Barefoot in the Park

Maybe everyone has felt that way. I know I have. You want to throw away all restraint and be FREE. To walk barefoot in the park.

But then there is that person who hasn’t hit the same moment of abandon you have, the one the says, “It’s cold and wet in the park.”

Then, if that person is married to you, you begin to doubt that you will ever have the same moments of abandon. You wonder whether this person has anything in common with you at all.

Neil Simon’s a funny guy. This play is about a newlywed couple making their way through that exact situation. He has some great one liners in there. And the people are too human

Too long

It’s been too long since I’ve written. My hours at work have been too long, too.

Doing too much packing, trying to do too much that keeps me from being creative.

But soon it will be over. I think. I hope. I don’t have to work such long hours for the rest of the week.

Thank God! Sheesh. Twelve hours is just too long–packing breakfast lunch and dinner for work. What’s wrong with eight or nine hours? I can do that. I don’t mind that. But no. Not this past week.

I am getting ready to move next week. My life is in boxes. Yuk. That’s not so pleasant. I will be glad when the boxes are in the new place.

My sweet boyfriend is making all this hard stuff much easier though. I love having him nearby. It amazing how much you appreciate little things when you don’t get to have them. We had nearly a year of NOT getting to see each other more than one day a week.

Now that i can see him almost any and every day, its like I am getting handfuls of gold dust.

So…things are so busy, but things are good. I’ll get back to being creative after I move.

Really though, not even being able to write for my blog is a low ebb. I don’t like that. So I won’t neglect is anymore if I can help it.

What? I can’t hear you, I’m trying to tell you something….

I finally got to speak with the Chief of Operations about stuff. It took a lot of work. You know, people who get things done are always busy.

So, he rescheduled his talk with me to last from 5-6 instead of from 1-2. Since I had arrived at work yesterday at 7 a.m., this was disappointing. BUT! I was going to say my piece by hook or by crook.

Fine. So I had my powerpoint presentation prepared, and I was ready.

I was also nervous. Around 4, I was a little tired, cause I’d worked 9 hours already. But I was amping up to talk. Time goes by (slowly) and I sort of get all ready. The minutes between 4:45 and 5 were very long.

Should I be early? How early? 5 minutes, I decided. I walked purposefully to his office.

And he was in a meeting. It was running over.

They were taking a long time.

A half an hour went by. I thought I could be a little more forceful. I peeked in the window, caught his eye. He smiled and flashed his fingers, “10 minutes more!” he was saying.

Well. Not to drag it out too long, but…

I waited outside his door, too scared to leave so that I wouldn’t miss my opportunity.

An hour went by. I was trying to decide if I should get mad. I decided no, that the important thing was to GET TO TALK. So I poked my head in again and said, “Hey just letting you know I’m still here. ”

He kind of looked at his watch and said, “Hey..Murphy..”

I interrupted, “No problem, I don’t mind waiting.”

I was afraid that he wouldn’t want to talk to me because it was late, so I was trying to make him feel obligated to stay.

I don’t know whether he’s a workaholic or whether my guilt trip worked, but he did let me in to give my presentation.

And he complimented my powerpoint.
:)

But more importantly, I got to tell him what was going on and what I needed to do the job I am asked to do. I feel like I was HEARD.

God, that is so important! Sun moon and stars, that is so important! I was so exhausted when we were done talking, but it felt to me like I had a chance of getting some progress made on improving the situation.

At the end of my shpeil, we talked about the problems that inspired this discussion and what needed to be done. As it happens, the concerned of (even more) upper management were different than the concerns I had raised.

So I left with some tasks to try and address THEIR concerns. During the meeting, I felt kind of dubious about being able to do anything to really solve the problem.

But I felt so great, so pleased that i had been able to be heard, that I suddenly was energized to really tackle it. I was full of ideas and plans.

Then later, as I was driving to find some dinner, I realized I knew the answer to the problem. In fact, I had known it all along. I was thrilled!

But how could I have forgotten than I knew the solution? How weird is that?

Part of the problem was that I was having trouble understanding WHAT the problem was. I had been spending so much of my time trying to deal with MY problems, that I couldn’t focus on THEIR problems.

Not to say that their problems weren’t my problems, they were. But when you spend all your time putting OUT fires, it’s hard to do any fire prevention.

So, the problems these guys were bringing up were on the level of “I don’t like the smell of smoke” when I’m trying to put out the fire. You know? I kind of had the “Can I slap you now?” reaction to these complaints.

THE WHOLE DAMN FOREST IS ABOUT TO IGNITE AND YOU ARE COMPLAINING THAT THE SMOKE SMELLS FUNNY.

So, now that I have had a chance to point out the huge (forest on fire) type of problems that i am barely keeping contained, I feel much better. I feel like I can adress the little problems.

And then I remembered something else that I have known about communication, but i forgot. I guess I forget because I’ve been working entirely by myself for a year now, and I havent had to do much communicating.

Here is the principle:
If one person has something the really need to say, the have to get it out before they can hear what you are trying to tell them.

