Tuesday, December 27, 2005

You Know What I Think?

I think it is patently unfair to make someone with an anxiety disorder wait more than a week for the results of medical tests that could potentially indicate that something is seriously wrong with them.

I'm just saying.

Don't worry about me, those of you who know me. I'm not going to say anything about any possibilities until I know something for sure. It's probably nothing, and I've picked my cuticles bloody for no good reason (I do that instead of biting my nails - maybe I should go back to doing that instead). Nevertheless, I'm genuinely worried, and the wait is just about killing me.

Still, I know that all I can do is put it in God's hands, and trust that God will handle it even when I can't.

So, if y'all could give a holler to the deity of your choice on my behalf, I'd appreciate it.

Oh, and for all you English majors out there - here is the best part of your degree. I was just watching "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and there was a question about what meter Dr. Seuss wrote most of his books in. I correctly correctly identified it as anapestic tetrameter.

Yeah. That's a great use of a bachelor's degree.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quick Note

I've got lots of stuff to write about, though most of it isn't good. I'm not going to write right now, however. I want to wait until I know more about a particular situation.

If I don't get back before Christmas, have a Happy one.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


So, today I had therapy. It is very weird to write that.

In the hour I was there, we came to the conclusion that I have a pleasing people thing. I just want to make people happy in general, and happy with me specifically. And I have an overwhelming fear of rejection.

The therapist asked me to identify where I think that is rooted, and I couldn't pinpoint it. I can tell you various moments in my life, dating all the way back to preschool(!) when I kind of...retreated...further away from people each time I was rejected. And each of those times I seemed to try harder and harder to not do something to stand out, to push myself into the background, and to please people by being low-maintenance.

I've been trapped so long in the pattern of putting other people's needs ahead of my own that I don't quite have any idea how not to do that.

Perfect example. I wasn't planning to go to the company Christmas party tomorrow. I have a doctor's appointment, and social things like that always make me uncomfortable (yes, I am an introvert, as we previously discussed). But as I discovered that there were more people I know going than I thought, I thought about changing my mind. But low and behold, I find out that by boss's boss can't find a sitter. So what do I do? I volunteer to watch her kids. So while everyone is out partying and drinking on the company's dime, I'll be watching Disney movies, coloring, and otherwise twiddling my thumbs.

I am stupid.

Ok. I am not stupid. I had to learn how to counter that particular negative thought today. I'm intelligent and competant. I just don't feel that way a lot of the time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Quick Note

I go through periods where I tend to try to fix everything in my life all at once. This is not only not possible, but it also is incredibly unhealthy. I know this but I do it anyway.

So, this is just a note to say that if you hear me (well, read me) write anything about graduate school any time in the next...three months or so, smack me. Hard.

Thank you.

I'm Here

That's about all I can say about today.

I'm trying to be more aware of what I'm thinking and feeling lately. And I had a revelation. I have an overwhelming need to please people. There is a big part of me who wants just to make people happy, whatever that takes, and feels guilty when people aren't happy, even if it's something I have no control over and, in fact, have nothing to do with. But, by the same token, I don't think that other people need to do things to make me happy, or make my life more pleasant.

I know that's screwed up thinking. But I have no idea how to fix it. Maybe this therapy thing will help. Maybe drugs will help.


Saturday, December 03, 2005


I sometimes envy the medical coding specialists I work with. It's like they can speak a whole other language. When somebody says 434.91, they immediately think "CVA". They throw around V57.1 and 781.2 the way most people say blue or air.

It also depersonalizes medicine. It's no longer a person with an illness, just a number.

Sometimes I think it's easier that way.

That number in the title? That's apparently why I've been a little...erratic lately. I wish it were just a number.

Yeah, I did something completely out of character and actually sought help. Apparently, I have generalized anxiety disorder.

I have to say I was surprised by that. I was expecting depression, but not that. I don't think of myself as an anxious person. I've always thought I was terribly laid back, perhaps even too laid back. But as the therapist explained the symptoms to me,a nd why he thought I fit that criteria, I had to admit to myself that he was spot on. I just didn't realize how...tense I had been, and how anxious I tended to be because it was just such a pattern in my life, and probably has been since I was a little kid. The way I obsess over small mistakes. The way I never think anything I do is good enough. The way I never think I'm good enough. I've had those thought patterns for so long that they've just become a part of who I am. It took someone who hasn't known me forever to point out to me just how screwed up my outlook on life and myself had become.

The therapist also said that either underlying or accompanying the anxiety is a certain amount of depression. He said it's kind of like a chicken and egg thing; there's probably no telling which came first, but now they just feed each other. Lovely.

He also said that it's a good thing I'm seeing my primary care doctor this week. He said drugs might be a good thing. That idea scares me, too. There's a really long and strong history of addiction on both sides of my family. There haven't been many who have been able to avoid it.

{sigh} I wish it were all so simple as changing a few numbers.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

All I Want for Christmas - In My Dreams Edition

1. World Peace. A perennial "In My Dreams" entry due to the fact that an awful lot of people are just plain mean.

3. A Big Brother. Impossible without a strange rip in the space/time continuum.

2. A Puppy. Won't happen because of A) My lease. B) My allergies. C) The fact that I am never home.

And yes, I am numerically challenged.

Friday, November 25, 2005

100 Things Meme

These have been popping up all over blogdom lately, so I guess it's my turn.

