year. That year there was a mad scramble to get the cards addressed, stamped and out the door by Christmas…and it took a team of eight people (not including myself) several WEEKS to complete the task.
Last year I was once again given the task of preparing the company’s Christmas cards…this time only 2000 cards due to the large number of cards returned the previous year. Determined to get a head start on things I (and it was just me) had all the cards folded, stuffed, and sealed by Halloween…all of which took me about a week (I am nothing if not efficient.) But the guy who was supposed to generate the address labels dawdled around until after Thanksgiving so we were running late again.
So yesterday, since I had nothing to do, I wandered the office looking for work. And I happened to overhear a mention of the fact that the Christmas cards had arrived last week. So I figured that I might as well get started.
Oh and P.S.: This year’s design is ‘dancing elves’??? Yeah…because apparently nothing says “We’re an internationally known, highly efficient, trustworthy, worthwhile company” better than dancing elves.
But mine is not to question why…mine is to fold the cards.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
She had an idea about what she wanted to give me for Christmas this year…
And wanted to know if I was game…
Because it would mean getting my Christmas present in early November instead of late December…
I told her that would be just fine…
So I’ll be going to see a show with here at the Fabulous FOX Theater…
I wonder what we’ll be seeing…
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I have tried to get the day off to a good start…what with the bouncing out of bed and motivating myself out the door in a timely manner. Hell, I even decided that I would give the company some of my time and have been blazingly efficient and productive this morning, doing more in three hours than I have in the last several weeks.
I always try to be ‘productive’ or to at least appear 'productive' while at work. I spend a lot of time with our operating systems open on my desktop and printed reports stacked in front of my keyboard but the truth is that when the economy took its most recent downturn things really slowed around here and it is starting to show. And to be honest even I, the self proclaimed Queen of Looking Busy, can only stretch a ten minute job out so far.
And now there are whispers of an inter-office lay off. And thought I wasn’t the last hired and have been here for almost two years…I am the still just a temp.
So fingers crossed kids.
Friday, September 12, 2008
This is the gigantic flag here on property. I took this picture when I arrived in the still dim light of early morning.
It sits right in front of the main office and I frequently use it as a landmark when giving people directions.
It takes a team of five men to bring it to the ground on Friday afternoons, fold it, and store it away until Monday morning.
There is a gentleman who works here, a retired Marine, who makes sure that this flag is always displayed properly and with the greatest respect possible.
It flew at half mast from before dawn yesterday until the arrival of first shift this morning.
I got up from my desk and wandered out into the atrium to stare at it several times yesterday, watching as it danced on the breeze, just brushing the tops of the enormous trucks which roll in and out of our front gates all day.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
At age two, Christine became the youngest victim of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Christine and her parents were on their way to California for a trip to Disneyland and a visit with relatives when their flight, United Airlines flight 175, was hijacked and flown into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
The young family has been honored with various memorials throughout the United States. In 2002 Sue Hanson was posthumously awarded a doctorate degree in Pathology from Boston University, which has established an annual lecture to be held on September 11 in Sue’s honor. In 2003 Northeastern University established an annual lecture series and scholarship in Peter Hanson’s name, and the Boston University Medical Center dedicated a pediatrics treatment room to the Hansons. And in 2005, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo opened the Hanson Exploration Station, a state-of-the-art educational and corporate meeting space named in the Hanson’s honor.
In 2003 an orchestral elegy titled Christine’s Lullaby was written to honor the memory of Christine Lee Hanson and you can listen to it here.
Christine is survived by her grandparents, Eunice and Lee Hanson of Easton, Connecticut, and her great-grandmother, Ok-Hee Kim of California.
A memorial website for the family can be found here.
2,996 men, women, and children lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
As I have mentioned before, there are things I don’t talk about on this blog. I leave my past where it is. I avoid what I find painful. And this is one of the most painful things I have ever been through. But I feel that it is time that I talk about this, and I hope that in doing so I can honor the memory of Christine Lee Hanson.
On the morning of September 11, 2001 I was getting ready for class. I was in my first semester at a local community college. It was a Tuesday. I had a 2600 level Environmental Science lab, a German language course, and a literature class that day.