Even if it is something you already know, you need to let them say it, and you need to let them know you understand them before you can go on to the next thing. Because a person will get fixated on the thing they need to tell you, it will dominate their attention so they won’t be able to hear the next thing.

It is important to LISTEN to people.

I don’t know, maybe I could have been a bigger person and found a way to get past my concerns and hear what the guys were saying.

But, the fact was, I got the huge GIFT of being heard. So I feel like I could drop all that stuff I was carrying and get on to something else.

I was so excited about handling new things that I could barely sleep last night.

I am sad…Sometimes things don’t work

So…My job presented me with a problem yesterday.

Why are problems never low-profile? All the head cheese and pimento loafs were in on this problem video conference.

and my boss (three levels up) was in the call too..He said to me “We need to do something about these problems. I never had these kinds of failures at my previous companies.”

Oooh…Lemon juice in the paper cut…It was bad enough that I had a problem with the equipment. Now it’s MY fault.

It was stinging all night.

Eeegh…

I spent all morning (after setting up another call on the SAME equipment for the head cheese and his pimento loafs…) writing out all the sub systems within the larger system that I am nominally in charge of.

I pointed out where all the weaknesses were and wrote out suggestions for what could be done to change them.

Most of what needs to be done involves more work for me. And I can’t keep up.

Since I am at work writing this blog entry, I suppose that might be hard to believe. But it’s true. Somethings, even if I technically have extra time, are out of my control because I don’t have the right AMOUNT of time.

I do the best I can.

But, that disappointing situation yesterday made me not feel like blogging.

And I don’t really feel like blogging today either, because I feel like moping about my failed conference.

But I guess that means I write a mopey blog about my problem.

The one good thing about the situation is the bad part of the situation: Things don’t get fixed until they are broken. I would not really call ONE failure BROKEN, but then that depends on how fault-tolerant you are.

Head cheeses are pretty fault-intolerant. THe loafs are more fault-tolerant, except when in proximity of the Head Cheese, at which their fault-tolerance reaches negative levels; that is, they begin to find faults to “solve” when faults do not actually exist.

SIGH.

So…! I took my Three-levels up boss for what he gave me and said, YEAH, let’s work to fix this stuff. Break out the brass polish and try to get what I need.

We’ll see what happens. It’s always dangerous to be NOTICED in a big corporation, but this could work out to my favor.

Hence the long writing out of what the system consists of and what needs help.

The two-levels up boss just walked by. He says he will be talking with me about it.

GULP. nothing ventured nothing gained.

Wish me luck.

White Oleander Review

The story begins with the Santa Ana winds. The girl’s mother tells her that women who kill their lovers on a night like this will blame it on the wind. Naturally, her mother is about to kill her lover.

You’d think that would be enough of a story. But not for Janet Fitch. That’s only the setup for the main story. The main story is about the daughter, Astrid. Astrid is left to fend for herself in a series of horrific foster homes. And in those places, she goes through a very dramatic coming of age transformation. Yes, we know all about coming of age stories. But the usual problems of that time are thrown on their head. How different is it to become your own person, separate from your parent (s), when your mother is a murderer?

This story was really good. It has all the terrible sensational things in it (occult references, murder, forbidden sex), but somehow for me, it worked.

One of the redeeming features was the constant references to beauty. The murderer mother was a poet. Astrid cut her teeth on fine art. It was bordering unbelievable to me, how much this girl knew about authors and artists. But perhaps there are such people, such 14 year olds, that can know about Kandinsky and have well-formed opinions about him.

The other thing that made this story really great for me was how much it was rooted HERE. HERE, as in Los Angeles. She described exactly exactly how things are here. She talks about the wind, which anyone who is not or has not been here does not know about. The wind is crazy.

And she talks about the apartments in Hollywood, and the wildness just not very far North. She talks about how different people shop and dress differently. The author knows this area, this strange area that is Los Angeles.

The story is a good one, I recommend it.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

This is a new show on Bravo. 5 gay guys get together to spiff up a clueless straight guy, and give him a makeover.

It is hilarious! I love this show. I tell you what, the sarcastic over-the-top gay culture is really MADE for TV. I mean it! These guys learned their moves from imitating the imitations of female glamour from Hollywood, so they are practically cartoon-like in their ability to quip and move things along.

Yes, they are extremely catty sometimes. But they aren’t actually mean, they don’t want to make anybody feel bad. They are there to make their straight guy’s life better.

I would have thought that some of the straight guys would have gotten the willies, what with the gay guys pawing them and making little flirty comments, but they all seemed very comfortable and having a good time.

I have to say, I look at my house differently. What would Carson say?

Wank on, my son!

ThisisLondon

“Far from making you go blind or your palms go hairy, self-abuse can protect against prostate cancer, scientists claim.
In fact, the more you do it, the better it is for you. Men who pleasure themselves regularly between the ages of 20 and 50 have a far lower chance of developing the disease, a study found. “

Men have felt this intrinsically for a while. But this study shows that benefits of choking the chicken are not for the casual salami slapper. 5 times a week is the threshold they cite.

I think though, men could slip it often enough. Make it a priority, I say!

Courrielez moi!