  1. I'm an only child
  2. If my parents' first child had lived, and if my mom hadn't miscarried twice, I would have been third of four.
  3. My dad was one of eight, and my mom was one of 3, and I am the only only child in the bunch.
  4. I have second cousins who are older than me (all of the second cousins on my mom's side (except for one) and two on my dad's )
  5. The first book I sort of remember being read to from was a big, huge Sesame Street book with lots of stories and activities.
  6. I can only remember my dad reading to me once. My grandmother (Mum's mum) was in the hospital and my dad took me to the library across the park to entertain me (I was four or five). I don't remember the book, except that it had a boat in it, but I do remember the librarian shushing my dad. He got a little too into doing voices for the various characters.
  7. The first book I read myself was the Sesame Street Cooperation book. My dad bought it for me at Revco, again to entertain me when my grandmother was in the hospital. I was sitting on the floor of the backseat of our Buick (one of my favorite places) and I started to read. Mum thought Daddy read the book to me in the store and I memorized it (something I was well-known for, apparently), but he hadn't.
  8. I learned what a skate key was from that book.
  9. Despite the fact that I love reading and writing, English and Language Arts were never my favorite subjects in school.
  10. I majored in English anyway.
  11. When I was very young, I believed that every church was literally God's House (something Catholic parents regularly teach their children - minus the literally part). Every time we'd pass a church with a man sitting on the steps, I declared that it was Jesus sitting on the porch of his Daddy's house.
  12. Sometimes I wish I had never outgrown that belief.
  13. I went through a period when I was around 7 or 8 when I wanted to change my name to Linda. I thought that was the most glamorous name in the world.
  14. I had an imaginary friend named Eddie when I was little. He looked like a worm and lived in the walls of my room. At night, he and his little worm friends would put on puppet shows for me before I went to sleep.
  15. Yeah, I had a vivid imagination.
  16. I used to eat butter right off the butter dish.
  17. I would then follow it by drinking lemon juice right out of the squeezy lemon in the refrigerator.
  18. I never learned to ride a bike.
  19. I did, however, learn to roller skate, and I used to be able to roller skate backwards.
  20. I can't anymore.
  21. I had a mammogram at the age of 11 because I got hit in the chest with a line drive playing softball and my whole breast turned black and blue.
  22. It was horribly painful.
  23. My coach didn't want to let me come out of the game. He was a...well, insert the epithet of your choice here.
  24. I stopped playing softball because of the way he treated me that season. I realize now that it was emotional abuse. I should have realized then because my dad, who came from the, "you finish whatever you start" school of parenting told me I could quit the team if I wanted.
  25. I didn't.
  26. If you haven't guessed, I come from a long line of doormats.
  27. I wish I had been raised to be more assertive.
  28. I seriously considered killing myself when I was in eighth grade.
  29. I've never told anyone that before, not even my Mum.
  30. I have a tendency to be more emotionally honest and open in writing, even if someone I know is reading it.
  31. I'm afraid of silence.
  32. I'm even more afraid of dark silence.
  33. I at peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day for two straight years in sixth and seventh grade.
  34. I haven't eaten one since.
  35. I guess there is such a thng as too much of a good thing.
  36. My first dog, Muffy, ran away the summer before first grade. We think the mailman left the front gate open, but even if he did, it was weird for Muffy, who was the best dog ever, to leave the yard.
  37. We had to give our last dog, Harvey, away. My dad got her when I went away to college, but I came home to discover that I had developed an allergy to dogs that was almost as bad as my allergy to cats.
  38. My dad loved that dog. I always wondered if giving him up hastened his illness and death.
  39. I still feel vaguely guilty about that.
  40. I'm attracted to baseball catchers and hockey goalies. I think I have a thing for masks.
  41. In fact, I harbored secret fantasies that Mike Lavallier would leave his wife and fall madly in love with me.
  42. Guess that isn't such a secret fantasy anymore.
  43. The first time I opened a Bible I was six and my mom showed me hers.
  44. The next time I opened a Bible was seventh grade. We had one class on the Bible, in between learning about the seven deadly sins and how God loves us but we are going to hell anyway.
  45. The next time was Confirmation class in ninth grade. I had to write a one page summary of the book of Isaiah
  46. The next time was my sophomore year of college, when I learned that it was impossible to write a one page summary of Isaiah because there were at least two and possibly three distinct writers of Isaiah.
  47. Amazingly, Isaiah is my second favorite book in the Old Testament, despite that experience.
  48. My favorite Old Testament book, and in fact my favorite book in the Bible is Jeremiah, because he had the guts to yell at God, and despite the fact that he thought God and pretty much screwed him, he followed through with his calling and he never really lost faith.
  49. I sometimes wonder what would happen if I went back to St. Al's CCC for Mass some weekend. I have visions of being escorted out of the church.
  50. I have a secret desire to dye my hair some outlandish color.
  51. Guess that isn't so secret aymore, either.
  52. I broke the same bone in my foot two different times in five different places. The bone is all of about two inches long.
  53. The first time, I was practicing the Mexican hat dance ion the doorway of our living room for our Girl Scout troop's performance in the council's international festival so I wouldn't bother my dad while he watched the news. I walked on it for a week before the pain got to be so bad I couldn't stand it. I was in a cast and on crutches for 10 weeks.
  54. The second time I was walking down the steps of the mens' wing in the Kirk House the day we came back from Thanksgiving break my sophomore year of college. I had gone upstairs to see the quasi-obscene pictures one of my housemates had drawn on the chalkboard up there, and as I was walking down the stairs, I suddenly found myself at the bottom of the steps on the floor. I still don't know how that happened. I waited a week before I went to student health, because I was afraid I didn't have health insurance, and I wasn't sure what would happen if I had to see a specialist or go to the hospital.
  55. Well, that and my fear of health care providers.
  56. I avoid going to the gynecologist because everytime I find one I like, she leaves the practice. Then the whole crappy cycle has to start over again.
  57. Plus, I'm scared to death that a doctor is going to find something seriously wrong with me when I go in for something routine.
  58. And if they don't, I feel like I'm wasting their time.
  59. Did I ever mention that I started my college career as a pre-med major?
  60. I used to be afraid of Santa Claus.
  61. In fact, in every picture we have of me sitting on Santa's lap, I'm sobbing like mad.
  62. I was so afraid, that I ran away from him at Allegheny Center Mall when I was very little. All I remember is that the security guard found me by the fish tanks in Sears.
  63. I adored my Aunt R (my grandmother's baby sister) and Uncle C and used to beg my parents to go over to their house.
  64. Conversely, my Aunt V always made me uncomfortable and I used to beg to stay home when we were going to their house, despite the fact that I loved my Uncle L (my mom's middle brother, who was 12 years older than her).
  65. Aunt V thought it was OK to give me old catalogs, crappy comics, and the plastic "eggs" that L'eggs pantyhose used to come in for Christmas, while she gave her grandchildren all kinds of brand new toys. At first I was naive enought not to know that was wrong, but even when I did I still told her wonderful the "gifts" were.
  66. What she didn't know was that Uncle L always slipped me money every time he saw me.
  67. Uncle L also bought me a typewriter in 10th grade so my chemistry teacher wouldn't take point off for my bad handwriting.
  68. He never would have admitted it since I was a girl, but he was proud of the fact that I was the first on that side of the family go to college.
  69. Even when I am being all emotionally vulnerable, it's hard to come up with 100 things.
  70. I once ran myself over with a 15 passenger van.
  71. I still have a lump on my leg, 13 years later.
  72. I didn't realize until I moved to Louisiana that food was actually supposed to have flavor.
  73. Not all food in Louisiana is mouth-burning hot.
  74. But having said that, don't eat the potatoes or mushrooms at a crawfish boil. I learned that the hard way.
  75. The tomb they used to put on the back altar of my church in Pittsburgh on Good Friday really creeped me out.
  76. The risen Jesus they put there on Easter creeped me out even more.
  77. Another secret fantasy of mine is to one day have a really good mattress topped by ridiculously high thread count sheets.
  78. I'm a texture slut. I've bought sweaters I don't really like before just because they were soft. When I was little, I used to embarrass my mom because I would hike up my skirts so that I could finger the silky slip underneath.
  79. I still do that on the rare occassions I wear a slip, but I've learned to be more discreeet.
  80. It is very hard for me to ask for help with anything. Ever.
  81. It is very hard for me to accept help when it is offered.
  82. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think that needing help is a sign of failure.
  83. However, I don't think other people are failures when they ask me for help.
  84. I would really like to own a brand new car.
  85. I could get my life on track financially (and then some) if I had $50K.
  86. Getting my life on track in other respects is a whole 'nother story.
  87. I sometimes wish I had the guts to go to an African American church.
  88. I think Finding Nemo is one of the most spiritual movies ever made.
  89. I hated the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I feel guilty for admitting that because it was the kind of movie I should like.
  90. I wish I had gone to grad school right after I finished college.
  91. I always wondered what my life would be like if I had spent grades 1-8 in public school.
  92. The first time I realized that I was an introvert was 2nd grade. All the girls in my class were busy forming little circles and talking on the playground at recess. I was perfectly content to stand along the permiter of the playground and just watch. My teacher tried to make them include me, but I always ended up on the outside of the circle - they literally closed me out of the ciricle.
  93. I'm an INFP, according to Myers-Briggs.
  94. I'm an off the scale I, and a boderline F.
  95. My favorite thing to have for dinner is mashed potatoes and corn and broccoli. If I could get enough protein from that, I'd never eat anything else.
  96. I once ran over a stop sign at a grocery store shopping center in Erie. I got two flat tires, but I never told anyone why.
  97. If I let myself, I could eat Swedish Fish until I made myself sick.
  98. Mum made the best cranberry sauce ever. She would make three or four big molds every holiday, including Easter and my birthday (she bought the cranberries in teh winter and froze them). She, my Uncle L and myself (and my grandmother when whe was alive) could make a meal out of just cranberry sauce.
  99. As hard as I try, I just don't particularly care about football. I love the Steelers, though.
  100. I can't believe I reached a hundred.

And as a bonus

101. It took me almost two hours to write this list.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


So I suppose I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm relatively healthy (if a little insane), relatively safe, and relatively stable (again, except for the occasional depressive episode and panic attack). Life could be worse, I suppose.

I had chicken cordon bleu (out of a box) for dinner tonight, along with broccoli and cornbread dressing. Didn't eat much of the dressing, though - it was way too moist. I'll stick in a frying pan tomorrow and cook off some of the moisture. I like my stuffing dry, thank you very much.

I made apple brown betty for dessert. I had some leftover apples sitting in brown sugar and apple juice, so I threw them in a pan with a little butter and made a caramel apple sauce. So good.

So I saw this meme on someone's blog - I'm too lazy to link or credit - and I present it to you now.

Take the month and day of your birth and look up that verse in each of the four gospels.

Matthew 5:13 - "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under foot."

Mark 5:13 - And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank and into the sea, where they were drowned.

Luke 5:13 - Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, "I do will it. Be made clean." And the leprosy left him immediately.

John 5:13 - The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.

I find it interesting that all but the first quote are in the context of a healing, and the first one is one of my favorite verses.

God is funny like that, I guess.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Details

So we flew to Atlanta this week for a one day meeting. Got to fly first class on they way. It was nice, but not nice enough to suddenly make me not hate flying.

This past Monday, I got officially promoted to project manager. What that means is that I'll do most of the stuff I was already doing, give up some of the stuff I hated, and get a raise of $5000. That's nice

You know, I should be thrilled with that. It should have been celebration worthy. But all I can say is "that's nice."

It makes me sad that I can't get excited about good stuff anymore, and that my brain seems to be caught in a perpetual game of "my life would be so much better if only I would have..."


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I Get to Fly First Class Today!

And oh yeah, I got promoted.

Friday, November 11, 2005

No Big Shock Here...

You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)

You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.

You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Have a New Favorite Tea

I've been a Darjeeling person for a long time now. But last night on a whim, I bought 1001 Nights tea from the Origianl Ceylon Tea Company. I made some this morning, and it is really, really good. It's strong, but not overwhelming, and there is just a little hint of strawberry. And I didn't need to use much sugar with it, certainly less than I ususally do.

Just thought I'd share...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Just Checking In...

Letting everyone who cares know that I am still here, marginally all right, and relatively sane (though every online screening I've done says that I'm probably moderately to severely depressed...).

