summer, so far

imagine the inside glowing orangey-red hot - kinda like the sun

imagine the inside glowing orangey-red hot - kinda like the sun

My life has been topsy turvy for quite a while, and I’m starting to feel like I’m on an even keel again now.  Or…getting there.  I think I briefly mentioned the project from hell that lasted close to 2 years and was almost responsible for me quitting/getting fired.  Thank God that’s complete.  It was a nightmare, mostly because of my boss and our really awful communication, but I think most of that is over – now that the method works and the results have been reported.

It seems that I’ve been living on the AA [atomic absorption spectrophotometer] at work for the last two years, and once I finished the project from hell, I started on a rush project with more method development work – some on the AA and some in a muffle furnace.  It turned out I’d need a high-temperature burner and nitrous oxide for the AA work [which translates into super heat and 2 foot(!) flames], and 1000°C in the furnace.  I did what I could, put in some long hours, and pretty much got it done.  We’re looking at some alternate methods for that furnace fiasco, though.

imagine the flame another foot and a half taller and a bit redder

imagine the flame another foot and a half taller and a bit redder

So craziness at work has been contributing to weirdness for a while.  Not to mention random schedule changes from 8 to 10 hour workdays and back again.

But then I’ve had some weirdness going on with some friends, too.  Folks that I’d gotten really close with and now seem like they’re avoiding those of us that had gotten close with them.  I figure it’s something personal that’s going on with them, but it can be frustrating too.

I bought the Mustang – which I love love love to drive.  But I put a little too much on the principal last month, and now I’m strapped til my next paycheck.  I definitely want to pay it off as soon as possible, but I’m not aure how soon that will actually be.  The actual payments aren’t bad at all, but I think I got a little too ambitious last week.  Now it stings, a little.

But I just want to go places in this car.  It’s freaking hot, and I just want to drive it.  I’d actually like to take it some place new, cuz the drive to ATL is kinda boring.

I’m supposed to be reading The Color of Wealth, but I’m being delinquent about it cuz it’s so heavy.  And since I’ve been getting home late a lot, I’ve been watching a lot of random tv.  I just watched “Millionaire Matchmaker” for goodness’ sake.

I did get some shoes that I wanted [Converse All-Stars and some white church shoes], along with a few clothes to make sure I’m ready for my Labor Day vaca.  I cannot wait for a whole. week. off.  At the beach, no less.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out if I want to plan anything else for my dad’s 65th bday next month, or if a BBQ is sufficient.

unraveledMy mind flits from one thing to the next [as does this post] cuz I’m a bit sleep-deprived and I’m getting used to 8-hr days again. But my Fourth was lovely!  I went to the itty-bitty town nearby to see fireworks [since my town couldn’t afford them this year] and had a good time doing that.  Then I stayed up talking with a friend until ~3:30am that night [Sunday morning].  So of course, that threw off my sleep pattern, and last night I stayed up til ~3 reading a book. [And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman, whom I really enjoy as a fun mystery writer.  It was good, but I suggest waiting until the sequel is published – it’s a quick read and when you get to the end, you just have to wait for the next book anyway…]

Oh and I’ve seen two(!) movies in theaters in the last couple months – Star Trek and Up.  And I’m seriously considering going to see The Proposal.  Just cuz it looks funny.  Betty White, Sandra Bullock, and Ryan Reynolds – sounds good to me.  Of course, I’ve been wanting to see the new Maya Rudolph movie Away We Go as soon as I heard about it.  I want to support her in everything, because I LOVE her.  I thought she didn’t get enough sketches to showcase her talent on SNL, but then there are a lot of misses on SNL.

And then of course, Michael died.  And some people don’t understand why it impacted so many of us.  Some folks at work were like – why are people crying?  They said they never had an emotional connection to him or his music.  And it never really occurred to me that that’s what it was for me.  But that’s exactly it.  So on the eve of his funeral, I’m sending encouraging thoughts out to his family and close friends.  Those of us who shared that emotional connection can dig out Dangerous and listen to “Gone Too Soon” one more time.  In the mean time, remember.

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it’s only logical

I’ve been catching hell at work lately.  The last week and 1/2 have been SO way better.  But there’s no telling how my review is going to go next month.  Let me explain.

