Monday, January 31, 2005

A Good Day, A Bad Day, A Blah Day

A Good Day

I had lunch with someone I worked with at the St. Al's CCC. T was the only person there who kept in contact with me since we parted ways. She was also one of the people who I "came out" to (for those of you who have not been following my saga, this has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with religion. Read some of my earlier posts if you're interested). When she didn't call me after I sent her the letter admitting that I've been going to a Protestant Church, I thought the worst. But she called me out of the blue last week and suggested that we have lunch.

I had been dreading it since we made the appointment. I almost considered making an excuse and cancelling today. I'm so glad I didn't.

T validated everything I was feeling, and told me that she probably would have made the same decisions if she were in my shoes. She told me that if she were treated the way I was, she probably would have walked away from the Catholic Church as well. She also told me that if I've found a church where I can be happy, have community, and find God, that was all that mattered.

Talking with T really released me from some of the guilt and trepidation I was feeling. It paved the way a little bit for me to move on if i decide to. T was a real gift for me today.

She's planning to take training to become a spiritual director. I think she'll be wonderful in that capacity.

A Bad Day.

I really hate my job. The new manager either ignores me or is condescending. I hate doing nothing by spreadsheets all day long. I hate the fact that get paid next to nothing and have no benefits.

I'm still sending out resumes, for all the good it's doing.

A Blah Day

It hasn't stopped raining all day. It's absolutely miserable. I have to do laundry but I don't feel like walking across the complex in the rain to go to the laundry room.


Freedom of Expression Unimportant?

This makes me sad.

I'm not little miss flag waver by any stretch of the imagination. I have no problem with saying that the US has problems. Big problems. I don't feel like listing them now because I don't want this blog to turn into some big political debate.

But the fact of the matter is that one of the things that makes me glad I live in the US is the fact that our newspapers are not censored by the government, we are free to express ourselves by whatever means we feel, and we are free to practice the religion we choose. Those freedoms provide another check in our system of checks and balances.

Now, that doesn't mean I think that news agencies should just report every lead that crosses their desks willy-nilly. I think CBS learned that lesson. The journalistic profession needs to police itself though, and enforce a code of ethics within its ranks. That isn't up to the government.

And while I may think that some forms of "self-expression" in "art" are icky and inappropriate, not everyone holds that opinion. The artist didn't, for one. If we censor the arts, well, that's the first step to a marxist society.

And while I think flag-burning is a pointless means of protest, I would defend anyone's right to do it. It is just a piece of fabric, after all.

Finally, freedom of religion keeps us from turning into a theocracy run by fundamentalists who have some pretty scary ideas of what society should be like. I like being able to choose the manner in which I practice (or don't practice) my religion without government interference.

I worry about the next generation. I really do.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

I'm Sad, Kinda

I just saw in the bulletin from my church in Pittsburgh that Fr. Massung died.

Fr. Massung was probably the kindest person I have ever known. He truly lived his priesthood as a vocation, and he loved what he did. He always had time for his parishioners, and he made everyone feel valued, no matter who they were or what they did for a living, or how much money they had. He was a man of God in the truest sense of the world.

I could tell any number of stories about Fr. Massung, but the most important one to me is the way he treated my family. It was important to my dad that I go to a Catholic school, but there was no way we could afford it on a cab driver's salary. So Fr. Massung worked with my parents. My mom worked at the school for a couple hours a day and therefore got an "employee's discount" on tuition, and my dad did various odd jobs around the parish on weekends to work off a little bit more. I never knew about any of this until I was older, of course, and neither did anyone else. We were treated with dignity and respect, as were so many other families he made deals with. Of course that is probably the reason why that parish is still in debt today, but oh well. He acted out of love, treating people as Christ would have, not as customers in a business.

Fr. Massung also paid for my uniforms when the school switched to them when I was in 7th grade. He did the same for several other families. He didn't want to see anyone have to switch school over that.