I'm not mad at that guy anymore. It occurred to me this week that the whole business world is brand new to him. He's used to the world of academia, where research projects go on for years, and findings aren't reported until they are absolutely ready. In business, the pressure to produce under deadline is huge, and sometimes the deadlines are pretty damned near impossible. He'll learn eventually.

My NaNovel is coming along nicely. I have about 4300 words. I don't stress about word count the way most wrimos do, though. I just use this as an excuse to commit to daily writing. If I make it, great, if not, that's OK too.

Unfortunately, some folks take things way too seriously. We had a supposedly friendly competition going on with Macon, GA for highest average word count per person. Some nasty things were said to one of our folks by someone in GA, and someone in BR got mad about people with low word counts signing up for the challenge and "diluting" the efforts of the high word count people.

I hate competition.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

And Let Me Just Say...

...that it makes me absolutely insane that the person I have to keep re-explaining things to is a PhD and makes twice what I do.

I'm done ranting now. I'm going home to take Advil and eat rice.

OK. I Admit...

That I sometimes get proprietary about projects I'm given. OK. I even admit that I always get proprietary about projects that I am given.

But when something I actually liked doing was taken away from me today, I was very cooperative. I explained everything over, and over, and over again to our new statistician.

But forgive me for saying this - I'm ticked off that he just as much as implied that I somehow screwed up the downloaded table. I didn't touch the downloaded table. I didn't change numbers or manipulate it in any way. The database that I downloaded was fine.

But no, he has to download it for himself, just to prove that the numbers I told him came straight from the source actually were right numbers.

I am fit to be tied, and angry enough to spit right now.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I Suppose I Should Thank Sr. Mary Agnes...

...but I think she's dead.

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Saturday, October 29, 2005


So I thought I should post today because there are undoubtedly a few regular readers out there who are a little bit...concerned right now.

I am OK. Really. I just took a little dip in the deep end for a while. Had a little disagreement with whatever small bit of sanity I posses, and we had a little trial separation. We're back together now, though.

Last week was...brutal. And it wasn't just the car accident. Heck, if that were all it was, everything would have just been peachy. But it was lots of things. It was the fact that I was forced into captaining our incredibly losing effort for the scavenger hunt at work. Even though I had no control over whether we won or lost, I still felt guilty that we didn't make a better showing. Heck, after all the work I put into the stupid hearse, we didn't even have one of the top three boxes. I hate being forced into doing things I don't want to do, especially something silly like that.

Then my boss made me take Tuesday off. That meant I had all day Tuesday to sit around the house and think. And when I have too much time to think about things...well...it's a dangerous thing. Because I don't just think. I dwell. And I replay. And I rehash. Mainly, I just obsess. It's one of my many personality flaws. I can't help thinking that if I had ignored my boss and gone to work on Tuesday, things wouldn't have gotten that bad.

Then I kept getting requests for hospital information at work from account executives. And not just for one or two hospitals. Sometimes, it was for every hospital in a state. It isn't hard to download the information, but it is boring and incredibly time consuming. And since it doesn't require much thought, it was just more time to think about everything that is wrong in my life. That kinda sucked a whole lot.

Then on Thursday, I got an impossible request from someone outside our department, but within our division. There's certain report I've been asked to do for him every six weeks. It is easily my least favorite part of my job. It is time consuming (to do it right takes 3 days), tedious (I have to run the same information for 80 agencies), and frustrating (because people are stupid). I have no idea why we still have to do the report when the initiative has been moved to a different department but...oh well.

Anyway, because the guy I do the report for is stupid, he told the agencies that if they entered a certain code for particular patients by 5 p.m., they would be given credit for those patients. And, if the agencies didn't show growth in this area, they would lose a particular piece of technology that really sets them apart from other HHAs in most areas. That would land the directors and the account executives in a world of trouble.

Well, the time factor was bad enough, but then the system went down. Now, I'm not really crazy about driving at night right now, and I told my boss as much. She said that if I didn't think I was going to be able to get all the reports run in time to meet the deadline, I needed to call her and tell her. I called her around 6:15 for the first time and left a message on her cell. I called her home phone 10 minutes later, and sent her an e-mail. She called me back at about 7 and yelled at me. She said that she was very clear that if I didn't think I could get things done at a decent hour, I should call her, which I did. What I didn't pick up, and perhaps I should have, was that she wanted me to go home then. I thought I needed to wait for her to tell me to go home. When she yelled at me, fragile as I was last week, I sorta kinda really lost it.

Now, I will be the first to admit that my judgment was really off. I hadn't been sleeping well, and I had had too much time to dwell on every failure I had ever had in my life (and believe me, they are numerous). I just felt like if I didn't get that report done, it would just be one more thing to add to the list. I know it was irrational, but you have your neurosis and I have mine. Mine just happens to be a crippling fear that nothing I do is ever good enough.

Anyway, the boss called me into her office on Friday morning, ostensibly to go over what she thought would be a quicker way to do this report. Well, we did talk about that. But she also told me that I had to call our EAP to get some help. I didn't do that, but I did make an appointment with my doctor. I know I have a tendency to fall into funks way too easily. Maybe I do need to be medicated. Of course, I couldn't get an appointment until December, so I have plenty of time to cancel if I change my mind.

I was better on Friday. Except when I was in her office, I didn't cry at all. I wanted to one other time, though. Friday was the company Halloween party. I didn't dress up, but I did write obituaries for the other folks in our department. They were cute, but there was nothing really special about them. Nevertheless, everyone in our department gushed over them. I think they were only doing so to make me feel better. My boss went so far as to say that I was in the wrong field (was that supposed to be comforting?).

I should have been basking in the glory of someone praising my writing, but instead, I was a little offended. What I wrote for those obituaries was not anything that anyone with a little bit of talent and a lot of obscure knowledge couldn't have written. It wasn't real writing. It didn't have substance, and heft, and meaning. It bothered me that based on little snippets of fluff, someone could declare that I needed to be a "real" writer.

That's so stupid when I read it in retrospect. But it still bothers me a little bit. I want nothing more than to be a serious writer. But the only writing anyone ever complements is stuff so basic a high school student could have written it. I know it shouldn't bother me. People in general don't realize that there is so much more to writing than clever word play. But it's aggravating, nonetheless.

I guess it all plays into that fear that nothing I ever do is good enough. That's why I never finish anything I write - I can't stop editing. I don't know where that particualr neurosis came from. I can't blame my parents for that one. They praised even minor successes as the greatest things since sliced bread (cliche, I know). I guess it could have something to do with the fact that I never seemed good enough for my peers. I was always just on the outside of the circle. I never had the right clothes, never saw the right movies, never listened to the right music, never went to the right parties. But gosh, I wanted to be on the inside. I had enough self respect and enough familial backing to not do anything stupid in my quest to belong, fortunately. But I have never been able to shake the belief that I'm just not good enough.

{sigh} I suppose that's enough soul-baring for one night. I'm going to crawl back into my introverted hole now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My manager thinks I need to be on drugs just because I can't sleep, I can't stop crying, and I have panic attacks every time I drive in traffic. She's probably right.

Since I don't feel like dressing up anymore for Halloween, I got roped into writing the "obituaries" for the folks who are going to dress up. Monday I would have jumped at the chance. Today, all I want to do is cry (which I've only done twice so far). I guess three straight days of insomnia will do that to you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm Better Now.

Really. I just wish that everything didn't make me cry.

I'll write more tonight because I have lots to say.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I was off work today. My boss made me take off after I couldn't control my crying on the phone with her last night. Today was so hard to get through with nothing to do. One of my co-workers called me and I cried on the phone to her as well. She said she'd call back later to check on me. She never did. Nor did my boss who said she'd call today. I don't know what it is about me that keeps people from caring about me for more than a few minutes.

You know, that's really not a fair thing for me to say. It's frustration calling more than anything. Most people, when they are in a tough situation turn to their family or significant others. I don't have either of those things. I have no one.

I admit that sometimes I really resent God. Oh, I'm not shallow enough to buy into that reward/retribution theology that says that God rewards those who do his will and punishes those that don't. And I never bought that platitude that says that says that God never gives us more than we can handle. I know God didn't cause my accident.

No, I resent God for taking my parents away when I was so young. I was barely an adult, and all of a sudden, I was completely on my own. There was no weaning like most people get to experience. And the rest of my family did nothing to support me through all the crap I endured after my dad and mom died. I faced everything on my own.

I know that I brought it on myself. I'm not a particularly open person. I never have been, because I discovered early on that you get hurt when you leave yourself vulnerable. It isn't easy for me to depend on other people, because beyond my parents, I never had anyone I could depend on. I just wish that I did have someone on whose shoulder I could cry when stuff like this happens.

I'm whining. I know it. And I know my resentment of God is misplaced. But nonetheless, I all really wanted to do today was to kneel on the floor and put my head on my mother's lap like I used to when I needed comfort. I longed to feel her fingers carding through my hair, imparting comfort with every stroke. I wanted to hear voice, and feel her stomach move as she laughed. For one day, I just wanted to be someone's kid, and have someone take care of me.