No, there is too much – let me sum up.

I’ve been working on a project for over a year.  One specific test [Fe content] will not work.  The method isn’t complicated, it just doesn’t work.  I’ve had other people try it, and they’ve gotten the same results that I got.  I’ve gotten pointers and suggestions – nothing helps.  My boss has been content to let me spin my wheels, until the end of last year.  There wasn’t much in the way of support from her.  She applied more pressure as time went by, coming up to most recently saying that I need to stop “messing around”.  [Like I enjoy working on something and failing every single day.  Oh and getting yelled at every day.  In front of my coworkers.]

I planned to visit NYC to see my sister, and got my vaca approved in Feb.  Later my boss said I wouldn’t be able to go unless the project was completed.  Finally, she took this test away and gave it to someone else – along with way more support than she’d ever given me.

I can go on my trip [I leave tomorrow after work], I’m getting way more done [I have 3 other projects at work, besides this], but because she took the project from me, my review will most likely be really crappy.  My only consolation is that the test isn’t working any better for my coworker than it was for me.

I haven’t needed a vaca this bad since last year when my boss was being awful.  But I am SO glad to be going.

in-the-heights1I’ll be seeing a few shows and eating phenomenal food and having a great time – cuz I need it.

One more day of work – and then I’m R-U-N-N-O-F-T.  For a few days, anyway.

Maybe sometime I’ll delve into the reasons that whenever I mention issues with my boss, people make comments about her being a woman, as though her erratic/mean behavior is connected to her two X chromosomes.  Or they posit that it’s a hormonal issue.  AAAAAAAAAAAACK!  Yes, she’s bizarre and randomly heinous, but I don’t think it’s linked to gender, people.

personal motivational speaker

That’s what I need for lots of stuff – a personal motivational speaker.  Because this would actually be super-expensive, I take every opportunity that I can get to tell/remind myself how awesome I am.  And yet, I constantly forget.

Crazy how that can happen.

I’m still fighting the same beast at work [a particularly gnarly sample will not run with good accuracy and precision on my AA], and unresolved problems such as these can really get me down.  I actually don’t even wanna talk about it.

But this lack of being able to make something ostensibly simple work is starting to affect me in other parts of my life and I think I’m getting mildly depressed about this crap.

So I need to be shouting my awesomeness from the mountaintops, right now, but I don’t really feel it.  Hence, not a lot of writing.

Oh, and I get to go to the dentist in the morning.  Whee!

loaded terms (the n-word for [some] white people)

As the presidential race nears its end, and tensions rise, it has become abundantly clear to most that race is playing a huge role in this…race.

Exhibit A:

A coworker speaks:

America’s not ready for a black president.

and

I just can’t get past his name.

and

He [Obama] is best friends with a terrorist [Ayers] – they’re next-door neighbors!  He [Ayers] helped him buy his house!  And I know he hates America because of his pastor.  His pastor hates America!

and

The reason the stock market keeps fluctuating is that people are afraid Obama’s going to win.  And he’s gonna raise taxes, and all the companies will go out of business.

and

If black people hadn’t gotten all these houses that they couldn’t afford, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

–Just typing this stuff, I could feel my blood pressure rising.  This guy (the same guy I was talking about before) pisses me off so much.  I haven’t been a die-hard Obama fan, but I will say, that given a choice between McCain and Obama for president, I’d choose Obama every time.  Every time.

The thing that gets me, is that this dude wants to say all this crap and then say-

Oh, I don’t have a problem with black people.

If you mention that some of the things he says are racist, he’ll go crazy trying to defend himself.  Making up all kinds of fanciful, far-fetched reasons he believes anything bad he hears about Obama, and discounts everything bad he hears about McCain/Palin.

Exhibit B:

My dad has a friend – they’ve been friends for years – but he’s more like an adviser/sounding board to her than someone to actually hang out with, or whatever.  A long time ago I realized she had some race issues, and it would be better for me to not get close.  Dad can take care of himself.  I, on the other hand, might say something untoward.