As per my usual morning routine I had wandered around the house in my pajamas while eating breakfast and wasted a few minutes watching mindless television while waiting for my hair to dry after my shower.
I got up, and got dressed…jeans, sneakers, a tee-shirt and a hoodie…the usual.
I’m not sure why but it is an understood custom in my parent’s house that no matter what you were watching and no matter what time of day it was you put the television back on our local ABC affiliate station before turning it off.
So I did.
And I don’t really remember when exactly the tears started rolling down my face. And I don’t really remember dropping the remote from my suddenly limp fingers though I remember distinctly the sound of it hitting the floor and the cover of the battery compartment popping loose. I don’t remember when exactly I stopped breathing, but I do remember that when I started again I inhaled raggedly and choked on a sob.
I was just…numb. All I could do was stare at the television screen…at the images of horror happening live.
The phone rang. I turned and looked at the small black handset resting in the cradle. It rang again. It was my mother. Her voice was comforting, her words calming, her tone reassuring. I was fine, she was fine, WE were fine, go to class.
I drove mechanically, my thoughts swimming. I turned on the radio. News everywhere, more planes, more fires, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania.
I parked and walked inside. The classroom was noisy. Friendly chatter, laughing….they didn’t know.
“Turn on a radio. Get to a news website.” I told them.
And they did.
And silence fell. And tears came. And a classroom full of relative strangers clung to each other for support, giving comfort, giving encouragement. More people filled the lab room, crowding in, watching, listening. What did it mean? What should we do? Stay here? Go home? We looked to the professor for guidance. She was weeping.
Somewhere in the room a pager went off. A student, a young man, tall, blond, upright, stood and walked to the door. He turned to the professor. He said he was in the Army Reserve and that they had just paged him. He had to report for duty. The professor clung to him for a moment, her grief in plain sight. The room was quiet as we all stared.
He turned to us. Slowly looked at each tear stained face. He saluted his fellow students, turned and walked from the room. I have never seen him again but I will never forget the look in his eyes that day.
All classes were canceled.
Students wandered the campus aimlessly…hugging friends, hugging strangers.
The American flag standing in the center of the campus danced on the light fall breeze.
I went home. I felt useless. I felt lost.
I felt lucky.
I lived in Georgia. My family had called from all over the country. We were all alive and accounted for.
I felt guilty…because I lived in Georgia and my whole family was fine.
The rest of that day is blurred in my memory. But I know that it was a day that seemed to have no end. Minutes dragged. Hours stretched. America mourned.
Television stations suspended broadcasting and went off the air. Black screens with messages of sorrow. Others cancelled regular programming to allow for new coverage to expand…30 channels…all live…all smoke and flames and sirens and rubble.
At midnight I turned the television off and crawled into my bed, feeling like I had been beaten.
The next day dawned.
And the next.
And the next.
Smoke slowly cleared.
Rubble was slowly moved.
And America rose from the ashes.
So, dear Christine, there you have it. My memories of that day pulled from their hiding place and put onto this blog. I’m sorry there isn’t more I can share. I’m sorry that time has clouded things and made me forget the details. But perhaps it is better for both of us that these feelings are somewhat blurred at the edges now.
I have books on my shelves at home that have the images of that day inside them. Maybe someday I’ll be able to open one and look inside instead of letting them sit there, side by side on that bottom shelf, and quietly gather dust. Maybe someday.
And maybe someday, if I’m lucky, my life will be blessed with a little girl like you. And I’ll hug her and play with her and teach her about the world just like your mommy and daddy taught you. And someday, when she’s old enough to understand, I’ll tell her about you and your parents. I’ll tell her what happened that day. I’ll hold her close as we look at those pictures and I’ll do my best to help her understand that we still don’t really understand why there are such bad people in this world. And I’ll do my best to tell her what this wonderful country was like before that day, back in the days when you ran on the grass under the summer sunshine and watched Blue’s Clues and Bear in the Big Blue House and drank apple juice and ate Cheerios.
I promise I’ll do my best, Christine.