But I'll never have that again.

Monday, October 24, 2005


I was just in an accident on the way home. An accident that can be directly attributed to the increased traffic in Baton Rouge.

The traffic at my usual exit was backed all the way onto the interstate. I didn't want to sit in that, so I decided to switch lanes. The next exit would get me home just as effectively and much quicker. So as I was trying to switch lanes, the traffic in front of me stopped more abruptly than I anticipated. I hit the left bumper of the car in front of me with my right front bumper. He was in an SUV, so naturally there was almost no damage.

I, on the other hand, in my little compact car, have an accordianed hood, broken headlight, and probably some other stuff. The car is drivable, but I don't know how safe it is.

His car was of course owned by a company, so of course if my insurance doesn't cover all the damages I'm on the hook for whatever remains. Not to mention the damage to my own car.

I'm OK. I'm shaking, but I'm ok. Though my stomach hurts, and I'm feeling a little sore now.

I hate my life, and I hate Baton Rouge.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I'm Building a Hearse

It's fun but messy.

Our company has a scavenger hunt every year for halloween. My department chose as its team name the ICD-9 code for Dropped Dead. There really is one. Go find yourself a code book and look it up (or leave me a comment and I'll tell you what it is). I got volunteered to be team captain. Part of the requirements for the hunt is that you submit your items in a decorated box. In keeping with the whole death theme, we are submitting the few items we have in a hearse. We only have a few things because 2/3 of our team was out of town all week. The two of us who were left decided to have some fun. We were supposed to take a picture of all our teammates gathered at a particular bench not far from the office. Well, that's really hard to do when the whole team is out of town. So we got everyone pictures from the company directory, stuck them in a frame, and took a picture of them at the bench under a sign that said "In Loving Memory..." We were supposed to have a road map of Alaska, and we printed one off the internet and enlarged it so it is about 2 feet high by 2.5 feet long.

We may lose, but we had fun doing it.

So, do you want to hear the plot of my NaNovel? Well, congratulations, you're going to . Actually, I don't have much of a plot yet, but I have a pretty good concept.

The protagonist, Ella Shue, was someone who was pretty much the consummate follow or sidekick for most of her life. She did what other people wanted her to do because she was so desparate to fit in. She was manipulated by her friends, her family, even her teachers.

It wasn't until she went away to college, escaping all of those things, that she really discovered who she was, and that she was a very talented person, who did not necessarily have to follow to fit. She found her niche, and found happiness and success. This is all backstory that may or may not make it into the novel in some way, shape, or form.

Several years later, Ella is at the point in her career where she is hiring an assistant for the first time. A resume crosses her desk with a very familiar name - the person who was chiefly responsible for keeping her in the background in high school. It is a very common name, however, and she doesn't think any more of it until the day of the interview when she sees that it is the same person.

For some reason that I haven't determined yet, Ella ends up hiring her. The novel is about how Ella copes (or doesn't cope) with that change in roles.

I have some rather interesting plot points in my head. I just need to work out the details. This theme and the style I plan to use is somewhat of a departure for me - it is more popular and less literary. But I'm thinking I need a change to push me out of the funk I'm in. I feel confident that I can hit 50K this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I Am Sad

I was looking forward to getting to dress up as a corpse that has been pecked to death by birds for Halloween next Friday. Today I found out that I have to go to a stupid meeting Friday morning. I can't go to the meeting in costume, and the party starts right after the meeting.

I was excited about getting to do something with my department. It's different when you don't feel forced into it, and when you feel like you are actually a member of the team. Now I don't get to.

It's pathetic, but I really want to cry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

So I'm Going Deaf...

No, really. I am.

Went to the ENT yesterday. She said that the infection I had did likely perf. my eardrum, which I already knew. She couldn't see any fluid, but she said that the Eustacian tube may be a little bit compromised, which is causing me to feel like there is fluid in there. Not much they can do about that. I just need to take decongestant whenever I feel like that.

They did a hearing test. I have a slight low frequency loss in both ears, which I've known since I was a kid. It is a little worse now than it was last time I was tested. She wasn't concerned at all right now, but said it's something I need to watch, especially given my family history.

{sigh} This is why I don't go to the doctor ever.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Guess this lends credence to the fact that I was premature. This does not describe me at all.

Your Birthdate: May 13

Being born on the 13th day of the month should help make you a better manager and organizer, but it may also give you a tendency to dominate people a bit.
You may be more responsible and self-disciplined than you realize.
Sincere and honest, you are a serious, hard working individual.

Your feeling are likely to seem somewhat repressed at times.
You are apt to be much more practical, rational, and conscious of details.
Your intolerance and insistence on complete accuracy can be irritating to some.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Change May Be on the Horizon

I have a background this color...

Your Blog Should Be Purple

You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.
You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.
You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.

Yeah, Another Quiz

You Are Likely an Only Child

At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.

Yep. 5 questions and they got it right. The funny thing is that I have done all of the mentioned careers in one form or another. Guess I just need to write a self-help book. How about Coke in a Sack: Adjusting to Living in the South when You Are a Damn Yankee?


Tomorrow I have an appointment with an ENT. I'm not happy about it.

Remember that ear infection I had a couple weeks ago? Well, it got better, but I'm still having some residual problems. Every now and then, it feels like fluid is built up again, but then it goes away. I think my boss got tired of me asking her to repeat herself, because she threatened to drag me in kicking and screaming if I didn't go voluntarily. Maybe I only have an allergy.

Of course, If I'm to be totally honest, I was having problems before the infection as well. I can't clearly hear conversation if there is any background noise, like in a restaurant or in the office when the printer or copier is running. I seem to have trouble with lower sounds as well. Add to that the fact that hearing loss runs in my dad's side of the family (every single one of his siblings have had problems of one kind or another), and the fact that I already had a small loss due to all the ear infections I had as a child, and well. I guess I should be worried. And I am.

She'll probably tell me it's all in my head and then I'll feel stupid for wasting her time and mine. That's why I hate going to doctors. That and the fact that they may find out that something is actually wrong. I don't like either of those scenarios.

And the Steelers lost thanks to Tommy Maddox's stupidity. How can you not fall on a fumble when you are in field goal range in overtime? Idiot. Then he throws an interception that ends the game. I hope Ben Rothlesburger is better next week.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Faith, Art, and Birds

So I was surfing the NaNo forums today. I'm preparing to write, and I wanted to see what other people were doing and thinking. And it wasn't to get plot ideas - I finally have one of those (I'll post that later). I was just curious.

So within the genre forums I clicked on to the Spirituality/New Age forum. I'm not writing in that genre, but I was curious. Anyway, it seemed like most of the Christian writers there were writing blatantly Christian novels. A few were attempting allegories, but most were following the typical theme of someone searching for something and not finding it until they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Cliche, but it seems to be that most novels in that "Christian" genre are.

This got me to thinking. Is there a difference between a Christian writer (or artist, or dancer, or whatever) and a writer who is a Christian? I've had this discussion before, and I've read about it before, but I think I have put it into a different light for myself today.

When I try to write something with a blatantly Christian theme (I'm talking fiction - nonfiction is an entirely different animal), I usually end up failing or just giving up. I always felt vaguely about that. I figured that if I claimed to be a Christian, I should be able to write about it in whatever way I wanted and have it be good (at least as good as how good a writer I am - this sentence not withstanding). But it never was.

I've come to realize why that was. When I tried to force the issue, it ended up being unnatural and contrived. It's like trying to...well, I don't really have an appropriate analogy. But random angels, miracles happening, and "reward theology" just aren't reality. Not that I don't believe that angels exist or that miracles happen (believing that good or bad things happen to you in proportion to how hard you believe or don't believe is another story), but I think that they are more subtle that what you find in most "Christian" fiction.

Having said all this, however, I believe that no matter what I write about, or in what genre I write, my faith in God informs it. I can't separate the part of me that believes from the part of me that creates, since all of me comes from the ultimate Creator. Being a Christian colors my world view, which in turn colors my writing, whether or not I am writing about blatantly Christian characters or themes.

So this year, I'm not going to try to force things. There is nothing purely Christian about my plot, there is nothing about my main character accepting Christ in any way, shape, or form. I'm not going to force my novel to be something it doesn't necessarily want to be. But as I've begun outlining my novel, I can see my beliefs influencing the direction I am moving, but in a more subtle, true to life way. I don't know what category that puts me in, but here I am.

Oh, and I'm going to be pecked to death by birds for my company Halloween party. There's a story behind that. Leave me a comment if you want to know it.

Just one more "quiz"

Your Brain's Pattern

You have a dreamy mind, full of fancy and fantasy.
You have the ability to stay forever entertained with your thoughts.
People may say you're hard to read, but that's because you're so internally focused.
But when you do share what you're thinking, people are impressed with your imagination.