So every once in a while, Daddy tells me whats going on with her.  They keep up mostly through email these days, and send jokes to each other.  [My dad loves to send jokes.  And those powerpoint presentations of pictures of some famous person’s house, or a hotel in Dubai, or nature, etc.]  Recently, she told my dad that she felt like things in the country weren’t going that bad.  She’s doing better now than she was eight years ago, so [fill your own expletive in here] everyone else.  At least that’s the message I get when someone says they’re doing ok, so they don’t see why other people think things are so bad.

Anyway, she sent Daddy a couple emails about McCain and how wonderful he is.  So, Daddy sent her this:

How Racism Works Continue reading

the answer to the question

vegetable samosas - yummmmm

vegetable samosas - yummmmm

I LOVE Indian food.  SO much.  I live in Podunk, USA, as you may recall, and we don’t have much in the way of international cuisine [aside from Italian and Mexican].  We actually do have access to Indian food, though.  There’s a guy here in town, who runs a place that serves Indian 3 nights a week.  The rest of the week it’s Italian.  But you can imagine that it might be hard organizing folks to go get Indian with me, in a place like this.  And it is.  So, I mostly get Indian food when I’m out of town.

But last week I was talking to an Indian guy at work, and we were discussing how we both love hot food.  And how we both go to Taco Bell and request a lor of Fire sauce…and substitute beans for whatever meat comes in whatever we’re ordering.  (I’m a vegetarian [ovo-lacto].  He’s not a vegetarian but he doesn’t eat a lot of meat.)

Anyway, I mentioned that I love Indian food and he was like – really?  And he asked what I like.  I told him I pretty much like anything with vegetables, cuz I’m a vegetarian.  And then he was so happy [even tho he’s not veggie] and he was like – “wow! I never knew you were a vegetarian…”  So we continued to talk, and he said that I could come over any time, cuz his wife always cooks a lot, and they have lots of leftovers.  [Actually, when he found out I was a vegetarian he said I should just get a room in their house, and move in.  To which I replied – “be careful, with this economy, I just might.”]

I mentioned some of my favorites [all time: aloo gobi.  when I ate meat: chicken tikka masala.] and this guy said – you know so much about it, you could be an honorary Indian.  So I told him about how, when I was leaving Chicago, a cab driver there asked me if I was Indian, cuz he thought I looked it. I replied, “No, but thank you.”

That’s when another guy who was sitting at our table, chimed in, with a question I’m sure he’d been itching to ask me.

“So, what are you, then?”

And without any thought at all, I replied, “American.”

He was actually kinda interrupting our conversation, and so I went back to whatever we were saying…but didn’t anticipate that all of the people around us would burst into laughter the way they did.  Now, I think that this guy might have been a little embarrassed with the way that turned out.  He didn’t say anything else, but then…I don’t know.

I didn’t think any more about it, other than that I was kinda surprised that so many people found my response humorous.  But it turned out, this was a story good enough to tell – because a coworker who was there, made a point to tell another coworker who wasn’t there – to give them a good laugh.

And maybe it is funny.  But that’s who/what I am.  American.  For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live, til death do us part.

I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

in the black

I’m just now realizing how big the intersection between politics and race has become.  It’s like a volcano that’s been puffing for awhile, and is getting ready to blow up.  I knew that there were people out there who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a black man [whatever the personal cost to themselves], but I didn’t have the expectation that someone I work with would have the audacity to almost come out and say it – to me.

Yesterday, I and another black female coworker were verbally accosted with rumors of Obama being a terrorist.  This guy that we work with has always raised some red flags with me [TNTC, really, but most glaring were his backwards views about gays], but yesterday took the ever-lovin’ cake.  I had just heard about Palin’s accusation that Obama is friends with a terrorist (Bill Ayers) and hadn’t heard any actual facts about it.  So this guy swoops in on the convo and says that he heard they live next door to each other, and they’re friends, and that guy [Ayers] helped Obama get his house [in that neighborhood], and it’s all true.  Because – and I’m quoting here –

they couldn’t say it on TV if it wasn’t true.

::crickets::

Yeah.  For real.  Then he says to me, “You’ve gotta watch Fox News, see?  They’re the only ones that are actually fair.  They have a Republican and a Democrat on Hannity and Colmes.  See, otherwise, you’re just getting one side of the story.  You gotta watch Fox News!”