But most of all, dear Christine, I promise that I’ll never forget.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
About Me 2008 – Edited by the HistoryDiva for ease of bloggy consumption.
1. What time did you get up this morning? Well before sunrise which really ought to be illegal.
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamond earrings darling! Nothing under a carat please.
3. What was the last movie you saw? The Spiderwick Chronicles (because my father wanted to watch it and it was either that or (I can’t even believe I’m typing this and admitting that he actually PURCHASED A COPY) 10.000 BC….*vomit*)
4. Where is the most beautiful place you've ever been? The New River Gorge in West Virginia.
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Cereal (“it’s cold and wet…it’s a cloud thing…”)
6. What is your favorite food? The kind I don’t have to pay for.
7. What food do you dislike? The kind I have to pay for.
8. What is your favorite CD lately? Queen Greatest Hits Volume One
9. What kind of car do you drive? Its silver…does that count???
10. Favorite sandwich? Pulled Pork Barbeque
11. What characteristics do you despise? Willful ignorance
12. Favorite item of clothing? My black hoodie.
13. If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go? New Zealand - we are talking about ‘vacations from which you decided never to return’ right?
14. What color is your bathroom? Umm…the weird creamy very light tan color that the apartment complex maintenance team painted it before we moved in three years ago and all I can say about it is ‘Eww.’ Oh, and it’s impossible to accessorize.
15. Favorite brand of clothing? Comfortable. Comfortable totally counts…right?
16. Where would/will you retire? Either Australia or New Zealand…somewhere in the Pacific Islands.
17. What was your most memorable birthday? Well, remembered for a good reason or for a bad reason???? For a good reason it would be my 27th. For a bad reason there are several…6, 13, 16, 19…but that’s a whole blog post unto itself.
18. Favorite sport to watch? The Olympics
19. When is your birthday? Why? Are you going to buy me a present? If so please see Question 2 for helpful gift ideas.
20. Are you a morning person or a night person? Total night owl forced to function during daylight hours by corporate oppressors for monetary gain.
21. Pets? Thing One, Thing Two, Trevor the Wonder Hamster, Interloping Midget, and LibraryDiva.
22. What did you want to be when you were little? Forensic Pathologist
23. What are you today? SuperTemp
24. What is your favorite flower? Everyone say it with me: “The Daisy.”
25. Do you wish on stars? I live in the middle of a very well lit city and can’t see them.
26. Do you believe in Angels? Among other things…seen and unseen…but that’s a whole different blog post.
27. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Macaroni and Cheese orange.
28. Pet peeves? Let’s see…people who eat while on the phone, people who make lots of noise with their food, people who hover while I’m trying to work, people who ramble on and on about their day or their problem when all I want to know is who they want me to transfer their call to…
29. Favorite television show? Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. (The new season starts on Monday ya’ll!)
30. Siblings? All sacrificed to specific deities for personal gain long ago.
31. What was your favorite toy as a child? Legos.
32. What is under your bed? Tan wall to wall, the cord for my electric blanket, Thing One, Thing Two, and the Interloping Midget.
33. Who is the friend you've had longest? The H.O.P.S.F. has been stuck with me for 10 years.
34. What are you most afraid of? Clowns
35. How many years at your current job? 2 years on November 28th.
36. Favorite day of the week? Thursday.
37. Least favorite day of the week? F*cking Tuesday.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks: *Sigh* If you happen to be among the four of five people on the planet who haven’t either seen the movie or read this novel then I’ll do my best to not spoil things for you. Noah and Allie (played here by Ryan Gosling (who is seriously smokin' hot in the movie) and Rachel McAdams) met as teenagers and fell in love but time, distance, WWII, and an interfering mother kept them apart for fourteen years. Three weeks before her wedding to another man Allie goes in search of Noah, wanting to see her first love one more time and because this is a romantic novel…well, I’m sure you can guess what happens next. And their story happens to be tied up with the story of two elderly people who live in an assisted living center and yeah…*tears*. An excellent read.
Jane Austen for Dummies: I can already hear Robert and Carl laughing…but whatever. Now, I have read all of Jane’s novels, seen most of their movie adaptations, and am able to hold relatively well formed, intelligent discussions about any topic pertaining to the above. However, there are questions that need answers and that is where this book comes in handy.
Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie: My grandmother…yes, that one, is a great fan of mysteries. She has read so many of them my grandfather jokes that she could poison him and no one would ever figure out it was her. My father is also a great fan of the mystery novel so I guess I come by my adoration for Agatha honestly enough.
Anyway! It is the start of the Summer Term at Meadowbank School for Girls, and there is no reason for Miss Bulstrode, the popular but aging Headmistress, to believe that the challenges facing her will be more than the occasional irate or inebriated parent. She scarcely listens when Mrs. Upjohn, a parent, recognizes someone that she sees from her wartime days in the intelligence service. But there is a killer at the school who does not wait long to strike …
Archeron by Sherrilyn Kenyon: First, understand that this is actually book twelve (12) in the series. Second, I purchased this book because it literally fell off the shelf and landed on my head. No, really. I had a headache the entire next day. Third, I spent most of yesterday (yes, while I was at work) researching this book online. There is a LOT of background information I needed to gather to help me understand things. Fourth, I still don’t really understand everything but LibraryDiva is a fan of this series and promised to help me. Fifth, so far this book has been a very interesting read. The story is very detailed and tangled and I’m really enjoying Kenyon’s writing style. And sixth and finally, this plot is far too complicated for a summary!
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke: Yes, it’s a ‘kids’ book. Shut up! So is Harry Potter and I’m a huge fan of that series. MOVING ON! This book first came out in 2000 in Germany and it was actually brought to the attention of an American publisher by a bilingual German girl who wanted to know why she couldn’t find her favorite book published in English. So, Cornelia Funke became an internationally renowned author because an eleven year old fan wrote a letter to an editor!
Anyway! This is the story of two orphaned boys who run away from home after the death of their mother. In an attempt to keep from getting separated by their retched relatives the boys, ages twelve and five, hitchhike from their home in Hamburg, Germany to Venice, Italy, where they fall into the company of a young cat burglar who calls himself ‘the Thief Lord.’ Adventure ensues. This book is actually a lot more entertaining than I’ve managed to make it sound and LibraryDiva already has dibs on my copy once I’m finished.
But seriously ya’ll, he’s fine. Once we started giving him the medication he got totally fat and happy…don’t believe me? Check out the post all about Thing Two. See? Fat and happy.
In honor of the fact that Thing Two has a hilarious disease I purchased this for LibraryDiva:
The greatest bunny EVER!
I like this bunny so much that I contacted the girl who makes them and special ordered two more…which I didn’t think to take a picture of so you’re out of luck. But you should totally check out her stuff….clicky!!!
She has bunnies that proudly wear swears, bunnies with advertise their diseases, bunnies without swears or diseases and if you ask her real nice she’ll even make you a custom bunny.
These bunnies kick ass...so go buy one!
All hail spidercamp, queen of the swearing bunnies.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Thing Two is the ‘beta.’ Thinner, longer, quieter, and more reserved than Thing One, Thing Two seems to always be in the background of my fuzzy punk photos. As I have mentioned several time in the past on this blog, Thing One and Thing Two are…well, weird. And when LibraryDiva spends the weekend with her folks there seems to be a strange understanding between Thing One and Thing Two as to which one of them gets me all to themselves.
Sunday night Thing One was the only cat I saw the entire evening. Laying on my bed, on my rug, outside my bathroom door…Thing One was everywhere I was.
Monday night it was Thing Two’s turn.
Thing Two was content to jump up on my bed, curl up on the small pile of crocheted afghan parts and snooze away the evening, seeming to be content just knowing I was there and that it was his turn to have my attention. In many ways, Thing Two is my favorite.
And so, here’s to Thing Two:
Who sits in laundry baskets…
And on tables…
Who wants a squirrel…
And the high score…
Who poses like a pro…
Explores without fear…
Isn’t afraid of strangers…
Stakes a claim on the best spots for naps…
Could totally win the trophy on Dancing with the Stars…
And thinks my latest craft project is the world’s most awesome nap time accessory…
Thanks for making Diva-stan a better place to live.