Yeah, this fits...

Your Hidden Talent

You are a great communicator. You have a real way with words.
You're never at a loss to explain what you mean or how you feel.
People find it easy to empathize with you, no matter what your situation.
When you're up, you make everyone happy. But when you're down, everyone suffers.
I promise I will write something substantial this weekend. No, really. I mean it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Good Grief!

Charlie Brown
You are Charlie Brown!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

This does not surprise me at all. {sigh}

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Movie Recommendation

If you haven't yet, you absolutely must see Million Dollar Baby. I didn't see it when it was out in the theaters because I hate boxing, and thought it was all about that. I isn't. My boss recommended it, and she was absolutely right. The last time I cried this much watching a movie was when I was in college and saw Shadowlands. That movie is in my top 10, and now I think this one is as well.

I have a new respect for Clint Eastwood. He did an incredible job of directing, and he wrote the title music, which is just incredible.

Rent it. Now.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Career Counseling

I need some.

I've been thinking a lot lately about where my career is going and where I want it to go. Now, in all honesty, I would like to spend my day writing and have someone give me lots of money to do it. That isn't going to happen anytime soon, unless some publisher out there wants to by an unfinished, unedited novel. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

No, huh? Oh, well.

I started thinking about this when we hired a new statistician. A lot of what I have been responsible for is now going to him. Personally, I'd be insulted if I were him, considering he has a PhD and I have a little liberal arts BA. But I'm not him, so what do I know? Anyway, with him taking over a lot of those tasks, I'm left with most of the more...menial jobs in the department. I'm a team player, and I'm willing to do my part, but I'm bored. Bored, bored, bored. With no end to the boredom in sight.

My manager thinks she is doing me a favor by taking some of these tasks away from me, but she isn't. The little bit of challenge and creative outlet those things afford me was the only bright spot in my day. I tried to tell her this, but she didn't seem to understand, and told me that I need to be able to give things up. I guess that I didn't do such a good job of communicating with her.

I'm frustrated because I can't get a handle on exactly what my role in the department is right now, and I can't get a hold on where my job and my career is going. To make matters worse, my manager left my position off of her staffing model, and with the COO talking about looking for places we can make cuts at corporate, I'm a little paranoid.

My manager swears that she values me as an employee, and she wants to take me as far as I want to go in the company. But the fact of the matter is that I'm 34 years old, and haven't been on a career path since I graduated from college. I don't know where I can go.

In light of that, I made a list of things I'm good at, and things I like to do, and evaluated them in terms of my current position.

  • Writing. The fact of the matter is that I am a good writer, and I love writing and editing. I get to do some editing now, but it's really just proofreading. I rarely get to write, and most of what I do write are simple, little, e-mails. I get frustrated when people with inferior writing skills are assigned writing tasks while I am stuffing envelopes, and then when I edit their work, they ignore any substantive suggestions.
  • Research. I used to get to do all kinds of research. I love the challenge of looking for articels on particular topics, or actual statistics to back up an observation. But now that the new statistician is here, I've already seen a lot of these tasks given to him. My manager says that I can't give things up, but I like this. I don't want to give this up. I'll give up every single statistical thing that I do in a heartbeat, though. But she isn't taking those away from me.
  • Problem-solving. See above.
  • Design. I may have the artistic ability of a turnip, but I'm good at finding different elements and putting them together in a way that is pleasing to the eye. I do get to some of this, but not as much as I would like. And again, I get frustrated when I see people with no concept of what they were doing putting together flyers, PowerPoint presentations, and the like.

Now, to be fair, I had to make a list of the things that I don't like and that I'm not good at as well.

  • Repetitive tasks. Not only do I hate, hate, HATE doing reptitivie things that require little or no thought and/or effort, I get bored and distracted very easily. That makes me both inefficient and cranky. Naturally about 75% of what I do now that the statistician is getting so many of my tasks falls into this category.
  • Numbers. I hate them. It's not that I'm not capable of working with numbers - I am. But I find them difficult. I get a little dyslexic with them, and have to go over and over what I've done, and basic calculations are sometimes beyond me, not because I don't understand them, but I have trouble with the arithmetic (remind me to tell you about my high school Calculus class sometime). Now, you would think that now that we have a statistician on staff, someone who actually understands this crap, these would be the things that he would be assigned. But no. He gets to research how other companies have measured success with a new technology we are rolling out, while I try to determine what percentage of our drop in revenue is do to which of several events. I don't know how to do that. Heck, I don't even understand the sentence I just wrote.
  • Organization. Now, this is a weakness that is a detriment, and one I have been working on my entire life, from the first time Sister Carol dumped out my desk because it was too messy. I can keep myself organized, but a whole department? Not so much. So naturally, that is part of my job description. I've always wondered, though, if my fondness for piles over files is has something to do with having a creative mind.

Add to all this the fact that, as much as I want to deny it, I seem to have an innate talent for business. I have no idea where it came from, as I never in my entire life have wanted to work in the business world. I'm not proud of any ability I have in that area, and I've pretty much tried to hide it as much as I could. The business world just makes me uncomfortable. I feel guilty about being interested in making money as a business when there are so many people in this country and this world who don't even have enough to survive on. I guess I really am just a bleeding heart.

So where do I go from here? I've looked into graduate programs, but I have no idea where I would go in the company with them. I love the company I work with (even if I'm seeing more of the typical corporate politics coming out now). I love my manager to death. I think she is an amazingly gifted woman who is tremendously unappreciated by upper management. I love my co-workers, even the statistician who is taking away the things I like to do. I even love my manager's manager, who, even though she is "only" the CIO, runs the company for all intents and purposes. She makes me crazy sometimes, but I respect her tremendously.

So, where does that leave me? I have no idea. But I think something has to give at some point in time. All I want for Halloween (Christmas is too far away) is a career.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

You Know You Live on the Gulf Coast When...

Normally I ignore and delete "joke" e-mails, but I had to share this one...

You know you live on the Gulf Coast when...

  • You have FEMA's number on your speed dialer.
  • You have more than 300 C and D batteries in your kitchen drawer.
  • Your pantry contains more than 20 cans of Spaghetti Os.
  • You are thinking of repainting your house to match the plywood covering your windows.
  • When describing your house to a prospective buyer, you say it has three bedrooms, two baths and one safe hallway.
  • Your SSN isn't a secret, it's written in Sharpie on your arms.
  • You are on a first-name basis with the cashier at Home Depot.
  • You are delighted to pay $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded.
  • The road leading to your house has been declared a No-Wake Zone.
  • You decide that your patio furniture looks better on the bottom of the pool.
  • You own more than three large coolers.
  • You can wish that other people get hit by a hurricane and not feel the least bit guilty about it.
  • You rationalize helping a friend board up by thinking "It'll only take gallon of gas to get there and back"
  • You have 2-liter coke bottles and milk jugs filled with water in your freezer
  • Three months ago you couldn't hang a shower curtain; today you can assemblea portable generator by candlelight.
  • You catch a 13-pound redfish. In your driveway.
  • You can recite from memory whole portions of your homeowner's insurance policy.
  • You consider a "vacation" to stunning Tupelo, Mississippi.
  • At cocktail parties, women are attracted to the guy with the biggest chainsaw.
  • You have had tuna fish more than 5 days in a row.
  • There is a roll of tar paper in your garage.
  • You can rattle off the names of three or more meteorologists who work at the Weather Channel.
  • Someone comes to your door to tell you they found your roof.
  • Ice is a valid topic of conversation.
  • Your "drive-thru" meal consists of MRE's and bottled water.
  • Relocating to South Dakota does not seem like such a crazy idea.
  • You spend more time on your roof then in your living room.
  • You've been laughed at over the phone by a roofer, fence builder or a tree worker.
  • A battery powered TV is considered a home entertainment center.
  • You don't worry about relatives wanting to visit during the summer.
  • Your child's first words, "hunker down" and you didn't go to UGA!
  • Having a tree in your living room does not necessarily mean it's Christmas.
  • Toilet Paper is elevated to coin of the realm at the shelters.
  • You know the difference between the "good side" of a storm and the "bad side."
  • Your kids start school in August and finish in July.
  • You go to work early and stay late just to enjoy the air conditioning.

Monday, October 03, 2005

August Wilson Died

I may actually cry at some point today.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Blame It on the Rain...

You know you are desperate when you start quoting Milli Vanilli songs.

We got over 9 inches of rain from Rita. That's a heck of a lot.

And, it brought back the heat and humidity. It was in the high 90's again today. They are saying that we'll be in the low 80's by the end of the week, though.

I can hardly wait.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Purple Rain...

Actually, the sky is rather purple tonight. Must be the cloud cover.

I lost power around 2:30 a.m. and it came back on about 6 p.m. Lot of branches down around my building. There was a lot more rain with Rita than Katrina.

In fact, my parking lot is flooded. People with big trucks can get out, but those with little, low to the ground cars like mine are stuck.

