4th of July July 4, 2012
Whew — been a while since I posted. Been busy detoxing from MSFT (after more than 13 years, it takes a while) and in Mexico getting pickled in tequila. Both things delightful. I haven’t felt so good since July 2010 when I was forced onto another team with a rotten manager. (By the way, anyone read the Vanity Fair article about Microsoft’s “lost decade” and “cannibalistic culture?” I certainly felt all hollowed out the past 18 months, barely a bag of bones and stuffing.) I think it’s really true–it’s beaurocratic BS and management pitfalls that are preventing the company from reaching its fullest potential. We truly spend 1/3 of each year writing about what we did or didn’t do in perf. previews.
(And in the wise words of Forest Gump: That is all I have to say about that.”)
No fireworks in ALL counties in Colorado this year due to the wildfire danger, the wildfires themselves, and the general heat and dryness of the area. I can’t remember a summer this hot and I also haven’t heard a single rogue firecracker go off. That is unusual but maybe people are getting the message and also, here in Denver, showing some respect.
Bamboo (our hairy white Great Pyrenees/Akita/Yorkie mix) has had to be inside all day and night, getting her walks in the early mornings. Can’t even walk her at night–the temp doesn’t seem to drop until after 9 or 10.
Job hunt slowly entering the consciousness…resemu ready…search engines joined…getting ideas….getting hits…gotta start actively working on it next week when B is at camp.
Mexico was great fun and it took a while to come down from it. My folks celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by taking all the kids and grandkids (14 of us in all) to Club Med Ixtapa for a week. Although this is not the normal crew I’d want to spend a week at the beach with, everyone had a good time and was pretty civil to each other, (A couple of minor scuffles at the airport but we were all tired and and wanting to be home so I don’t count that.)
But I have to say: I do get awfully tired of the grandma’s blatant favoritism toward the grandkids. It’s so ingrained in her that I know doesn’t realize it. But what is odd is that she wasn’t the fave in her family and so she knows how much it hurts. It’s started to affect my daughter’s feelings about her (though I haven’t chimed in at all. I’ve just watched and listened.) Just so much doting and helicoptering and constant chattering about how this one is “her prince” and this one “never complains” and this one is just “just like her mother–loves everything, is happy with everything.” The thing is, I adore these children–they are great kids and you can’t help but love them. They’re beautiful kids who are smart, affectionate, funny. I love them so much. But the constant hovering of Granny is driving me mad and making my daughter feel very left out. I’d tell B to approach her grandma but Mom acts always so very irritated with me as a general rule (and has since I was a teenager) and in our family, we NEVER “talk things out” so I can’t exactly tell my kid to try that approach with her grandma whom she loves so much. B knows she’s loved; she just feels second (or fourth) best.
So I’m not sure what to do. I’d talk to my sister but I have a feeling it would put some sort of bad blood between us and I don’t want that. We communicate but not on a particularly deep level. I love and admire her too, even though I wonder about her choices sometimes. But she’s a great mom and daughter and seems happy with her life. And it is HER life; not mine–her choices not mine.
B told me as we were buying mattresses earlier this week and trying them all out, one by one and then hopping back and forth between our favorites: “I’m so glad I have a happy mother.” That is the best compliment someone could give me. That when they’re with me, I seem happy. And I AM happy when I’m with B. The world is better through her eyes.
Day….6 June 18, 2012
Got my unemployment info after filling out all the forms. You can do it all online which is great. I had visions of standing in line with 23-year-old mothers and their 3 snotty-nosed chil’run , all snacking on Cheetos and Big Gulps. (Opps…is my “ism” of some sort showing….?)
