My (former) life as the crab

Musings about life after Crabby Office Lady

4th of July July 4, 2012

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas,General musings — Annik @ 5:26 pm
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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.

Entire clan at the Zejuatanejo airportMexico 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.

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Budding creative writers: Do I disappoint them? June 17, 2012

Filed under: Annik,Family time — Annik @ 11:34 pm
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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.

Lucky them.

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….)

—annik

 

Day four: I took a nap! June 15, 2012

Filed under: Annik — Annik @ 4:05 pm
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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 school lunch

Photo by Martha Payne

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…

Remi - one of our two Dumbo ratsThe 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?

High Park fireThe 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.

— annik

 

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…”

Tyler ClementiI’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.

 

Halloween 2011: First hand-made costume October 24, 2011

Filed under: Family time — Annik @ 9:42 am
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Bian in her Blue Macaw costumeWhen Bian said she wanted to be a Blue Macaw (like from the movie Rio) I assumed we’d buy a bird costume and retrofit. But no, that day I must have been feeling a little too sure of myself and so a trip to JoAnn’s and Michael’s produced 8 blue boas, one blue t-shirt, some white angel wings and some black felt.

it took me/us about 10 nights to glue on the feathers one-by-one and I have to say, it was the best costume at the Lincoln Fall Festical. Too bad there was no competitiion (God forbif the kids learn about winners and losers); Bian would’ve taken it hands down.

Bue Macaw costume from the back

 

September 27, 2011

Filed under: Bian,Bian's writing — Annik @ 2:23 pm
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Bian’s story of Poppy

(as she typed it)

Bian's story of Poppy

September 2011

 

Back in the saddle again September 22, 2011

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas — Annik @ 10:11 am
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Bruise

Sizure fall bruise

There’s nothing like a good fall to rediscover your saddlebags.