In tomorrow's Advocate, there should be a picture of my parking lot. Don't know if it will be in the online version, though.

My ear still hurts. I would have gone to the urgent care today, but there's that parking lot problem. Maybe tomorrow.

The area where my boss lives got a lot of damage. Hope she and her family are ok.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Raindrops Keep Falling...

...on my deck.

Still raining. Bet the drainage thingy is overflowing. No power loss here yet, though, and they say we've had the worst winds we are going to.

Lake Charles is in trouble, though.

I think I must have had fever. I took ibuprophen a little over an hour ago, and now I'm sweating buckets, and it is not hot in my apartment.

Until later...we'll see if we can come up with another rain lyric.

I'm Singing in the Rain...

Well, no I'm not, actually.

We've had some nasty rain bands come through. We've probably had about 2 inches already today.

I'm not as nervous about Rita as I think I should be considering we are on the east side of the storm.

I am cranky, however. My ear really hurts. I didn't go to the urgent care center after work today. I just wanted to get home.

I hope I parked in a safe place. There are so many trees around my building that there really isn't a safe place.

The good news is that there are no 90 degree days in the forecast for the next week. That will make not having power bearable.

Here Comes the Rain Again...

Yeah, we're getting rain band from Rita now. You know how the outer bands look all kind of whispy and stuff on radar? That's exactly what they look like in real life - darker whisps agains a gray sky.

Baton Rouge seems to be fair well so far. West of us is going to suffer, and east of us is suffering due to another levee breach, and south of us there are tornadoes. I suppose if I was one of those people who believe that God hands out blessings based on being in His favor, I would say that God must be happy with BR. I'm not, though, so I won't.

And oh. I have an ear infection and my doctor couldn't see me today. So I have to go to the urgent care clinic tonight, because I can't live with the pain over the weekend. It hurts to move my head.

So until later, unless I'm one of the folks who loses power early...

Thursday, September 22, 2005


...is tracking further east, which puts us on the east side of the storm and closer to the eye.

I don't know if I can do this again.

And to think, we were only minorly affected.

I wish I could go home.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

This Is the Song that Never Ends...

...yes it goes on and on my friends...

Sometimes Shari Lewis and friends just sum up how you're feeling better than you can.

So, Rita is approaching Texas. Wonder where all those folks are going to go? Of course, Texas is a lot bigger than Louisiana, and there are counties in West Texas that have almost no people in them (the smallest county in Texas had a population of 34 in 2000. Yeah, I spent way too much time with demographics this past year). They can stick people over there.

The cynic in me has noticed that the federal government has already sent aid and has more poised to go to Texas. Is it coincidence that it's the president's home state? Hmm...

Well, I do have more to say, but I'm just so tired. I think I'm just emotionally drained, but I may be coming down with something, too. Everyone in the office has been sick, and the girl the cubicle next to mine has walking pneumonia.

My boss and my other co-worker are out of town teaching a class. I'm all alone in the office, and I get to deal with all the stuff my boss's boss usually bugs her about. I think I have a sick day coming on next week sometime.

Until my muse returns (which will hopefully be before November 1. Yeah, I'm doing NaNo again)...

Friday, September 09, 2005


I've been limiting my exposure to coverage of Katrina over the past few days. I just can't take any more. The storm is even invading my dreams - I haven't had a dream in the past two weeks where Katrina hasn't been involved. Not nightmares, just dreams. But still, I haven't slept more than three or four consecutive hours in the past two weeks.

I still have one more thing I want to say, but I don't have time to say it right now. Look for a post in the next day or two.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

An Open Memo...

...to all the celebrity types currently looking for a photo op:

Stay Away!!

The last thing we need in South Louisiana or Coastal Mississippi right now is more people. If you want to help, that's wonderful. Make a hefty contribution. Send a plane with supplies. Encourage others to do the same. But save your photo op for another day.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What is the Point of FEMA?

Yeah. All those 9th ward folks living in stadiums and convention centers can just plug in their laptops and get to work.

Stupidity, thy name is FEMA.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Little Levity....

I have a serious and thoughtful entry planned, but I need a little more time to ruminate before I put it all together.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


I saw an interview this morning. I don't know whow was being interviewed or why his opinion mattered, and I can't find a transcript of the interview.

Anyway, this guy criticized Baton Rouge for being racist because buses carrying refugees from New Orleans were being directed to other cities. He said these people were hurting and how dare we turn them away.

Now Mayor-President Kip Holden was the one who declared that Baton Rouge was full. Kip Holden is African-American. I doubt he did it as an act of racism.

The fact of the matter is that with all the businesses relocating to Baton Rouge, and the thousands upon thousands who are currently displaced to here, Baton Rouge can't handle any more people. We just can't.

And don't think we don't feel guilty about it. Don't think for a moment it gave Kip Holden any pleasure to say that. But the safety of the people who are here has to be paramount. There are so many vehicles on the road right now, and so many people walking around the city, that there are just accidents waiting to happen.

The other thing I heard was State Senator Cleo Fields criticizing the fact that quite a few refugees are being housed out of state. He said that Louisiana needs to be able to take care of its own. That's a wonderful sentiment, but it isn't realistic. Where are we supposed to put people? I'm not saying that housing them in the Astrodome is a wonderful thing. But at least they are protected from the elements and at least they have air conditioning. That wouldn't necessarily be the case if we stuck them in a field in tents somewhere here.

Kathleen Blanco finally made a good decision and hired James Witt who was the director of FEMA in the Clinton administration. There will finally be someone who has a clue in charge.

Friday, September 02, 2005

How Insulting!

In Biloxi, Miss., Bush encountered two weeping women on a street where a house had collapsed and towering trees were stripped of their branches. "My son needs clothes," said Bronwynne Bassier, 23, clutching several trash bags. "I don't have anything."

"I understand that," Bush said. He kissed both women on their heads and walked with his arms around them, telling them they could get help from the Salvation Army. "Hang in there," he said.

When I read that this afternoon, I became so angry. George Bush as no idea what these women are going through. He doesn't understand what it means to have literally nothing left. He grew up in privledge. He never had to stress about Daddy losing his job, or not having health insurance for his child. And he surely was never homeless.

And to give these women a flip comment like, "Hang in there?" What is that? How can you hang in when you have nothing to hang on to?

This article was very interesting. It makes you wonder exactly what the head of FEMA has been watching this past week.

And Kathleen Blanco has not impressed me at all. She has come off as weak and incompetant during all this. I didn't vote for her, and I know quite a few people who wish they hadn't either.

Oh, Jesse Jackson just needs to go away. This is a big enough mess without his involvement. Not to mention the rest of us made these observations days ago.

The only politicians I can respect in this mess are Bobby Jindal, Kip Holden, Mary Landrieu, David Vitter, and Haley Barbour.

Life Goes On?

I'm in my own apartment with power, and air conditioning. It's exciting.

I had a revelation today. For the majority of people in the United States, Katrina is not the only topic that consumes their minute to minute existance. I find that hard to comprehend, because every topic of conversation here, every action, every everything, revolves around Katrina. On the off chance you have a conversation that is somehow not about Katrina, guilt sets in and someone tries to turn it back to that.

And you know, I think we get a little ticked off when we realize that there are people who are living there lives as business as usual. A friend just IM'd me and said, "how are things?" I responded:

  • My power just came on today after being off for four days
  • Baton Rouge has doubled in size in less than a week
  • And my company is working to account for and accomodate 200 employees and 1300 patients
  • How are you?

And he just responded, "I'm fine," like it was a casual conversation and what I said wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It made me really mad.

But you know, I can't stay mad about it. The fact of the matter is that unless you are down here and are experiencing what is going on, you can't understand what an all-encompassing nightmare this is.

My manager had to tell one of our employees that she does not have a house to come home to. As she watched the national coverage, they kept referring to New Orleans and showing pictures of the Ninth Ward. She never heard the name of her town (Metairie) or the name of her parish (Jefferson). She didn't know that her house had been completely covered in water. She showed up at one of our agencies in Georgia and the director was just so impressed with how positive she was. She didn't know then.

Now, that co-worker can barely think. She can't make rational decisions about her future. She's paralyzed.

My manager cries everytime she things about it. She also cries about the fact that an employee at another Georgia agency offered our co-worker a 2 bedroom apartment rent free, and that the employees in the agency where she showed up took up a collection for her to allow her to buy the necessities.

That's reality. It's also reality that there are over five thousand people living in our convention center dowtown, and another few thousand living in various churches. It's reality that our school system has to figure out what to do with another 40,000 students. It's reality that tempers are flaring in everyone in this city because we know that we can't support another 250,000 people in the metro area, and we feel terrible about it.

Even though my life wasn't terribly affected by Katrina, I know I will never be the same person. I find myself becoming more passionate about the poor in our community, since they were the ones who wer hurt the most by this mess. They are the ones who were forgotten about. They are the ones who will likely never recover from this.