Just last month either the federal or state government cut down on how many weeks you could file. It appears that I can file for 26 weeks. Ha;l a year. That’s not bad. Of course I can’t LIVE on $2k a month but I think that’s the most they offer you. There’s some sort of cut-off on how much they’ll pay you and I think I hit the limit, which is sort of sad if you get laid off and you were being paid 300K a year. So t does that mean that, if, say, if Mitt Romney lost his job (does he even have a job?) and found himself unemployed, he cold only get $500 a week. Gosh, I find that sort of comforting…
Did I mention that futons are filled with hatred? (C’mon Clay–get here with the new upstairs air conditioner before I have to do one more night on a futon in a twin bed…)
Leaving for Meheeco next Saturday for a week with the entire family. And I do mean the brother, the sister, the 3 nephews, the 3 nieces, the two parents, the two in-laws, and my one darling daughter (without whom I sure as hell would not go). I frankly thought it was NOT a good idea for my parents to spring for a Club Med trip for all of us, in order to celebrate their 50th anniversary. And I told them so and we ALL told them so and at firsts we thought we’d SWAYED them…but apparently not. I mean, what about a nice party? But no, they insisted and while yes, I’m looking forward to it, I’m also very much afraid–and I don’t mean of the drinking water. Recently three times (first two times were from two close, younger, relatives–over 21–and one time a good friend commented that a certain family member is very snappish to me and just shuts me down when I offer an opinion. Again, I feel vindicated that it’s not just ME who’s over-reacting but that it IS happening. I think it has something to do with competitive parenting. It’s really weird and I’m trying to let it roll off my back but I have a back made of velcro (or so it seems). Lots of yoga, Annik; lots of yoga. One of my instructors says “take all that stress and resistance and brush it to the sides of your mat…” yeah, the sides of my mat. Yeah, brush it. More like get a wind machine and fill up a crater.
I did create a t-shirt for all 14 of us to wear on the plane–it was taken in 1961 in Austria, one of the many countries my folks visited on their honeymoon. The man in the middle is, who else? Neptune! My mom used to say that he was her grandfather and we believed her for the longest time. And wouldn’t you know it, the CLub Med logo is a trident…
Budding creative writers: Do I disappoint them? June 17, 2012
Met this very cool 11-1/2-year-old girl today whose family (she’s an only kiddo, like my own) moved next door—a few months ago— to my folks’ house (where there’s a pool and where I lived since I was 7) house in Denver.
Apparently this lovely, friendly, (&, just my take on it) aware young lady “auditioned” and got into the esteemed <City Name> School of the Arts (middle and high school) here in our Fair City in the Creative Writing program (NOT an easy feat, from what I hear).
.I spoke to both her parents about writing for a living, and after 14+ years at MSFT, I hope I didn’t scare them. (Frankly, I scared myself, considering the waste of time, energy, and skill I’ve had to SUCK UP to the past 18 months). This lovely child’s dream is to write fantasy novels and do travel writing (yeah—what writer”s dream isn’t?) and when I told her what I have been doing these many years, her slightly and beautifully slanted chocolate brown eyes (she’s half Micronesian) eyes glazed over and I could see she thought I wasn’t a *real* writer.
It gave me pause.
But I wanted to tell her (& did tell her archeologist parents) that if you can WRITE, you can get any job—even if it’s temporary. But 11-year-olds cannot see further than 3 or so months into the future.
Bian and G got along like peas and carrots. Maybe it was the intellectual connection. Maybe they both love playing in water? Maybe it’s the writing thing (B wants to be a food critic) . Maybe it’s an Asian thing (doubt it). I was simply casually there —@ a poolside table struggling through the Sunday NY Times puzzle with them—and none of that came up. It was just friend-to-friend connection.
Love that simplicity of connection. Miss it. Miss being able to just trust it.
I love to see that because you know what? That “let’s-just-see-if-we-can-play-together is such risk that kids take naturally; they instinctively know that to make friends, they have to simply put themselves out there —even if just for a limited amount of,time and even in a controlled environment–and…just go for it
That’s my goal for,the week: just go for it. (Gee, what a great slogan for sports equipments, eh? Only 25 years behind the times….)
Day four: I took a nap! June 15, 2012
Okay, I really didn’t. Never been much of a napper. But I did do an hour an a half of hot yoga, sweated about a liter bottle full of salty water, drank it back, got a car wash (waited for the rain–here it comes) and then went online to start the job search. There was a dog walk in there too. Some squirrel chasing.
Okay, here are some things I learned about today:
Martha Payne’s food blog
9-year-old Scot (Scottette?) Martha Payne writes a food blog about school lunches with the clever title NeverSeconds. Clever girl, apparently: she had more than 2 million hits when she was alerted by school officials on Thursday, June 14, that she was no longer allowed to take and post photos of her school lunches. But just exactly one day later, “an Argyll and Bute council leader told the BBC that the ban had been lifted — effective immediately.”
Every day Martha posted about what she ate, how many bites it took to finish, how many hairs she found ( two, since launching the blog in April) and the nutritional value. Her blog caught the eye of the likes of famed (and terribly handsome) Jamie Oliver. It also raised money for “Mary’s Meals” an organization which raises money to help feed people around the world. Although I found some of her photos to be unappetizing, she DID give the last one (before she was banned and then un-banned) 10 out of 10 stars.So I guess the lunch ladies do not have to fear for their jobs.
