Friday, October 19, 2012

Heal up, little one.

Day 5: something you would change about the world.

Every kid should have a home, where they get enough to eat and they know someone loves them.  

Seems like girls in the world are having a little more trouble getting this than boys, in some places. The girl that got shot in Pakistan, the one that the Taliban targeted because she's a girl but she wants to go to school and she speaks out about it? Yeah, that's bullshit. You know what I think of the Taliban? I think they are cowards of the same flavor as wife-beaters and Rush Limbaugh. I think that anyone who thinks that shooting a fourteen year old girl to keep her from wanting to go to school is okay is a complete and total asshat. Douchenozzle. Ultramaroon. You're not scary because you're tough, idiots.  You're scary because you're so fucking stupid, and you have a gun.

So you shoot A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL in the face, but you can't even manage to get her dead.  Then you decide to just keep threatening her anyway. Good move.  I can see why they want her dead. She's only fourteen and she's already millennia ahead of them in brains. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'd like to thank the Academy.

Day 4: how you think your life would change if you achieved your dream.
[Note: I just got done writing for today and where I ended up has ZERO to do with this question. ZERO.]

This is my Academy Award acceptance speech.  I have no idea what category I won. I just picked the Oscars because it's too hard to explain what life would be like in Mad Men.

Oh my gosh, I can't believe I won! Reaaaalllly! Okay, simpering over.

Seriously, though, there are some people I'd like to thank.  First off, I'd like to thank my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Krueger. She gave me a worksheet one day, one of those color-the-word things?  It was to teach you the difference between then and than.  I didn't do it right, and she told me I was stupid. Apparently, the fact that I needed an extra worksheet to keep me occupied in kindergarten was outweighed by the fact that I did the extra worksheet wrong.  But, thank you, because I've never messed those up again.

I'd also like to thank my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Tobias. He taught me two things that I use nearly every single day.  
     1: When you are doing multiplication, substitute the word "of" for the "x" sign. So if you need to know what percent one number is of another, you can sound it out in words.  
     2: When you are dividing fractions, remember this: "Ours is not the reason why. Just invert, and multiply."  Brilliant.
He taught me many other awesome things as well, but those two are the ones that seem to come up the most often.

I'd like to thank the retail industry. Why retail? Well, working in retail for ten years taught me the value of being nice to people, even when you don't want to be. You bet I complained about assholes after they walked away. But I'm fairly sure that there are very few customers out there that actually knew I thought they were an asshole *before* they walked away.  

I'd like to thank retail for another reason. Working in retail is a shitty job, no matter whether you're front of the house, back of the house, wherever. It's demanding, it pays for crap and you usually end up with at least one person a day who seems to think that because you're behind the counter and they're in front of it, they've been given a higher grade on the report card of life.  And that taught me an important lesson. Because the best five years of my worklife were spent in a store with some of my favorite people. And we loved that place. We put our hearts and souls into that place. When it closed, I put a sticker on my car from that store, even though I hadn't worked there for 10 years.  

So it taught me to value everyone's position, no matter where they work or what they do. A co-worker told me today that a lady walked through my day job (yes, even though I've won this amazing award, I do still have my day job) and said to the people in her group that our student center "used to be" a cool place, but now it's not.  Now, I'm not going to argue that point with her--for one thing, according to her description, if she's an alumna, I'm surprised the building was there. I'm surprised bricks existed when she came through. But you can't argue with a statement like that. Nothing you say can change that kind of opinion.

What I will take issue with, and what I will kindly remind her and everyone else is this: when you think a place sucks or is a failure, when you think you know how it ought to have been changed, when you think you've got it all figured out--congratulations. But consider that someone standing behind you might have an investment in the thing you're tearing down. Consider that you don't know the whole story. Consider that inferring loudly in the middle of a building that its staff aren't doing its job, that making a sweeping pronouncement for all to hear is not the most constructive way to convey that thought. 

I worked in two locations of that store I mentioned before. The second location was a hot mess. Inventory was all screwed up, leadership had been close to non-existent and the facility was in dire need of improvement. When I first got there, I hated that place. I burned out hot and fast working there, and left pretty quickly after arriving. But you know what I remember about that place?  The staff LOVED that place. LOVED IT. And to hear people talking shit about it killed them--even when it was valid shit-talking.  