I find myself very bitter about the national government. Now you may think that is normal for a quasi-liberal like me in a conservative administration. And to an extent you are right. But when I see and think about what a mess FEMA and the federal and state governments have made of all this, I am sickened.

Life will go on. But it will never be the same.

A Time of Celebration


Now all I have to do is find a grocery store with food - a challenge bigger than you might think.


I can't stay with my friend who has power anymore. She and her husband are selling their house quick because they can make a profit since rich folks from the New Orleans area are relocating to Baton Rouge.

I'm not sure I'll make it 'till Monday.

And that sounds so pathetic. At least I have a home. But I almost envy the folks in the River Center. They have power, and air conditioning, and all that stuff.

Then I kick myself for thinking like that.

Someone happened upon my blog by searching to see if there was any damage to Louisiana School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge. If you find your way back, there was minimal wind damage, same as the most of the rest of Baton Rouge. I think classes are resuming next Tuesday.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I know a lot of you are seeing nothing but bad stuff about Louisiana on the news. Let me assure you that what is happening is not representative of business as usual in our state.

The entire state is stressed right now. Almost overnight, Baton Rouge has increased in size by a third. A lot of the parish still doesn't have power (including me). Temperatures are in 90s. Tempers are short.

We just need help.

Living in a Post Katrina World

I still don't have power at home. My apartment was over 90 degrees last night. I stayed with one of my co-workers who had power. It was wonderful.

We have been working on finding our displaced employees. They are scattered all over the southeast. We've also been tryng to find RVs to house folks. We've struck out in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We're working on Tennessee and Kentucky now, and may try Georgia. If anyone has one they want to donate for at least a month, leave me a comment with a way to contact you. We will pay you rent, and we'll even come get it.

When I finally get power back on, I will volunteer to house people in my apartment. I may not have much, but I have a living room floor,air conditioning, and hot water.

My company also has a relief fund for our employees through our non-profit foundation. If you are interested in donating, let me know.

I donated two days of PTO. I know it's not much, but I don't have a lot in the way of cash right now. When I get paid next week I'll donate more.

The looting going on in New Orleans is ridiculous. I understand people looking for food and clothing, but big-screen TV's? Guns? Furniture? What exactly are they going to do with them? People are shooting at rescue workers. It is utter chaos.

We are feeling more of the impact here now. A lot of our smaller water systems are under boil alerts. The city is full to bursting with people.

Through it all, though, people are stepping up and doing what they can. I think everyone here realizes just how blessed we are. We are only 60 miles from the hardest hit area, and the most that most of lost were a few trees and power.

My only real fear is that assistance will dry up after the immediacy of the situation fades. People are going to need help for months and years to come.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I just saw my first pictures of New Orleans and Biloxi on MSN.


There is nothing else I can say.

The Aftermath

I'm safe. Thank God. I have no power at home, and probably won't until next week, but I'm safe.

I don't have the words right now to describe what is happening in South Louisiana. It's beyond overwhelming. There are about 67,000 evacuees in Baton Rouge alone, and about that many in Houston.

We lost at least 10 of our agencies, and almost all of those employees lost their homes.

I'll write more when I've been able to process a little bit more.

If you want to help, donations to the Red Cross would be appreciated.

Monday, August 29, 2005

God is Good

Katrina's eye has taken a slight turn east and weakened a little bit. She's still a category 4, but the eye is less massive and less organized. We will most likely still lose power here in EBR, and New Orleans will probably still have some flooding, but no where no where near the catastrophic mess that was forecast just six hours ago.

The coast is still going to get hit hard, both in Louisiana and Mississippi. I hate to sound cold, but that's a good thing. They are used to these storms there, and are better equipped to deal with them. New Orleans wouldn't have been able to deal.

I just heard something go bump outside. The wind is picking up, and something must have flown into something else.

I'm going to lose power sometime soon. I'll update when it comes back on.

Thanks for the prayers. The Big Guy is listening.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Been watching the coverage on the local news. The anticipation of what is going to happen is almost as bad as what will happen.

I wish my boss had called me. I'm worried about her and her family. She literally lives in the middle of nowhere. The good news is that she lives on a sand and gravel pit. I don't think there will be a problem with obtaining sandbags.

The news is still scary. I'll post again around midnight if I still have power. I think I will. We've only had two small rain bands pass through so far, thought the wind is picking up a little bit.

Weird Observations

It's funny how life goes on even when we are facing a potentially devastating storm.

People are out doing laundry (myself included). The students in my building are treating it as a bonus day off classes. There's a bunch of them partying in the pool right now. Someone else is barbequeing.

I don't know if that is a testament to the youth of the residents of my building, or an acknowledgement that there is nothing we can do so we might as well just go on.

Well, my car is fuled up. My bathtub is full, and I will soon have clean clothes. The office is closed tomorrow (which I was anticipating).

Obladee Obladah. Life goes on.

Here Comes the Rain

The first of the outer rain bands has just hit EBR. People are still leaving New Orleans.

A lot of people in my building have taped their windows. I don't see the point. If a tree is going to come through your window, a piece of masking tape isn't going to do anything to stop it.

I should drive home to Pittsburgh. I'm really scared.

Katrina Update

NOAA has just issued a weather bulletin that says that, for all intents and purposes, New Orleans is essentially going to be destroyed.

I really am freaked by all this. This is the first time a hurricane has made me really worried. The two parishes to the immediate east of EBR are under mandatory evacuation.

They said it should make landfall around 3 a.m. I doubt I'll sleep tonight.


I've been in South Louisiana for three years now, and this is the first time I've been afraid of a hurricane.

Katrina is a category 5 storm now. If it continues on it's current path, it could absolutely devastate the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast. It also has the potential to cause tremendous damage to New Orleans, which sits below sea level and is essentially shaped like a bowl, just waiting to be filled up with the expected downpours (parts of Florida got over 20 inches when it hit there).

I'm east of where it is expected to hit, which is good. That's always the weaker side of the storm. The electricity guy said this morning that we could potentially be without power for several days though. I have an electric stove and can't cook if that happens.

I'll keep updating as long as I can today if anything changes. If you happen upon this page and if you think about it, praying for us down here in the Gulf South would be appreciated.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


P. B. Shelley
You are Percy Bysshe Shelley! Famous for your
dreamy abstraction and your quirky verse,
you're the model "sensitive poet." A
vegetarian socialist with great personal charm
and a definite way with the love poem, you
remain an idol for female readers. There are
dozens of cute anecdotes about you, and I love

Which Major Romantic Poet Would You Be (if You Were a Major Romantic Poet)?
brought to you by Quizilla

I always fancied myself more of a William Blake type, but OK.

Monday, August 22, 2005


I had a weird weekend in terms of music for several really weird reasons.

First, I was driving somewhere and listening to Weekend America on NPR. I find myself listening to NPR a lot lately, which has nothing to with anything except I thought I'd note it. Anyway, one of the hosts said that his friend has a theory that whatever song is number 1 on the day you are born has a profound effect on your life. You can go to this website and find out what song was number 1 on your birthday.

Well, of course I had to do it. And on May 13, 1971, the number 1 song was...

Joy to the World by Three Dog Night
I didn't even know they did a version of that song. I'm only familiar with Credence Clearwater Revival's version.
Well, I can't say I ever drank a bullfrog's wine. And I don't know that there is anything else in that song that applies to my life even remotely. Jeremiah is my favorite book of the Bible though. Maybe, if you stretch it really, really, really far, you can make that apply.
Interestingly, the first time I did this, I got My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. I have no idea what date I put in to get that, because I can't get it to come up again. That would actually be vaguely more fitting for me.
No, I never became a Hari Krishna, but I have always been fascinated by world religions. I had a theory that I was daft and overconfident enough to try to prove when I was in 10th grade for my IEP in World Cultures in the gifted program. My theory was that there was only one God, but that that divine being manifests itself differently in different cultures. That, in and of itself isn't necessarily a radical idea. The overconfidence comes in the fact that I tried to prove it, at least as far as I could and get away with it in a public high school.
Well, needless to say I failed. I learned a heck of a lot not only about major world religions, but also some tribal religions and cults throughout the world, though.
So on Sunday in Church, the Gospel reading was from...Matthew, I think (yeah, I grew up Catholic - we're not good at the Bible thing). It was the reading where Jesus asks his apostles, "Who do you say that I am?" and Simon Peter responds, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." The pastor based part of his sermon on the whole idea of faith versus reason, and that's when I had this revelation about what my folly was back in 10th grade (it's only taken my 19 years to figure it out).
God isn't a geometry theorum to be tested and proven. God just is. I can no more prove God that I can prove that there will be 7 feet of snow in South Louisiana in December 2015. It isn't withing my capacity as a human being.
When I was in 10th grade that was unacceptable to me. Despite the fact that I'm one of those abstract creative types, when it came to God, I wanted proof. I never didn't believe, I just wanted the cold hard facts that showed that what I believed was true.
Now, I'm OK with the fact that I can't prove God. Maybe I've mellowed. Maybe I've realized that proof isn't always everything it's cracked up to be. Maybe I've just come to terms with the fact that there are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy (had to get my Shakespeare in there).
So, the whole point of this rambling post is to say that I'm OK with the fact that God just is.
Oh, and the other weird thing that happened with music this weekend is that someone in church asked me if I would be willing to be in the bell choir.
I have no rhythm. I have no music. I'm tone deaf. I'm a horrible choice to ring bells.
So why did I say I'd think about it?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Anyone have a spare gmail invite?