The children of the parish flocked to Fr. Massung everywhere he went. I think that we could just sense his inherent goodness and gentleness. We felt safe with him, and he love being with us. We loved it when he'd come into our classrooms. After our well-rehearsed, "Good Morning, Fr. Massung," we all clambered for the chance to show him our work (at least until Sister put us in our places). The wee little ones (including me at that age) presented him with pictures they colored or drew during Mass, and he taped every one of them up in either the sacristy or his office. It was like some cacophonous wallpaper, an interior decorator's nightmare, but somehow fitting for this humble man.

Fr. Massung will be sorely missed. His 92 years on the earth were a gift to so many people, including me. Seeing the other end of the priestly spectrum as I did in my recent job nightmare have made me appreciate his giftedness all the more. I stated at the beginning that I was only kinda sad. I'm sad he's gone from this world, but happy that he will be forever in the presence of God now. He deserves the rest.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Today's My Mum's Birthday

She would have been 70.

When I realized that little piece of information it really surprised me. That meant that she was 60 when she died. It seemed to me like she was older at the time. I wonder why that is? Maybe it's because she was so sick and weak. Maybe it's because I wasn't ready for that parent/child role reversal at the age of 24. Maybe it's something else.

Mum and I had an odd relationship. In some ways, we had so much in common. We were both born to older parents, I was an only child and she might as well have been (her closest brother was 12 years older), we had a bunch of the same interests, and I knew I could go to her with anything and she would be supportive.

But there was a certain distance in her that made it difficult to get really close. Oh, I never doubted that she loved me, and she never hesitated to show it. But it always felt like she was holding a part of herself separate from everyone else, and that that part held the key to really knowing her. I guess it was a defense mechanism in part - her father was an abusive alcoholic who left my grandmother when Mum was five, and, as horrible as it is to say it, my grandmother just didn't have time for the touchy-feely stuff when my mum was growing up. It was tough to be a single mother in the 1940's and 50's.

But that piece she held back, when she allowed a glimpse of it, was deep and beautiful and terrifying. It gave testament to how much more there was to her than what people saw, and how much pain she carried around with her without burdening other people.

I guess that's where I get that tendency from. I learned a great many positive things from Mum, but I guess I picked up her unfortunate traits as well.

I regret that Mum and I weren't able to stay as close as I grew older. Oh, on the surface you probably couldn't see it, but we were drifting. I guess that as I got older, that piece I hold back and that piece she held back continued to grow as well. Those pieces were enough to start to form a wall, I suppose. Fortunately that wall wasn't complete.

But I guess the fact that I couldn't face dealing with another parent's declining health had something to do with it, too. There was only two years between my parents' deaths. That isn't much time at any age, but it's a blink of the eye in your early 20's. If I'm going to be completely honest, I didn't deal well after my dad died, and as a result I wasn't there as much as I wanted to be for my mum. Add to that neighbors who questioned the decisions Mum and I made together about finishing my education, and extended it to question my worth as a human being, and well, I was pretty closed off at that time. I just couldn't face the fact that my mum wasn't the same person who carried my to the bathroom when I had pneumonia in first grade, or was the team mother for my softball team, or helped me move into my dorm room my freshman year of college. It hurt.

I remember when a home health care nurse was trying to get me to change the packing in an incision my mother had where she had a cyst removed on her back. I couldn't do it. I'm not squeamish, but I couldn't stand a) the fact that my mother needed such things, and b) the idea of causing her any pain. My had literally shook so much that the nurse gave up on trying to teach me, and I ended up vomiting.

I guess I wasn't the daughter I should have been.

Despite the hedgewall of our own creation, I loved my mum perhaps more than I can even wrap my brain around to write about. I hate that I only had 24 years to learn from her, to share with her, and to love her. She wasn't perfect, but she was a precious gift in my life. I thank God that he gave me the privledge of being her daughter.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Who Stole My Mouse? paraphrase that popular self-help book of a few years ago (Who Stole My Cheese? - I'd link, but it's too hard without a mouse).