I thought he was joking.  Really, I did.  I’d never heard anyone say out loud [not even a Republican, and I’m surrounded by them here] that Fox News actually is fair.  And believe it.  I asked him if he was joking.  He wasn’t.

Then he just kept going – he doesn’t think that America’s ready for a black president.  He thinks that all the white people will just think he’s only going to help black people [I suppose this might be due in part, to the fact that most people expect others to be like themselves and then begin to project their own characteristics on others.  In this way, it can be inferred that those white people that assume Obama would only help blacks would – if they were in a similar position – only help whites.]  He was quick to remind me that he wouldn’t have a problem with a black president – but other people might would.

After I’d had all the nonsense I could take, I went back to my desk.  But our friend continued to pontificate, telling my female coworker that this whole financial meltdown happened because – wait for it – the terrorists helped Obama help black people get houses/mortgages they couldn’t afford, and now – since they’re not paying on them – we’ve got all these problems on Wall Street.

Yup.  I know someone who believes that ish.  Or at the very least, said it out loud.

I’m actually amazed at the lengths that some people will go to, to support their racism.  These folks are deluding themselves, choosing policies that will actually hurt them but they figure they can live with as long as a white guy is running the show.  Wow.  Tell me how much has changed?

I wanted to talk about the whole financial debacle in more depth but it’s getting late…I suppose my basic point was this: how can you possibly suggest/promote new programs, or increase funding for current programs, and discuss the raging deficit – and then say you’re not going to raise taxes?

Where the *hell* would the money come from???

To me, that is why McCain looked like a ninny tonight.  Sixteen years later: It’s still [or once again, actually] the economy, stupid.

what it’s like: outnumbered

I live in Anytown, the South, USA.  Living here can be nice – low crime, folks are friendly, quiet life, cheap(er) gas.  But sometimes small towns give rise to small minds.  And biting my tongue becomes a habit.  I am not one to try to educate everyone I’m around, all the time.  It wouldn’t be effective anyway, as most people don’t want to listen to a know-it-all.  [not that I know it all by any means.]

I have some knee-jerk reactions – like when the one guy at work says he was talking to an Oriental girl, and before he’s barely gotten the words out I say “Asian” on autopilot (Walter told the Dude back in ’98 – shouldn’t everybody have gotten the memo by now?) – but generally, I pick my battles.

I’m more of a peace-loving girl, and I’d rather not get in fights with people at work, so I tend to keep my politics to myself.  People have a general idea of where I stand, but I don’t jump into discussions.  Partly because being located in Podunk usually means that Old South political ideas prevail.  I’ve never lived here during an election before, and it’s challenging.  It does my heart good, though, to know that at least my vote will cancel out one of theirs.  I’m under no illusions that my state could possibly go Blue, but at least I can add to the fight.

So today, when my coworker who is the closest to a Democrat [being a Yankee, and all, it’s expected] besides myself, asked a question about the investigation into Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial request to have someone fired [being denied, and then summarily firing the dude who balked at firing – tho she says that’s not the reason he was canned] the Republicans at the table started getting all huffy.  “I have some family members that if I was in a position to get them fired – I would.”  That was one response.  Another said, “Oh, you can bet it’s just another mountain out of a molehill, like always.” [or something to that effect]

When the shoe’s on the other foot and Hillary and Obama are in the news, everybody takes turns bashing the Dems.  Talking about how they have no experience, bringing up irrelevant conjecture [still trying to decide whether Obama is a “secret Muslim” or not.  Although, since it is Ramadan right now, if you guys see him eating anything during the day, that oughta give you a sign, right?]  It’s just frustrating.

For some reason, political slicing and dicing of candidates is fair game – as long as it’s not the grand ol’ boys’ party.  And even with Palin on the ticket, it’s still just that.  It should come as no surprise that dudes find her totally acceptable but the ladies are less than impressed.

So I guess I’m just venting some frustration, since it’s better to do here than at my job.  If I just had one other person to commiserate with it wouldn’t be so bad, but my Yankee buddy is a flip-flopper.  😉

Can’t wait til November 4th.