Blogcritics.org: ‘E-mail’ banned

From the “The French are bored again” file, France has voted to ban the use of the word “e-mail” because, well, they just don’t like it anymore. In its place they’ve chosen to use the term “courriel,” a combination of “courrier electronique” in an effort to apparently sound even snottier than they already do. Yes, that’s right, the government, specifically the “Culture Ministry,” actually put forth an initiative to remove the filthy, foul, and, most importantly, foreign-tongue derived “e-mail” from the entire French language.

I am THRILLED! I think it’s fabulous that the French have a whole division of their government devoted to snootisms.

I was getting tired of the word e-mail too. Now i have an official french word for it! I can throw it around and be FABULOUS.

but how does one conjugate it?

How business is done- The Voysey Inheritance

Anybody remember Enron? Any body remember all those OTHER companies that were caught with their accounting pants down? Man, what was going on? What made them think they could get away with it?

There is no way not to think about Enron when listening to The Voysey Inheritance. Here’s the story: Daddy Voysey gives his son, the one who is going to take over his investment firm for him, some papers that show how the business really works. That is, the business has not protected the capital other have invested in it. They continue to pay the dividends to the investors, but the capital supposedly producing the income no longer exists. And Daddy Voysey tells the horrified son that his father started the business that way, and handed it on to him. So, he hands it on to his son the same way.

Okay, this is Victorian England, but does it matter? How different is now? Hmm…Voysey jr. has to think about what to do. What’s the true justice? To go to jail? or stay and try to amass the capital again, keep on paying off the interest to the people who are relying on it? Going to jail won’t restore the money to the investors.

This story also explores what makes people trust others. Why did so many people keep giving Daddy Voysey the money? THis is a great story.

The cheese stands alone

SO, I’m buying this condo. Wow. More on that later. I’m terrified, and on top of it, my real estate agent is insane and rubs EVERYONE the wrong way.

For the most part it doesn’t bother me. I’m used to working with all kinds of strange people, the only thing I care about is whether they can do their job well, the job I need them to do so I get what I need: the condo.

She can be as weird and irrational as she wants, just so long as she knows things like, what these papers are and what needs to be done when.

So, I get a call from her asking me to sign some papers. More papers. Lots of papers. I ask, “What are these papers about?”

“You wil have to sign a lot of papers to buy a home. You should get used to it.”

I wasn’t expecting anything else, but I would think that someone who had more years experience in Real Estate than my years on earth would have a general idea what the papers were about.

She blows me off. “Just papers…” she says when I ask her again.

Have I watched too much X-files? I do not sign papers without reading them!

So, I’m in her office signing papers. I am reading all the papers. There are a lot of papers.

She is mocking me for reading all the papers. “I never read every word.”

My jaw is very tense when I say, in that special voice I learned from my mother, “Well, I do.”

“Why?” she asks, obviously questioning my judgement.

“Oh, I’m very meticulous.”

Talking with my mother later that day, I tell her about this. Mom tells me that she doesn’t read all the papers either.

“I know I should,” she says. “But I knew that I was doing it with your father, so I wasn’t so worried about it.”

Worried. Oh my god, I can barely sleep at night, thinking of this huge responsibility, and wondering what if this happens, what if that happens.

I do feel all alone. It’s me, it’s only me, buying this place. What if I lose my job? What if the real estate market crashes, and I am stuck with huge overpriced payments? What if I can’t do it?

My mom wasn’t worried when she was going through this. She had someone else in it with her. She was so not worried that she didn’t even read all the papers.

Why is that? She had this confidence in my dad, the ‘other guy’ who would somehow make it work out.

I only have me to have confidence in. I only have me to put my trust in and rely on.

I remember what it was like to be married, and have the ‘other guy’ there as part of a team. I know it would be less scary if I were doing this purchase with someone else.

And yet, I know that I have a very good track record of being responsible and handling my business-good as anybody! So why would I feel better if there were another person with me?

Other people seem to be mysteriously better able to handle things, to think of things, to come through for their peeps. _I_ , however, let myself down every day.

I forget to hang up the towel after I’m done showering. I constantly put off a hundred little tasks and chores that I REALLY mean to do. I leave a mess of papers and don’t file my papers. I constantly cheat on my diet, and I’m never able to go to the gym as much as I really know I should.

I’m lazy, stupid, far less careful than I wish I were.

But in spite of that, I will make a much bigger effort not to let someone else down. If someone is expecting me somewhere, I will make a huge effort not to stand them up. I would make a much better dinner for someone coming over for dinner than I would for myself, coming home from work to eat dinner.

And other people are far more kind to me than I am to myself. I am sure that none of my friends thinks my hair looks as bad as I KNOW it looks. They see me in a totally different light.

Well, I treat them better than I treat myself. Like I was just saying, I try harder for my friends. I take extra care for them.

Maybe this is why it is better when someone else is with you. In the best circumstances, that other person inspires you to do better for them than you would do on your own. And they do the same for you.

As for myself, I know myself too well. I know how easy it is for me to screw up.

I’m sure, or at least I will be sure once the papers are signed, that I will do fine with this new condo owning responsibility. But it just got me thinking…