I came into work this morning and my mouse was gone. I'm out of the office for one day (at a training session that was pretty much pointless) and my mouse disappears. I can work without it using keyboard shortcuts, but it's hard. I'm waiting for IS to bring me a new one. I could have gone to Office Depot and bought one myself by now.

I'll write more later, but now I'm going to go back to relearning keyboard shortcuts. Is this week over yet?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Random Question of the Day

Yesterday at lunch with the young adult group, the question arose: When do you stop being a young adult? Here were some of the suggestions:

  • When you have children
  • When you aren't thrilled that the pastor pays for lunch once a month
  • When you can go a whole year without worrying about meeting your rent once
  • When your student loas are paid off (if that's the definition, I'll still be a young adult when I'm 60!)
  • When you purposely turn your car radio to light and airy favorites

So I put the question to anyone who wanders over here - When do you stop being a young adult and become just an adult?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I'm a Little Freaked Out

OK. This is going to sound totally weird, but apparently someone broke into my car...and cleaned it.


All I know is that when I left work today, after having been at my desk all day, the bag of trash I had in my front seat was gone, as well as the drink containers that were in the cup holder an the random bits of trash on the floor of the passenger side.

Nothing was taken, nothing was broken. The only other thing was that the parking break was on.

I'm I going crazy? Am I having disassociative episodes and cleaning my car during them? Or do I have a really weird stalker?

All I know is that I am really weirded out.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Just Another Wacky Wednesday

...with apologies to Katrina and the Waves (didn't they do Manic Monday...or was that the Bangles...or someone else? So much 80's pop just blends together).

Work is still miserable. Sent out two more resumes today, both for teaching positions in private schools. I don't know why I sent them. I don't want to teach in a regular school/classroom environment. I guess I'm just desperate right now.

My boss was crowing over the fact that "we" have all the market analyses done for proposed new start-ups and branches caught up. She said, "It makes me look good to the higher-ups...I mean it makes us look good." Yeah. Right. None of the higher ups know I exist, yet I did every one of those analyses (over 30 of them) myself from start to finish. But her name is on them, so she gets all the credit.

I'm just so frustrated with that. I mean, I know part of my function as a peon is to make my bosses look good. But it's hard to care about that when I get no credit, little respect, and I make less than half of everyone else in the department. Am I being petty? Maybe. But after 10 months, I think I've earned a little pettiness.


I rented Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind last weekend. I was looking forward to it with all the good reviews it has gotten. I have to say I didn't like it. Jim Carrey's performance was good, but not great. Kate Winslet was not really all that great. The storyline was actually kind of cliche, and the way the camera jumped around was annoying. I don't know what movie all the critics who gave it such good reviews were watching, but I don't think it was the same one I saw. I actually fell asleep during it and had to go back and watch the end of it again. If you are thinking about renting it, my advice is...don't.


I had to use my laundry money to buy gas today, thanks to the stupid cashier at Albertson's. I sometimes rely on them to get me through between paychecks because I know I can write a check there on Wednesday and it won't clear my account until after I deposit my paycheck on Friday. I've been writing checks for more than my purchase total there for months on end now. Well today, the cashier declares to me that it has always been store policy not to allow checks for more than the purchase price if the check number is under 500. I asked her why I was able to do so two weeks ago, and she got really snippy with me and said, "Well, you must have been seeing part time cashiers. I know better, and I'm not going to let you try to put that over on me." Well, I was livid. I actually wrote a letter of complaint to the store. I wasn't complaining about the policy, per se; they have the right to set whatever policies they choose to. I was complaining that the policy wasn't posted, that it wasn't consistently enforced, and that the cashier was rude.

I'm getting assertive in my old age.


Finally, two links.

First, Samantha Bennett's column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She's writing about Biloxi, but it could just as easily be anywhere in the deep south.