I'm getting ready to leave AOL and need to switch to web-based e-mail. Gmail would make me happy.

Sorry for the blatant begging.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


And my computer is back and working, too. Though I'd forgotten how slow dial-up is...

Guess I've Adapted to the Deep South a Little...

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English

25% Dixie

15% Yankee

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

Friday, August 12, 2005

I'm currently reading Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. My friend Amy recommended this book to me when it first came out, along with Bird by Bird, and I had every intention of reading them. And I am - it just took me 6 yeard to get around to it. Interestingly enough, I am now just about the age Amy was when she recommended them. Hmm. Must be a mid-30s, searching for a deeper spiritual life thing.

Anyhow, I picked this book up because it was referenced in another book that my pastor loaned me. When I saw it, I was reminded of that long ago promise to read it, and I reserved it at the library. It came in yesterday, and when I picked it up I couldn't put it down. Lamott just has a way of expressing herself that is simultaneously poetic and straight-forward. And admire how she is comfortable enough in who she is to lay her life out for all to read about. It takes guts to be that vulnerable.

I've been thinking about my own topsy-turvy journey of faith lately. There was never truly a time in my life when I didn't belive that God existed. Sure, there have been plenty of times that I doubted if God cared about li'l ol' me. And it's somewhat beyond my comprehension that anyone could ever think that there wasn't a power greater than themselves in the universe.

But by the same token, I'm a little jealous of those who were atheists who have come to believe. I wish I could remember that moment, that instant, where I realized the reality of God.

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful that I was rocked to sleep every night of my infanthood with "Jesus Loves Me." And I'm grateful that I can remember my parents being so proud of me for being able to say the Lord's Prayer before I started kindergarten, when so many of my classmates were still learing it in first grade. And I'm more grateful than I can ever express that God has given me the gift of faith.

But sometimes I wish I knew that spark, that "a-ha" moment when I knew that God was real. I mean, I've had encounters with God (and when I say "God," in my head we're talking the Trinity) that I can recall as being more intimate than words can express. And at times in my life, my relationship with God was so close that God seemed almost physically near me.

Still, I can't help feeling like I'm missing out on something big. Is that petty and conceited of me? Perhaps.

I do have more that I want to say on this whole topic. I'm hoping to have computer access restored at home soon. Until then (or until I get to the library and have time to write)...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Still Alive...

...despite the infrequent posting.

It's hard to blog when you don't have internet access at home. The library has timers on their computers, and I inevitably run out of time before I'm finished writing. And I've been busy at work an unable to sneak a few minutes in.

I swear I'm taking my computer to get it fixed on Friday. Then you can all be treated to more of the wonder that is me.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I Have a New Goal in Life

I want to speak at the National Association of Business Educators (or whatever they call themselves), and tell them to stop obsessing over whether or not their keyboarding students are looking at their fingers when they type. I look at my fingers occassionally, and I type faster now than I did in when I took typing in high school, when Ms. Allie gave me a D for looking at my fingers. Besides, nobody ever got fired for looking at their fingers when they type. Managers don't care about your style - they just want accuracy and results.

Thank you for listening to my dreams.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Blah, Blah, and More Blah

Well, I just found out that I'm working all weekend, again. Thought I'd take some time at the end of the day here to blog, since it seems I will never get out of this office.

Well, I know some of you are waiting to hear what happened on the worst day of my professional life. Here's your chance.

That morning AC, J, and I were to present the work we had been doing on an analysis to T, our boss. AC, who is the analyst in our group, was out at some training class when T first got wind of the project from BB, her boss. To do the preliminary work, J, T, and I literally stayed up all night one night mining data from a variety of databases (and since my computer is not up to snuff lately and since I don't have a company laptop, I spent it in the office). When AC got back in two days later, T went over the whole scope of the project, and exactly what our roles were to be (I was to gather the needed data in certain areas, J was to do a particular type of analysis, and AC was to coordinate it all for her statistical stuff). Well, I did my part and then some. J did her part, and AC didn't do anything remotely resembling what T wanted because what she did do showed that the differences in revenue weren't statistically significant, so she figured she didn't have to do anything more, despite the fact that BB wanted the information.

Oh, and the only time that whole week that AC spoke to me was to tell me that what I was doing (what T and BB wanted) was nice, but she was going to need me to reformat all the data for her in order to do her correlation analysis. I asked her why she couldn't use the data in the form that already existed and she said, in a very condescending tone, "Well, you just wouldn't understand."

I lost it at that point and responded, "Look, I'm doing what T asked me to do. You do what you need to do, and I'll go from there."

She replied to me saying (again in a condescending tone), "I'm just trying to communicate with you, Sheryl. You do have to get so upset."

I replied saying, "I apologize if I'm a little snippy, but I'm tired. J, T and I stayed up all night working on this while you were at your class. I'm trying to do this and my regular work and core team work, and work for BB, and work for JC. Forgive me if I seem stressed." (JC is another co-worker, not Jesus - though I do try to work for Him, too)

She didn't speak to me again that whole week

Well, needless to say, T was not happy in the slightest when we "presented" our work. She put J, AC and me in a conference room and told us she expected us to have what she wanted by the end of the day. If I hadn't gone further than I was supposed to with the analysis, we wouldn't have hand any data to work with.

What an excruciatingly painful process. AC, for all her Masters degrees and statistical knowledge, has no idea about analyzing information. There was one particular statistic she kept insisting had no impact on revenue, and I kept showing her that it did, in fact, have a huge impact on revenue. We kept going around and around, AC getting more frustrated, me getting angry, and J trying her best to get the job done. Finally, J had enough and went and told T that either AC or J was going home, but that we couldn't keep going around in circles.

T came into the conference room and tried one more time to explain things to AC. She just kept getting redder and redder, and seemed on the verge of a breakdown. T then took her into her office. A few minutes later T came in to get me. She asked me to tell her exactly what transpired during the week she was gone (she was at a corporate leadership meeting). I did, and I discovered that AC was trying to pin our failure solely on me. Now, I have no problem in saying that I could have handled things better. I told T that the day before, and I said that in front of AC. But T made it clear that AC was to come to J and me and to get our information to use in her analysis, but she never did. T began to lay into AC while we were there, but before she got very far, she sent me back to the conference room.

Well, a little while later, AC came back to the room, visibly upset, to get her things. She said to me, "Sheryl, I don't know what I did to make you so angry with me, but how could you do this to me?" I told her that there was nothing personal, but that when T asked me how things went, I had to tell her the truth. She then said, "I don't understand! I've always liked you, I've always treated you well..." etc. I started to respond to her, but then I stopped myself saying that I didn't want to say something I'd regret. Like I know she pawned her work off on me when she was planning her daughter's wedding. Or I know that she was doing work for her other job while I was downloading and converting file after file that she was supposed to be doing. Or that I resented the fact that I did 3/4 of the market analyses that went out with her name on them. Or...well, you get the picture. I then went out into the hall for a bit to cool down.

When I came back, AC wasn't gone yet, and T ushered me into her office to wait until she left. After she did, T came in to see how I was, and I told her what happened, which she made me write up for HR. Then she, J and I went over what we still needed to do.

The next day when I came in, T said that AC would be in, but was to sit at her desk and work and not speak to anyone. T also told me that she was working behind closed doors that day. A little later on, T sent me an e-mail telling me to go home at 2:30, and to take J's laptop and work at home.

Oh, and AC wrote me this apology:

II apologize for anything I've done or said that offended you. It truly was unintentional. I certainly don't have any ill feelings toward you. I was happy that you got hired as you work very hard and I enjoy working with you. I hope I can make it up to you.

If you knew AC at all, you would know how insincere that really was.

Well, after I left that day, T fired AC.

I've been feeling guilty about it and making myself ill over it (plus the million things that I seem to get volunteered for) for the past two weeks. I know it isn't my fault. AC was not a competant analyst. Nonetheless, whether it is because I used to more or less work with her or because she was sick, or whatever it was, I felt guilty.

A wise person once told me (or I read somewhere) that it is the height of arrogance to feel guilty over something you can't control. Knowing that intellectually and knowing that in your heart are two different things, though.

So that's the whole sordid story. Perhaps tomorrow at the library I'll write about the crappy day I had today, which started with oversleeping, had an adventure that probably resulted in me breaking my toe in the middle, and finding out I had to work this weekend at the end.