So, members of the Academy, thank you for your award. It's a real validation of my awesomeness and I appreciate it.  But please, the next time you want to bitch about my student center, do it somewhere that my colleague can't hear you.  She's worked too hard to be hurt by your thoughtlessness.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oh, mercy.

Day 3: what you think your reason for being here is.

I don't honestly think we find out this answer until it's all over.

I consider myself a Christian but I'm not particularly rank-and-file. I do think that there's something out there after this, even if that thought is just a way for our species to calm its fears about death. I'm okay with that.

And I truly think that when it's all said and done, you end up in this Place--heaven, the ether, Deep Space Nine, I don't know--and there's somebody there with all the answers.  And that's when you find out why you were here.

Bear with me on this.  It's a little meandering but it gets to a point.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Hebrews 13:2, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."  I think of this as one of my mantras in life. There's that cheesy successories-style saying about how you should be nice to everybody because you never know when you're going to be the only person who was nice to them that day, or something. A barfy way to say the same thing.

(By the way, the worst thing that ever happened to the written word, other than The Bridges of Madison County, was the switch from the prevalence of the King James Bible to the New International.  The language in the KJV is absolutely melodical.)

But the reason that verse resonates with me so strongly is because I truly think that it could be that you are here for one specific moment, for one specific interaction, for one specific "accident" that isn't an accident at all. Winston Churchill says the same thing in his own Churchillian way that you are here for one important reason.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The new quote on my door

I have a dry erase board on my office door.  Because people in higher education, specifically it seems in student affairs, are in love with dry erase anything. Witness any RA's dorm door. Witness the 6-foot dry erase board in my boss's office--no lie.

I use the board to let people know when I'm not in (cause I'm THAT SOUGHT-AFTER, it's true), but I also keep a quote on it.

The board has featured Churchill, the Dalai Lama, Vince Lombardi, Lisa Grimm (@lulugrimm on Twitter, she's cool) and others.  Today was one of those days that required a new quote, however, and in light of my recent trip to my very first real cocktail party, the new quote on the board is in honor of she who gave us the elegance of the Little Black Dress.

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

Day 2: Something that’s illegal but you think it should be legal.

I think speed limits are stupid.

Ha ha, ha ha, you thought from the title I was gonna say pot.

I truly think that the interstate ought to work like the Autobähn. 
Right lane: my grandma. 
Center lane: me. 
Left lane: that jackass in the Escalade who's compensating for his shortcomings.

I mean yeah, yeah, public safety, whatever. But drive in any big city and you know damn well that the speed limit is merely a suggestion. And it seems to work out fine. And then when I'm in a hurry or I'm feeling ballsy, then I can get my thrills in the left lane and be awesome.

Monday, October 15, 2012

365 Days, 365 Blogs...

...or something along those lines.

A friend of mine recently started what promises to be a really good blog (go visit her at, and that reminded me that it had been a while since I'd blogged.  I see that "a while" means about seven months.

What started out as my attempt at being the perfect crafty housewife devolved into some venting, and then died the usual death that half-assed blogs often die.

But for some reason, I've been feeling the tickle to write again. Of course, the problem is that I never know what to write about.  But the interwebs being what they are, of course there exists a 365 day blog challenge.  It appears to have been written by a 14 year old girl, but it's a start.

Day 1: hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days with a picture of yourself.

I don't have a picture of myself. I mean, I do somewhere, or it would be easy to just use photobooth and snap one. But that's really been the issue, the picture thing.  We had family pictures taken a couple of weeks ago. That sounds like the usual suburban yuppie awesomeness, and yes, we did them in a park and there are probably some backlit crazy ones with leaves and stuff.  But it was a little more significant than that for me. I've lost fifty pounds. I'm halfway to my goal, but I've lost fifty pounds. And that was enough to 1) get me a sweater in the regular girls' section and 2) give me the confidence to pay someone to take my picture.  So when we get the pictures, I'll post one. 

Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days.  Well, let's see.  I'd like to be done losing weight, and I'd like to be done because I hit my goal and not because I gave up and ripped the band out or something. I'll have my masters degree by then.  Caroline will have started kindergarten (holy shit?). I will be closer to 40 than I am to 30...I guess technically I already am, so cross that off the list.  I wish we could take a vacation to the beach. I wish we could refinish the floors in our house. 

And I'd really love it if this were in my driveway.

That's gonna take some work.