Well done Martha! I shall show this to my own little blogger, the one who refuses to eat school lunches here in Colorado at all. I make her lunch everyday and she comes back with horror stories about what her school served that day…
The rat likes to watch me type
Because it’s been so hot and because the air conditioner isn’t working upstairs (need a new one, just when I’m unemployed, of course), I’ve been sleeping in Bian’s trundle bed on a futon. (Know what a futon is filled with? HATRED.) Anyway, the rats, being as nocturnal as they were would NOT let this pre-menopausal woman–who has trouble sleeping anyway–sleep. SO I moved them to my office desk (which, after having gotten rid of all the PC junk–the laptop, the docking station, the huge monitor, the desktop, the gigantic keyboard, the mouse) where there is plenty of room with my very modular iMac now. And I never moved them back into Bian’s room. As I sit here and type, Remi, one of our 7-month-old rats is very interested in it. Bessie sleeps. Remi watches. I wonder if it’s the sound. I wonder if it’s the movement. I wonder if she’s learning language like The Rats of Nimh (from the book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, which we’re reading right now, as it were). Rats are very smart. But I wonder if she takes dictation?
The High Park Fire continues to rage
I really feel for everyone affected by this horrible catastrophe. Today it jumped the Poudre river and is only 15% contained although it’s burned nearly 55,000 acres. It is going to take a LONG time for all those trees to grow back (and many of them were already affected by the Colorado Pine Beetle, making them more vulnerable to fire anyway. Let’s all send out some good hopes and prayers to the people out there: the homeowners, the residents, the firefighters, and the press covering it.
Good weekend, everyone. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads (and moms who are both mom AND dad–like me, Anna, Fran, and some other folks I know) and of course Hallmark, the company that invented this holiday. I kid you not.
Grammar drives me crazy… March 16, 2012
But this in particular:
I hear people talk–on the radio, on TV, on the streets, even at work–who are (I’ve, in the recent past assumed–maybe correctly, maybe not) obviously not particularly educated, and who don’t spend their time reading, much less writing or considering grammar (just conjecture, of course). This is the one that keeps throwing itself on my mercy
People say (in various contexts)
- “What he must have WENT through…”
To me that sounds wrong. Just WRONG. I’m not a grammarian so I don’t know the rule for this, but to me, what sounds right is
- “What he must have GONE through…”
I’m using this example because I just heard one of the lawyers on NPR–not sure he was for the defense (Dharun Ravi who was found guilty of a hate crime, among other things) or the prosecution (for that sweet, gay, violin-playing, bridge-jumping-to his death Tyler Clementi) say “What he must’ve went though” and I thought to myself, “Hm. Self. THis guy is a LAWYER and you aren’t. Maybe it’s YOU who is sounding like an uneducated, McDonald’s-eatin’-3x-a-week-Jersey-Shore-fan. Oof. That’d be bad. I’d better check my resume.
Am I wrong? Could it be? After all these years of trying to write correctly and working with great editors and copy editors? (Note that at this moment, my job entails NOT having real editors or even copy editors–RAMONA WE MISS YOU– just…well I can’t say or I’d get into trouble and I need this job, as dull and boring and mind/soul numbing as it is. Maybe another time when I’ve moved on (and boy, that time is coming–offers have started to pour, oddly enough; unfortunately they’re in Seattle, Austin, Singapore…). Another topic for another day (and maybe in another location–maybe another continent).
So, what say you, blog readers? I’m going to post my question to Grammar Girl and see what she has to say –if she hasn’t already addressed this. If she has, I’ll post it here. For the 5 of you. Haha.
– Annik (aka Queen Shannikwa, aka Crabby, aka Mommy, aka The Older Human Who Gives Us 4-Month-old-Rats Fatty Sunflower Seeds during the day).
C’mon: Talk to me. Anna? Fran? you’re two fo the smartest people I know. Ask Ryan Warner (whom we met Monday –he’s dreamy, gay, not gay). What’s his take on “went” and “gone”
Okay, it’s the weekend, Bian has a friend over and we’re all making pizza and watching Ponyo. So I’m gone for the weekend. Or…I went. Or I done gone and went. Or I done went and am gone. Huh. English is tricky. I do both Iyengar and Bikram Yoga so I’m pretty sure Sanskrit is trickier.