My friend Amy sent me this article from the New York Times in an e-mail today (her brother lives in New York and sent it to her). I was just reflecting today that the one thing that draws everyone together in Pittsburgh, crossing racial, economic, educational, and geographic barriers is the Steelers. Generally speaking, you would never see a random white guy and a random black guy speaking together at a bus stop in Pittsburgh (yes, racism is alive and well there, it's just more subtle there than here), but bring the Steelers into the equation, and all bets are off. Now if only they played year round.

Well, I'm off. I had oatmeal cookies for dinner tonight. Is that healthy? They have whole grains (oatmeal), fruit (raisins), and protein (nuts). Sounds like a meal to me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

2005 Part Deux

Hey, I live in Louisiana, might as well get as much milage as I can out of my few words of French (I think I'm up to 10, now, though I can't spell any of them).

I've been meaning to pop in here for a while now, but just haven't. No big reason, but lots of little ones.

Let's see...the injury report, first, I think. Well, last Friday I was supposed to go to a wedding (never made it, but I'll get to that later). I had trouble getting my door to close when I left, but didn't think too much about itat the time, because my door sticks all the time (they've been suppose to fix it for a couple years now, but if they can't fix the hole in my wall, I guess the door is even lower on the priority list). When I got home from missing the wedding, it was raining (good omen for John and Cat) - a lot. I got in my apartment and went to close the door, but it stuck again, and as my hands were wet and the door handle was wet, my had slipped of the handle and I cut open my wrist on a sharp edge on the handle. It isn't too bad, but it bruised pretty good and it is going to scar.

Well, on Sunday I was coming home from church and opened the door, and couldn't get it to close again. At all. And in my efforts, I split the middle finger nail on my right hand. It hurts.

Oh, I finally got the door to close by spraying WD-40 along the track and under the door where it runs on the track. Worked like a charm. No wonder my dad swore by it.

Oh, and I have an ingrown toenail. No injury there, but, well, it fit here best.


Is it possible to get stupider if you do mind numbing work for weeks on end? I find myself misspelling simple words, drawing stupid conclusions, and just generally not thinking lately.

Last week, for example, I was driving home from work when I had the sudden fear that I left my keys on my desk and wouldn't be able to get them to get into my apartment because the office is restricted to card-key access after 5:30 p.m. Note that I was driving. Note also that all my keys are on the same key ring. Duh.

Today as I was reformatting data, I actually discovered that I whole chunk of time passed without me having any conscious thought. I mean none. It was actually kind of scary for me, who has nothing going for her except for intellect.

As of Friday, I will have been temping at this company for 10 months. Supposedly this new manager plans to hire me, with added responsibility, but who knows. I just think that people don't realize all that I do because my boss' name is the name that's on everything that goes out. Every project she gets I end up doing the lion's share of the work and she gets all the credit. I'm kind of tired of it, but I have no recourse.

I've sent out a few more resumes this week. We'll see what happens.


I watched Luther again a couple weekends ago. I know it was a Hollywood-ized version of what was really the beginning of the Reformation, but it was still a compelling movie.

The pastor of the church I've been going to gave me a book to read that gives a basic outline of Luther's theology. It's pretty interesting so far. I'd provide a link to it, or at least give you the author, but I'm too lazy to get up and get it right now. Besides, my toe hurts.

I wrote a letter to one of my Catholic friends outlining the journey I've been on. She hasn't gotten back in touch with me, and I know she must have received it by now. Oh well. I kind of had a feeling that all this might lead to the loss of Catholic friends. I just didn't think it would be her.

This Sunday is young adult Sunday at the church. I'm looking forward to it.


One good thing this week so far: I found a disk that had a bit of a short story on it that I thought I had lost. I'm not going to continue that particular piece, but there were a couple scenes that I really liked. After I clean them up, I'll post them.


Well, that's all I have for tonight. I'm going to go make mac and cheese for dinner now, even though my toe hurts. Yeah, I'm whining about it. Oh well.